The holidays are the worst time of the year when it comes to trying to maintain a healthy, balanced, weight-loss oriented eating routine (we don't use the word "diet" here). This is particularly true for singles, who often find themselves being invited sympathetically, to numerous events with food and libations! Plus, we have fewer expectations for dinner home with the whole family at 7 p.m. It leads to … bad nutritional things.

Following are a few tips I have read from conditioning and health experts to try to maintain your healthy eating habits through the holidays.

Don't be afraid to say no. You don't have to accept every party or dinner invitation you get during the holiday season, particularly if you feel some are based on sympathy for the single. Go ahead, decline the ones that don't sound like actual fun, go home and stay on our healthy dinner routine.

Don't eat all of the gifts. You're bound to received numerous gifts of food – mostly sweets – during the holiday season, often from co-workers and more distant relatives. Don't feel compelled to eat them. Sample a few and then feel free to share – you might well have friends who appreciate them more!

Don't be afraid to bake gifts. On the other hand, you might have a habit of baking for friends and co-workers for the holidays yourself. Don't give up the habit. It can be thoughtful. Just make sure you taste only as needed.

Stay close to the vegetable tray. Most parties inevitably feature a vegetable tray. When navigating the buffets at countless holiday parties, don't be afraid to gravitate toward the veggie tray. It's a fairly subtle way to stay on a good nutrition path, and you will meet more interesting people.

Keep the stress down. Stress is an inevitable part of the holidays and stress causing unhealthy eating for many people. There is now way to eliminate it, so manage it. If you don't feel like traveling, don't. You should be able to enjoy the holidays as you choose. If you don't want shopping to be too much, tell your family you appreciate scaling back this year. The economy is still atrocious for most, so they will understand. Don't be afraid to set aside time for yourself; and don't be afraid to buy yourself a holiday gift – just for managing to survive the bad food and high anxiety.

-Michael W. Sasser is Oklahoma Magazine’s senior editor and an award-winning journalist. Neither a medical nor a nutrition expert, he shares his personal weight loss journey exclusively with Oklahoma Magazine readers. Reach him at [email protected]

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