Top 5 Tips for Avoiding Diet Disasters This Holiday Season

Ah, the holidays. A time to kick back with family and friends, cozy up in front of a fire, celebrate the good things in life …

And overdose on a family-size slice of pecan pie.

With my wedding coming up, I’m determined to not let my diet and exercise regimen dissolve into a sugar cookie and eggnog-induced pile of woe this month. Barry’s Bootcamp is kicking my butt four to five days a week. To figure out the eating part of the equation, I talked with Cynthia Pasquella, a nutritionist who created the SoCal Cleanse line of health and beauty products designed to kick your weight loss plan into overdrive. She gave me her top five tips for staving off weight gain this holiday season:

1. Make a healthy swap, slowly. Cythina suggests picking one of two diet swaps that you can fit into your life easily. For instance — mix up one of her SoCal Cleanse organic protein and detox shakes for breakfast instead of spooning a sugary parfait, scarfing down cereal, or gobbling up a breakfast sandwich. This goes for workouts too — I had to phase into my early morning Barry’s routine, alternating between AM and PM classes until I got used to getting out the door at the crack of dawn.

2. Don’t deprive yourself. Especially during the holidays, it doesn’t make sense to swear off the cookie table for good. Vow to have one and be done. “It’s all about baby stepping,” Cynthia says. “If you normally have a burger and fries for lunch, have a burger and salad.”

3. Stay away from the cheese spread. And the canned cranberry sauce, and the store-bought gravy. “Avoid processed foods,” Cynthia says. “It really doesn’t get any easier than that. If it’s not in the original form that mother nature put it in, then don’t eat it.” Besides, cheese tastes a lot better coming off a rind than out of a can.

4. Think before you clink. The booze at a holiday fiesta can put as much of a dent in your diet as the food. “So many holiday drinks are high in calories and sugar,” Cynthia says. “The best option is a white wine spritzer, a glass of champagne or beer.” If you are going to indulge in a sugary spiked cider or creamy eggnog, consider cutting back on the dessert tray.

5. The clutch trick. This is my personal favorite, and I’m going to make sure to do it if I go to a fancy-schmancy bash this season. “I always carry a clutch purse because if you have a clutch in one hand, you can’t really eat at the same time,” Cynthia says. “You’re forced to control yourself.”

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