During this time of year, there are plenty of articles and weight loss advice that list the numerous ways to avoid holiday weight gain. Dietitians, nutritionists and personal trainers promote a healthy lifestyle that keeps us from gaining holiday pounds researchers have said we're less likely to shed later.
It's pretty common sense stuff: don't arrive at holiday parties starving, eat small portions, stay active, and only eat when you're hungry.
Just two weeks ago, I wrote in this column about upcoming local activities to help avoid potential holiday weight gain and of the need to stay motivated to continue a healthy lifestyle through the season.
However, I find it interesting how we sometimes trip over ourselves to stay fit or lose weight during this time. We look for low-carb side dishes, sugar-free holiday pie recipes and lighter casserole ideas only to binge eat later.
Nutrition experts have noted that once you cast out a specific type of food or don't allow wiggle room for small indulgences, it makes you crave it more. Diets don't work for this reason.
I've interviewed numerous people who've lost weight - and kept it off - by not over thinking it. When it came to eating something that many would consider "off limits" they didn't treat it as taboo. They allowed themselves that treat without much guilt or obsessing over the calories later. This makes the difference during the holidays. They're not salivating over the spread of food because they haven't deprived themselves before, so they don't go overboard. Meanwhile, they get a taste of what some may see as prohibited goods.
The point? An expert put it best:
"Because holidays don't come often, moderation is the key," said Yolanda Williams, a Henderson-based dietitian, in a 2014 interview. "Enjoy it sensibly. Plan to have some additional exercise, even if it's just walking around instead of just going to sleep after you eat."
If you've consciously set out to improve your lifestyle and can stop eating before you reach the pinnacle of gluttony, a heavy holiday meal or two won't hurt.