12/12/2012 11:18 am ET Updated Feb 11, 2013

How to Avoid the Holiday Bloat

This time of year is full of tempting food at the office, indulging potluck parties, and family get togethers. Whether you're looking to shed a few pounds or maintain a healthy lifestyle, here are a few tips to not overdo it during this holiday season.

1) First (and most important) suggestion: Be realistic. Avoid starting a diet near the holidays, as you are most likely setting yourself up for failure. Instead, set a realistic goal and maintain that weight.

2) Hors d'oeuvres are delicious, but be picky and choose a few favorite snacks and eat them with moderation vs. eating one of everything on the table. The calories, fat, and sugar all add up.

3) Just because there are more dinner parties around the holidays, don't starve yourself. Starving yourself often leads to binge eating, which can do you more harm than good.

4) Beat the bulge and avoid drinks that contain alcohol and caffeine, as well as fruits that are acidic in nature.

5) Portion control -- be realistic about sizing. Most importantly with a buffet table, resist the temptation to eat everything. Eat the things you want most, and remember to eat in moderation.

6) Pace yourself. Often, people are eating so much that the stomach doesn't have enough time to catch up and digest the food. The key is to eat slower so that you can savor the food while allowing your body the chance to tell you that you're full.

7) If you are bringing a dish to a potluck party, set an example and bring a healthy dish. Your host will appreciate that you're offering a healthy option to their guests.

8) Keep exercising. Even if finding time is difficult, find a way to incorporate it in your daily routine during the holidays. Yoga is great source of staying physically active and is a big stress reliever.

9) If you (or your party guests) suffer from certain health conditions like celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, look online, as there are a variety of helpful recipes and resources for hosting those living gluten-free.

10) And lastly, enjoy yourself! These are suggested tips and will differ from person to person. It's important to take the time and plan out your ultimate goals before heading into the holiday season. Remember that you can enjoy all of your favorite foods without overeating.

What tips do you have when it comes to not overdoing it come holiday time? Share them in the comments below!

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