11/30/2011 10:00 pm ET Updated Jan 30, 2012

A Recipe for Holiday Beauty

It is that time of year for parties and family celebrations. We all want to look and feel beautiful, but holiday stress makes that difficult. Relatives and friends find ways to pull and tug us in directions that we know will lead to unpleasant and even hurtful situations. Holiday parties are fabulous, but can you pull yourself together so you look great, feel confident and be the life of the party? More importantly, can you get through the holidays without regrettable family blow-ups or gaining excessive weight because it is so easy to blame the holiday season? The key to a smooth transition involves a few simple maneuvers, which I have presented here in the form of a holiday recipe that is easy to follow and will be as handy as that formula for moist pumpkin pie.


Solid workout routine
Proven wardrobe party outfits
Mindful eating
Short memory
Remembering the gifts you have


Place a solid exercise regimen in that large pot called your busy schedule. Mix in short, positive memory and mindful eating and then stir and simmer. Add proven party outfits and continue to cook. Finish with a large dose of thankful blessings and serve generously throughout the entire season. This dish can be served other times of the year as well.

Preparation -- Solid Workout Routine and Dressing Confidently

Looking your best is all about confidence and a little preparation. Try to exercise at least every other day to help negate the extra calories consumed at parties and gatherings. Increase your cardio workout to raise your calorie burn to minimize weight gain so your party outfits fit appropriately and are not snug. Feeling and looking fit is a great confidence builder.

You don't necessarily have to run out and buy a new holiday wardrobe. Shop in your closet for ensembles that you know fit well and make you look gorgeous. Be certain that clothing is tailored smartly and pressed, as that truly makes a difference. If you do decide to buy new outfits, shop with a friend who is reasonable and who will give you honest opinions on how you look in the outfit. Do not impulse buy or pick an article of clothing that doesn't fit well, but might if you can just lose 5 pounds! Choose attire that accentuates your assets and camouflages your problem areas. If you have great legs, select a beautiful skirt instead of slacks. Men and women should realize that black really does have a thinning effect as do vertical stripes. V-neck sweaters elongate and narrow the torso and give the illusion of extra inches. Voluptuous women should choose larger accessories like wide belts and a large purse.

Behaving and Enjoying the Festivities

At parties and holiday dinners, practice "mindful eating." That means eating normal portions and not gorging or overeating just because it is the holidays. Learn to pace yourself. Try to avoid second helpings and enormous servings of dessert. When you are aware that you will be visiting your Aunt Rose, who is a fabulous cook, don't starve yourself prior to the meal. Actually snack an hour or two before you get there so you can savor her cooking and avoid gorging because the food is delicious and you are so hungry! Watch the alcohol consumption. We all want to have a good time but booze is loaded with calories. Also, tipsy can be cute, but sloppy drunk is not at all attractive.

Try to have a short, positive memory. Forget about your cousin Jack's hurtful comment made last Christmas about your job or fiancé. Steer clear of political debates with relatives or friends known to have strong, unyielding opinions. Try to stimulate playful and positive conversations about humorous or warm experiences from the past. Make fun of yourself; this will immediately disarm those looking to throw a hurtful shot your way. Pull out photos from past holidays, especially when you were a child, to remind yourself just how magical this time of year can be. When things get hot, try to remember that the holidays should be about merriment and peace, at least for a few weeks!

When all else fails and you are ready to punch out your obnoxious brother-in-law, or tattle some dark secret about your sister because she was rude, or simply can't take the stress anymore... Do this: Count your blessings! Better yet, before things get out of hand, sit down right now and write them down.

Keep that list handy for emergencies and refer to it often. Remember how lucky you and your loved ones are to be healthy. Volunteer at a hospital, hospice or shelter to confirm that gift. Understand how fortunate you are to have a job. Revel in the fact that as difficult as family and friends can be, you know that they will be there when you need them. Finally, realize that if things are not great right now, and you are going through rough times, understand that there are still so many others worse off than you, and be thankful for what you have! Allow the holidays to lift your spirits and make you stronger and your inner and outer beauty will glitter like freshly fallen snow!

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