Each year we repeat the same cycle. Each year we end the summer tanned, more fit and feeling great. Then the holiday season begins- first with orange tooth candy at Halloween (O.K. that's not even tasty), then the big turkey or tofurkey feast on Thanksgiving. By this time, our bodies and our will are reduced. We then spend the next weeks intermittently foraging like bears before the hibernation on sweets at work, delicacies at parties, alcohol, punch and just for that little extra, those dinner parties that top off our efforts. By the time Christmas comes, we are dejected about our weight, our activity, our health and begin to feel a bit hopeless. Then, like the rising sun, the new year dawns replete with punchy ads telling us to join a gym. Whew!! What a circle we have woven.

What if, just what if, you chose to do it differently this year? It is one thing to wax nostalgic about those summer legs and decide to make a change. But when faced with that plate of homemade fudge (they are small pieces, after all!), that commitment diminishes. So, how do we do it differently this year?

I have found my patients have success if they "DECIDE BEFORE YOU ARRIVE". If you are going to a festivity that will involve food, decide before you go what you will eat. An example of your "personalized party menu" might be, vegetable hors d'oeuvres with MINIMAL dip, 2 chips, one half a dessert item and a lean protein source. The largest part of your plate should be filled with vegetables before you begin. Make sure to start your sojourn around the table at the vegetable tray and fill your plate there. No seconds, ever. When your plate is finished, go talk to your friends. Laugh, listen, enjoy. They love to see you! You may even opt for an impromptu basketball game or a walk.

The next step in avoiding that circle is to "DECIDE BEFORE YOU ARRIVE" concerning your alcohol intake. Excessive alcohol intake adds to pounds in two ways: with beverage calories and with unintentional eating. Some people (and you know who you are!) have stories of imbibing just a little too much at a holiday party. Not only does that add to your waistline with the calories, add to your unintentional eating, but it may provide you with stories for years to come. If some of those stories and those pounds are undesired, you may decide to alternate beverages with sparkling water and a lime. It is festive, fun and won't cause pounds and stories. Practice this phrase in the mirror to tell your host when she asks if you want another drink: "I would love a sparkling water and a lime, please."

If you take just these two small steps, along with careful attention to maintaining physical activity during the holiday season, you should be able to face the New Year sneering at those ads and saying, "No, I DIDN'T gain that extra weight."

Good luck and tell me how it goes!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Kelly Sennholz is the founder and Chief Medical Officer of Symtrimics LLC, a Physician Prescribed Wellness Program. She has been instrumental in creating excellent health for thousands of patients and transforming medical practices to true sources of health. Symtrimics allows doctors to once again feel satisfaction in their medical practice and real relationships with their patients.

“Symtrimics empowers you to take control of your health, and ultimately, control of your life,” ~Dr Kelly Sennholz.