PhotoThere's a very good reason that so many New Year's resolutions involve losing weight. The previous month often includes holiday parties and family feasts that add to the weight that needs shedding in January.

What if you could avoid putting on those extra pounds in the first place? A team of medical experts at Greenwich Hospital’s Weight Loss & Diabetes Center, in Connecticut, has come up with 10 tips for avoiding holiday weight gain.

  1. Set realistic expectations. Consider patterns in your weight during previous holiday periods. This is usually a time to maintain, not lose, weight.
  2. Schedule downtime. If you tend to have a lot of social events and responsibilities on your calendar, also schedule times to relax. It’s equally important for your overall health.
  3. Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time as best as you can. It’s easy to get distracted and pick up something "quick and easy" from a fast food restaurant. Instead, bring an apple, banana or small bag of nuts to eat in the car as a healthy snack.
  4. Write it down. This applies to a meal and snack schedule, and also to a food diary of everything you eat. Review it at the end of the day and start again the next day.
  5. Ask for help. It's nice to take care of others, but not to the point that it gets in the way of eating healthy, exercising adequately, and getting enough sleep for your personal health.
  6. Never go to a holiday party hungry. It’s a sure bet that you’ll overindulge on calorie-dense foods, and you'll be overeating in no time, but don’t get down on yourself for a special-occasion binge.
  7. Engage in mindful eating. In other words, don’t eat while multitasking. Savor each bite, focus on the joy of flavor. Appreciate every morsel.
  8. Drink water throughout the day and at events. Staying well hydrated can keep you alert. People often misread the body’s signals for thirst as hunger.
  9. Use exercise to relieve stress and empower you with physical and mental energy to follow your healthy holiday plans. Take a daily walk, even if it's only for a few minutes. This will help clear your head, regain perspective, help control your hunger and bump up your rate of metabolism.
  10. Get an adequate amount of sleep. When you are tired, simplest daily tasks can be a struggle, not to mention all of the holiday hustling. Lack of sleep triggers hormones that affect your weight and mood.

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