This is, no question, the hardest time of year to maintain a healthy eating plan. Everywhere you go, there's special, indulgent holiday food: cookies at the office, samples at the grocery store, your neighbor's signature bean dip at the neighborhood gathering, your uncle's killer eggnog at the family party.
Most people gain a pound or two, especially since making time for exercise is that much harder with all the extra holiday events. It's possible to get through without too much damage, though...but you have to know your own eating style and the way you deal with temptation.
Some people are rock stars at moderation. They can go to a party with food and drink galore and have a glass of champagne and a few nibbles of hors d'oeuvres and feel perfectly satisfied. For these folks, resisting the "food pushers" is a big problem. For a lot of people, the holidays are when they trot out their best cooking, stuff they would never bother to make the rest of the year, and they really, really, really want you to try their legendary bacon-wrapped bacon.
Learning to say "no thank you" in a nice but way can be a real social minefield, but it's key to maintaining your already good habits. If you already know you'll be facing a pusher, have a plan going in: for example, have one piece of their famous treat and cut back elsewhere, or share with a family member or friend. If you get ambushed, try saying you are already so full from the delicious dinner they made you can't possibly try dessert, or that you had a bite of their amazing hors d'oeuvre earlier and it was great. In any event, food pushers are usually people who just love to cook and cook to love, so it's often the best strategy to take just a small bit of whatever they are offering and praise it to the skies. They'll be thrilled and you will mitigate the damage to both your waistline and your relationships.
Others of us (ahem) really enjoy all the special stuff that is around at the holidays and don't want to deny ourselves. They key is to choose well and then be very disciplined about your eating and exercise the rest of the time. Take a look at your calendar and figure out what social events are must-dos, and then plan accordingly. The question to ask yourself is "realistically, is this going to be my only chance to have this?" Baked brie and mini quiches are delicious, but you'll see them at plenty of parties all year long and so there's no reason to go super crazy. My mom's amazing twice-baked potatoes? Those are a Christmas-only kind of a thing so I'll be enjoying every bite.
What's your eating style around the holidays? And how do you navigate temptation?