03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

21 Thanksgiving Tips: Avoiding The Slings And Arrows

Truth be told, for me (maybe you?) getting through Thanksgiving unscathed is less about food and more about dealing with the slings and arrows that could be 'lovingly' sent my way.

Like last year ... I noticed my mother 'looking' at me, soon to be followed by, "You know. Lots of times when people lose weight, their skin gets all saggy and hanging. But you don't look so bad." Thanks, Mom!

Here follow my 21 Tips that range from food tips to relationship advice and more! I think I've pretty much anticipated anything that could send us over the edge and straight into the eggnog. Enjoy!!! And feel free to add to the list. Comment below!

21 Tips: Thanksgiving Survival Guide

1. Manage Your Expectations: For whatever the reason, when it comes to the holidays, our expectations are often over the moon out of whack. We have preconceived notions on how the dinner should be, the conversation should sound, how people should act and how we should feel. Somehow or another, we still hold in our heart that our family gathering - the holidays - will be a Norman Rockwell painting come to life. No problems, just flowing love. If you want to make your holiday celebration easier, then lower and manage your expectations now. The less you are disappointed, the more you are likely to appreciate and enjoy the day.

2. Forget Perfection. The holiday is just like any other day. It will have its ups and downs. There is no perfect day much less perfect holiday.

3. Expect Change. As the years pass, children become young adults; young adults become adults. New people enter the picture and the family composition often changes. And with all these changes, so go the rituals. Be open for new people and new ideas.

4. No One Has Read the Script You've Written for Them. Nor have you read the script they have written for you! If someone says something that irritates you, let it go.

5. Play Nice All Year. Imagine how lovely it would be if we all appreciated each other every day of the year, instead of just one or two!

6. Food Accessories. Trim the Trimmings, Shave the Calories. Just as you wouldn't want to wear a bracelet, necklace, earrings, pins, and a scarf, go easy on your 'food accessories.' There are lots of 'food accessories' that we add to a meal, which in turn add hundreds of calories to each and every meal. Go light on the nuts, cheese, cream sauces, gravy, butter, dressings, and whipped cream.

7. Club Soda In One Hand, A Napkin in the other! If you are holding a drink, preferably water, in one hand, and a napkin in the other, it makes those tastes and nibbles a lot more difficult! Don't resort to licking, please.

8. Speaking of Nibbles. Did you know that appetizers can run anywhere from 50 to 300 calories a pop. Chew on that!

9. Be Discriminating. Eat only what you love. Before you dive into that greasy bowl of whatever, ask yourself, "Is it worth it?"

10. Savor the flavor. Enjoy the sweet, the sour, the salty ... be one with your food.

11. This is not The Last Supper. There's more in the kitchen. Eat until you are sated, not until overly full or stuffed.

12. No Starving Oneself Allowed. Eat! People often make the big mistake of thinking, "I'll skip lunch and save calories for the party I'm going to tonight." This strategy rarely works and it is likely to blow up in your face. If too hungry, you are likely to lose control.

13. Don't Pile It High. Pace Yourself. If you are going to partake in the appetizers, how about taking one on your plate a time.

14. No Closet Eating. Whatever you are going to eat, eat it out in the open! No sneaking. No lies!

15. To Drink or Not to Drink - that is the question! Limit the booze, baby! Alcohol, a Trigger? Alcoholic drinks are loaded with calories, especially the sweet drinks and the eggnogs! And they are likely to lower your inhibitions and might trigger you to eat more than you really want to.

16. No Elastic Waist Bands Allowed. Go Snug. You really don't want to leave room for expansion, do you? For goodness sake, wear fitted clothing. Studies show you'll eat less and have a more realistic take on what's happening in the 'waist' department.

17. Go Active. Plan activities. The holidays aren't always about food, are they? They are about enjoying eachother's company, having fun, laughter! Think outdoor games: sledding, skating, badminton, horseshoes. Indoor fun: bowling, indoor skating rinks, dancing!

18. Games Galore. More play time. How about a spirited game of cards, charades, or even musical chairs! Make a list of your favorite games!

19. Hand Hobbies. Keep your hands and mind busy with crocheting, knitting, needlepoint, or by being a foto-food journalist. Photograph the food - or your family. It's difficult to eat and purl one at the same time.

20. Practice Loving Kindness. Be kind to others and yourself. No name calling (like fat pig). Love, love and love yourself some more!

21. All Is Forgiven. Move On. This time is my time and it can be your time, too, if - when you fall off the wagon - you get up and dust your self off and repeat Our Lady of Weight Loss's most powerful mantra: "All is forgiven. Move on."

Spread the word ... NOT the icing!

For daily weight loss wisdom, visit Janice's Beliefnet blog.
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