The holidays are a time to enjoy the company of close loved ones. People travel for miles to visit, reminisce and share a memorable meal with one another. Unfortunately, this time can also be stressful for those who are trying to lose weight. If that is you, do not be afraid. Instead of quaking in your boots, develop a plan and ease your fears.

Here are some great ways to fight back and still enjoy delicious foods.

Change your mindset: Many believe that if they skip breakfast and lunch for a couple of days before the holidays, they can chow down on anything they want on during their holiday dinner, assuming that it would all balance out. This is not true. Overindulging is not a habit you want to cultivate even once during the year. Continue eating your meals each day, but try to limit yourself and portion control everything.

Drink water: Water is your friend. It can trick your stomach and your mind to thinking that you are full enough to keep you from grabbing more foods than you really need. Try drinking a glass of water right before dinner. With your stomach partially filled, your plate won’t be.

Eat slowly: Many are so busy catching up with friends and family that they don’t realize how fast they are eating. Eating too fast can also be a choking hazard, so when you’re catching up with loved ones, put your fork down and chew thoroughly. This will help your body break down food a lot faster.

Take an after dinner walk: Fit in a little walk with the loved ones in the clean, crisp air after your holiday dinner. Your food would be able to digest itself faster and who knows? Maybe a little cardio is all you need to make some extra room in your stomach for a bigger slice of pie!

Create healthier versions of favorite foods: No one wants to feel guilty about breaking their diet after a holiday dinner. Season your vegetables instead of adding thick heavy sauces or creams. Pick out a thin broth based soup recipe instead of a thick cream based one. Doing little changes here and there can definitely cut off the unneeded calories that you were once adding to your body.

The holidays is about being around loved ones and and enjoying great foods. Don’t force yourself to suffer because you are on a diet. Instead follow these small simple steps to help you cut the calorie intake and become a better you for the holidays, and after!

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