The holiday season brings fun with family and friends, as visitors come from near and far to celebrate.  However, the holiday season can be fraught with peril when you are on a very low calorie diet (VLCD) such as ChiroThin. Filled with festivities, the holidays are also filled with temptations that can lead to overdoing it in the diet department. To successfully navigate the holiday season, sheer will power won’t do it, you need a strategy for avoiding temptation.

Wear snug clothes and keep busy: When your clothes are snug, you are less likely to overindulge. If you keep a beverage in your dominant hand, you are less likely to grab snacks or nibble on appetizers. Choose a glass of ice tea garnished with a slice of fruit to look festive. In addition, don’t hover over the buffet or linger around the dinner table. Once you have finished your meal, leave the table or buffet and socialize with other guests.b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_236215840.jpg

Don’t skip meals: As much as possible, stick to your scheduled meals during the holidays, and this includes when going to parties. On the day of the party, eat normally so that you don’t arrive hungry and ready for temptation. This will keep you on track in the event that there are no appropriate options for you on the buffet table. Even though snacks are generally discouraged on the ChiroThin plan, having a small snack of free vegetables and salsa can keep you from diving into the appetizers when you arrive at holiday gatherings.

Survey your surroundings: Instead of heading straight to the buffet table, survey your surroundings. Arm yourself with a beverage such as ice tea or water garnished with fruit and wait 30 minutes before eating. This will give you a chance to scope out the buffet table to determine the foods you can eat. Remember, a buffet table screams over eating, so move through it carefully and make wise choices.

Prepare for potlucks: If you’re invited to a potluck, you have the option of bringing something you know you can eat. Prepare some grilled meats such as chicken or beef skewers with roasted vegetables and for a side bring along some salsa or marinara dip. Include a fruit salad for dessert.

Skip the appetizers: If you can, avoid appetizers completely. If you must snack, munch on veggies such as cucumbers and celery with a little salsa. In addition, stand more than an arm’s length away from the buffet table so that you are not tempted to eat mindlessly while socializing.

Less is more: Research shows that variety stimulates appetite, so put only two items on your plate at a time. You may make as many trips as you like as long as you stay within your plan. Picking only two items each time helps you avoid over eating or choosing something that is not on your plan.

When you don’t control the menu: These days there are so many people with diet restrictions such vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, and tree nut-free that most hosts will have numerous options for their guests. In an ideal situation, host and guest are already well-acquainted and any discussion of your diet is unnecessary or at least not awkward. At a large, buffet-style gathering, you can easily stay under the radar. Usually you can find some vegetables or protein and avoid any heavy sauces that may accompany them. If it is a smaller affair, avoiding the food without notice may not be possible. Take a cue from the Emily Post institute which advises that special needs should be communicated up front. You can discreetly respond to an invitation with something like “I am on a special diet. I’d love to bring some baked fish or a vegetable side dish if that’s okay with you.” Then, ask the host if there is a dish that will complement the rest of the menu.

Take the focus off food: Concentrate on connecting with family and friends, not on food. So many traditions revolve around the dinner table and food, but the root of most traditions are the bonds they build with family and friends. Make some new traditions by playing get-together games such as charades, watch videos, or exchange photos. Or schedule a walk with relatives you haven’t seen in a while. Although exercise is discouraged on Phase 2 of the ChiroThin plan, a gentle twenty minute walk and talk can keep you away from food temptations. These activities will not only keep you on your diet but also create new memories that bring you closer.

Deck the halls: Getting your holiday decorations out and trimming the tree with family is a good way to avoid eating. A gift wrapping party, caroling, and watching a holiday parade or fireworks are also fun alternative activities that don’t have to revolve around food.

Trips to the mall: Shopping is unavoidable during the holiday season but a carefully planned trip doesn’t have to destroy your diet. Choose your route carefully as not to pass the candy store, bakery, or ice cream shop. These sights and smells can tempt you to eat and the aromas can make saying no seem impossible. Don’t go the mall hungry and if you do decide to eat, choose a restaurant where you can customize your meal to fit in with the ChiroThin plan.

De-Stress when necessary: The additional festivities surrounding the holidays can also cause additional stress, which can have a negative effect on your diet. Take time to unwind and decompress. Do some simple stretching, meditate, and be sure to get enough sleep. Recent research has shown that after a night short on sleep, women may feel less full after eating and men tend to have a bigger appetite, so be sure to get at least seven hours of sleep a night, especially the night before a holiday party.

Holiday food and parties may be hard to avoid, but remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish. If you are careful and choose wisely, you can make it through the season with your diet intact. You may find that you have forged new bonds with loved ones and created new traditions that do not revolve around food.