12/23/2011 10:31 am ET | Updated Feb 22, 2012

21 Tips: How to Make It a Happy Holiday

I understand that we think "'Tis the season to over-indulge, stuff ourselves silly and stress ourselves out," but it really doesn't have to be.

Our Lady of Weight Loss to the rescue! Here are 21 tips to making it a happy holiday.

Tip #1. Cook 'em up righteous. Do you really have to go out of your way to make each and every dish as fattening as possible? I promise you that a baked sweet potato is far better than any casserole that has melted marshmallows a top!

Tip #2. Get your impulses in check. Make a list and check it twice. Take off anything that's naughty and not nice! And then... Stick to it! The supermarket displays are strategically placed so that you grab whatever item is on them, all glittery -- calling your name -- into your cart on impulse. (Yes, that's called impulse shopping.) Don't do it! You're stronger than that. Keep on walking.

Tip #3. Sliders stick. Don't be duped into thinking that a slider is so small that it doesn't count. Most sliders are a minimum of 100 calories per slide. If you slide enough you will have effectively slipped off the wagon with a loud thud!

Tip #4. Breathe. Before you reach for that deep-fried whatever, take in one deep belly breath. Deep breathing will disconnect you from the impulse to eat and connect you to your body. Then...

Tip #5. Ask your body. Get out of your mind and into your body. Ask your body, "Body, what do you have to say about this?" Chances are your body will be in shock for a few seconds. After all, when's the last time you considered what your body might be feeling while you were stuffing it?

Tip #6. Walk it off. It's okay for you to leave the party for five, 10 or 20 minutes (or more!). Not only will you be burning off that extra olive in your martini, but walking is a fabulous way to de-stress.

Tip #7. Never ever go to a party hungry. People "think" that they are saving calories by not eating all day. "I'm saving calories for the party," they tell me. "Bologna," I say! It just doesn't work, does it? No, it doesn't. You will more than likely eat at least twice or maybe even three times the amount!

Tip #8. Money, money, money. Don't get caught up in a buying frenzy or trying to keep up with the Joneses! Do the grab-bag thing. Make gifts. How many sweaters do we need?

Tip #9. Sleep baby, sleep. I'm telling you that sleep deprivation is a game breaker. It will set you off balance in a multitude of ways. Aside from possibly being a grouch (and who wants to deal with a grouch during the holidays?), lack of sleep can lead to weight gain because it causes your body to increase its levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone called ghrelin, while it decreases the level of leptin, a hormone that helps to make you feel sated.

Tip #10. Make your home a safe haven. If I had a dime for every time I've said this, I'd be rich. Listen up, people. If your home does not support your goals, if it is overflowing with your red light foods, you will use up all your energy saying "No, thank you" at home. You'll never make it past the buffet.

Tip #11. Step away from the buffet table. Speaking of the buffet table ... If you've parked your tush near the buffet table, I can only ask, "What kind of masochist are you?" Move away from the food!

Tip #12. Plain and simple. Stay away from any and all holiday-themed foods and drinks. A 20-ounce peppermint mocha with whipped cream weighs in at 500 calories; an eggnog latte at 450 calories. A glass of eggnog (spiked) has nearly 400 calories.

Tip #13. Chew gum. I don't know about you, but I find it near impossible not to eat while I'm cooking. You could chew sugar-free gum while cooking.

Tip #14. Ban elastic-waist pants. You don't want to leave room for expansion, do you? Wear form-fitting pants, so at least you know where you stand!

Tip #15. Listen to music. Music activates various areas of the brain, including the "reward centers." So, tune in and listen up!

Tip #16. Stand on the sunny side of the street. Get at least 20 minutes of sunlight. Even if you have to sit on the windowsill. It helps your brain to produce serotonin, a mood booster. And, dig this! Apparently serotonin also helps us feel full or sated.

Tip #17. Keep knives out of sight. Knives are metal objects that have a tendency to destroy harmony and stimulate quarrels, fighting and friction in the household.

Tip #18. Even number dinner parties. An even number of table settings will help you to feel relaxed, whereas an odd number will heighten anxiety. The more tranquil your eating environment, the easier it will be to stick to your diet.

Tip #19. The holiday script. Remember that no one has read the script that you have written for them, nor have you read the script that they have written for you.

Tip #20. Learn to say "no" in multiple languages. There's no point in saying "yes" when you want to say "no." If English isn't working for you, try saying "no" in Spanish.

Tip #21. Have fun! Let's not forget, 'tis the season to be jolly!

Spread the word... not the icing,


Janice Taylor is a Life & Weight Loss Success Coach, Self-Help Artist*, the voice of Our Lady of Weight Loss & the creator of the Kick in the Tush Club (who couldn't use a kick).

*A Self-Help Artist makes art that invokes happy wisdom.

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