thanksgiving platter November and December can be an especially difficult time to stick to a diet plan. I know because I am currently on a diet and exercise plan, so I am writing this just as much for myself as anyone else who might be reading this.

Here are my ‘7 Diet Strategies for the Holidays‘:

1. Remain Calm. I have read that stress causes us to eat more food. The stress could come from shopping, family, or anything else. So accept that you may have more stress right now and take a deep breathe and remain calm. It may be easy to eat your way into feeling better, but we both know this really doesn’t work.

2. Reconsider ‘Holiday Foods’. What I mean by this is, swap out the cookies and the cake for things like fruit and nuts. Make it so you don’t always think about cake, cookies, and candy when you think about what you can eat or serve during the Holidays. Changing what we think are appropriate foods will go a long way in helping us to eat right, especially during the Holidays. This way you will also still get to celebrate with food, but it will be much healthier for you.

3. Party You may be thinking that you can’t go to any Christmas parties this year because of your diet. I think if you choose this route you will add more stress to your life and end up eating more. So, get up and head to that party. But make a conscious decision about what you can eat while you are there. Trust me, nobody will notice that you aren’t eating as much as everyone else. You may even want to bring a healthy dish with you to share if you suspect there may be nothing healthy to eat at the party.

4. Remain Active. Time can be a premium during the Holidays. So you need to make sure you are active and make going to the Gym, or working out a high priority. You don’t want to take any ‘time off’. Trust me I learned this the hard way a few years ago. Taking a month or two off will put you back into your old routine and it will be much more difficult to get back to the gym or a workout routine in the future.

5. Accountability If you don’t already have an accountability partner that is helping you eat the right foods and working out, this would be an ideal time to find a friend to help you with this. Holiday foods can be really tempting, and if you don’t have someone who is looking out for you and working with you, you just might start sneaking entire pies, or other foods into your diet secretly. You will then not see the results you are expecting and get frustrated and possibly end up quiting on your diet and or exercise routine. It is OK to admit you might need help from someone.

6. Eat Slowly. When there is a whole table of amazing food in front of you, it is really easy to just start shoving it all into your face as quickly as possible. Don’t do this. Eat slowly. When you eat slower you eat less. When you eat quickly you can get a lot more food into your body. Unless you are on a weight gain diet, I would not recommend this. Eating less needs to be something you are thinking about when at the dinner table.

7. Stay Connected with God If you are like me then your health and diet issues are connected to your relationship with Jesus. I found that my health was a spiritual issue for me. I was involved in gluttony. I admit it. I over-consumed food daily for years. And nobody ever called me on it. So it is easy for us to not see our situation like this. But over-eating is not how God wants me or anyone else to live. So, if you are reforming your ways and getting away from gluttony (as I am), then be in prayer and read your Bible. This will hopefully help you stay focused on God and focused on living for Him with how you live your life.