To Your Health

The December holidays are a time of joy, tradition, and food... a whole lot of food, which can make it hard to stick to a healthy diet. However, you don’t have to wait until New Year’s Day to renew your commitment to good nutritional habits, and you don’t have to practice complete denial, either. Follow this advice to maintain some balance:

1. Don’t skip meals. If you avoid lunch in order to offset a big family dinner, you’ll probably eat more because you’re extra hungry. Eat breakfast and lunch so you’re able to control your appetite when the platters are passed your way.

2. Exercise portion control. Don’t overload your plate. Take sensible portions of whatever comes your way, and you won’t feel compelled to consume every last bite in order to avoid wasting food.

3. Eat slowly. Your stomach can fill up before you’re aware of it, which means you may eat more than you really want or need to consume, leaving you stuffed and uncomfortable. Make an effort to put down your fork and chew thoroughly between bites, and drink plenty of water before and during your meal.

4. Sit with the right people. If possible, sit next to a companion whose eating habits mirror the example you want to follow. If your partner is an athlete with an enormous appetite, you’ll tend to eat a similar amount; but if you’re sitting next to someone who is watching his or her weight, chances are you’ll exercise the same self-control.

5. Focus on the holiday. Remember that holidays are about more than just eating. Make an effort to talk to people and enjoy the season itself, in the moment.

6. Get right back on track. If none of this advice works, then don’t waste time beating yourself up over it. Just remind yourself of the long-term benefits of healthy eating to motivate your return to good habits.

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