The holidays can be a time for get-togethers with family and friends. While it may be the time for sharing fond memories, it is also the time when you are exposed to lavish buffet spreads, which can cause havoc to your self control. Let’s face it, losing weight is difficult. And with Thanksgiving and Christmas only weeks apart, it can be hard to avoid gaining weight.

No matter how hard your resolve on how to resist temptation, it can be hard not to give in if you are exposed to all the food during the holidays. According to research, Americans probably gain around a pound or two during the holidays. Although this may not sound like a lot, studies have shown that individuals are unable to lose this weight throughout the year. With the added weight each year, it can lead to obesity and other related health disorders later in life.

Families have well loved recipes and these dishes are usually prepared during the holidays. This year, prepare the foods with a healthier approach. An example is by substituting some ingredients so that the calories don’t pile up. Try to use broth instead of butter, nonfat milk instead of whole milk, and nonfat yogurt instead of cream. By doing so, you are able to avoid consuming loads of calories. Likewise, try to avoid food additions like whipped cream, cheese, cream sauces, gravy and butter because it can add more calories without doing much to the dish.

Individuals, who try to avoid weight gain during the holidays, may have the wrong notion that skipping meals can help. However, skipping meals can only encourage overeating. Try to eat sensibly throughout the day, and choose healthy portions for your meals. Try to avoid appetizers because although it has small portions, it can be loaded in fat and calories. If you love turkey, go ahead and indulge. Just try to avoid eating turkey skin because it is high in saturated fat. Dark meat can be flavorful, but it also has more fat as compared to white meat. Go for healthier choices like turkey breast without the skin, and skip the gravy.

Buffet tables may be prepared at most parties that you attend. This will all the more encourage overeating. In order not to indulge in a caloric overload, try to be choosy with the foods that you eat. Choose the food items that you don’t usually eat throughout the year, and skip the common dishes. Also try to choose the healthiest dishes in the buffet table, which can be satisfying but less fattening. Avoid sampling everything on the buffet table because you’ll end up consuming more calories than intended.

During this holiday season, alcoholic beverages will always be readily available. You can easily lose track of the alcoholic beverage that you are taking in if you sip mindlessly, while sharing fond memories with your loved ones. In order not to overindulge, try to drink another beverage like water or seltzer after you finish a shot. Alcoholic beverages contain a lot of calories and it is then best to limit alcohol intake.

Try to look good during the holiday season. Exert an effort in dressing up so that you will also be conscious in maintaining your figure. If you wear figure flattering clothes, there is a tendency that you will not overeat because you may want to conceal some parts of your body that you are unhappy about. Socializing during the holidays can also mean more parties with food. Learn how to politely decline if you are offered more food when you are satisfied. Try to eat slowly as well because it takes time for your stomach to signal your brain that you are already full.

With busy schedules, it can be quite easy to pass on exercising. However, it is actually the time when you need to religiously stick to your exercise routine. You can also try to burn off more calories with all the holiday preparations that need to be done. While shopping, take more time to walk around the mall even if you are done shopping. You can also schedule a fun physical activity for the entire family like ice skating or skiing.

A lot of us look forward to the holidays for a lot of reasons. Although it happens once a year, it is still important that we take care of our health. This will entail more fruitful years to celebrate the holidays with family and friends, without having to worry about heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and other related diseases.