Wow, it barely feels like summer ended and already the holidays are fast approaching. While it’s certainly a lovely time of the year filled with family, friends, and get-togethers, it also brings along overwhelming temptation and excess with it.

For many the damage done to their diet and exercise regime over the next two months from all the hearty meals, endless dessert trays, and 24/7 happy hours is what they’ll be frantically trying to undo and work off over the next six monthsbefore summer arrives.

It doesn’t have to be this way though! But you will need to make a few sacrifices and tough choices. And you will need to have a plan. There isn’t a better time than now to take a few moments, before the chaos begins and sweeps you away (typically around Halloween), to thoughtfully come up with your holiday game plan.

Now don’t get me wrong, you can still enjoy the wonders of the holidays and even indulge on occasion, the key is doing so in moderation. In order to do so you need to be mindful of your surroundings and identify what your triggers are (mine is Pumpkin Pie!) If you’re aware and stick to your favorite item you’ll be more likely to navigate that dessert bar without piling too much on your plate.

There are plenty of other tips and tricks to consider trying; here are some of my favorites:

  • Eat a healthy snack at home before getting to the party; you’re more likely to make poor eating choices when you’re starving.
  • Drink plenty of water, especially when drinking alcohol try to rotate a glass of water after each drink.
  • Even if you can’t make it to the gym at your typical rate, don’t abandon your workouts entirely. Try to do something active daily. Even if you have family in town, bring them along with you.

It’s far from easy to maintain healthy habits throughout the holidays, so cut yourself a little slack. Just don’t cut yourself too much; otherwise when you get to the gym on January 2nd you’re not going to be too happy. If you start implementing some of those common New Year’s resolutions a couple months earlier this year they’ll be much more likely to stick.

I’d love to hear what some of your techniques are to navigate the holidays, please feel free to share in the comments below.