It’s the time of year when the zipper on your jeans and the springs in your bathroom scale start getting really nervous. That’s because, for a lot of us, packing on pounds can be a holiday tradition. Stats on weight gain show that you might gain five pounds if you don’t keep your hands off the pumpkin pie and pudding. Over the next couple of days I will be posting tips on how to keep yourself from packing on the extra pounds this Holiday season. Around holiday time, fattening, high-calorie food is all over the place. Have you noticed? It’s at your office, your mother-in-laws. We try to fight it off, but it still assaults us. Here’s what I suggest for enjoying yourself, without packing on any extra pounds. • Continue the good habit of eating breakfast during the holidays to help control cravings later on. (Sorry, eggnog isn’t considered a good egg substitute.) • Have healthy snacks on hand. Go for them before you treat yourself to the splurge stuff. • Eat a healthy dinner before you go to a holiday party. (Also, try not to eat an unhealthy dinner when you’re at the party.) • Prepare and take your own safe, low-calorie, and low-fat foods to parties. • Choose two or three of the healthiest appetizers you can find (a little shrimp, some veggies or fruit, etc.) and put them on a small plate or napkin, then walk away from the table! (Keep in mind this should be two or three pieces of food, not two or three plates loaded with food.) • Be smart at the buffet table. Fill three-quarters of your plate with fruits and veggies, the rest with protein. (Pumpkin pie and chocolate-covered strawberries don’t count as the veggies or fruit. • Avoid temptation. Just say “no” to packaged holiday candies and cakes! Regift them to someone who’s not dieting. • Give yourself permission to enjoy a little of everything that is usually only available during the holidays, but do it in moderation. Indulging in small amounts of holiday treats might not help you lose 20 pounds over the holidays, but it might keep you from raiding the Christmas tree for edible ornaments in the middle of the night. • Think of your calories like money in your bank. Accumulate a deposit of uneaten calories on the days when you know that you will be attending parties or enjoying holiday feasts. Eat a light breakfast and lunch to save calories for later. If you’re careful, the large withdrawal of calories at a big dinner or event later on won’t break the bank. • Be extra good on nonparty days. • Understand the reason for the season. Holidays are a chance to enjoy and celebrate with people you care about. Put your focus more on socializing, and less on eating. More tips to follow tomorrow!