Here we are, the third week of November. For my people in the Northern states, I hope your Northface or Carhart jackets are warm on your morning commutes. To my friends in the south, I hope you’re enjoying your 80 degree November.

For some, though, the thought of the holidays may put you in a state of anxiety. The infamous “holiday weight” conversations start almost at the same time as Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is You” starts playing. And while you look forward to time with their friends and family, you’re reluctant at the thought of an endless array of food

Believe me, I get it. And depending how big your family is, you may more than one meal on your horizon. I personally have learned that getting married adds another one (which I personally love). That said, there are ways to go about the holidays.

Water Intake

Yup, getting this one out of the way first. If you’re not one to drink water regularly, now’s your time to start. Doing so is great for the obvious health benefits, but there’s added benefits to it.

Water helps you feel full. If you’ve read anything from me before, you know I suggest having a glass before every meal. This is for this exact reason.

Hydrate throughout the day, but be sure to have a glass before you sit down.

Portion Control

If you’ve treated the past 10 months with discipline and action, you might already be in a good routine. But after all, we’re talking about mom’s home-cooked meals here. It’s hard to believe anyone with a pulse can turn that down. And we’ve all been there. Your first round of food has the plate bending. Food is spilling off the edges, and you may have to double hand it, then go back for silverware. Next thing you know you’re in a food coma on the couch with your relatives, watching the Patriots (hopefully) lose.

Some of you are nodding and smiling while reading that. Portion control can be a great concept. Now I’m not saying you have to whip out the food scale and measure everything before you sit down (but if you do, props to you). Instead use the old hand measurements below.

Brought by Precision Nutrition

Use your hand as a reference point : A palm of protein, a fist of veggies, a cup of carbs, and a thumb of fats.

Start off this way, you might have to go back for seconds, but this may help you stop before the food coma moment. Then again, that might be something you’re looking forward to.

Track What You Can

Piggy backing off of portion control, tracking your meals during the holidays is just as important as non-holidays. This takes a little more discipline than portion control, but it’s worth it.

A lot of people chose the fitness app, ” MyFitnessPal.”

Another app that tracks is the 1st Phorm app. Similar to MyFitnessPal, it has (in my opinion) a wider variety of food and drink options in it’s databases.

I should note that both of these are free to use, and I get zero endorsement from either.

Bring a Healthy Dish

This is a great gesture, especially if you’re a guest at the house you’re going to. If you’re visiting your boyfriends / girlfriends parents for the first time, this will leave a good impression for the hopeful next time you’re there.

You might not know exactly what is being served. Sure it’s the classic Thanksgiving meal, but you never saw how dishes were made. Depending how hardcore you are into a healthy diet, this might be a golden ticket into staying on track. Load up on turkey and some of your dish.

Note* This is a dish for everyone. Don’t bring a meal prep container to a home, especially if it’s the first time meeting people.

Enjoy it | Guilt Free

Some of you have been consistent, disciplined, and strict with your diet over the past 10 months. You’ve seen some major changes in yourself. That said, some may feel comfortable enough to take 1 meal off out of the year.

Here’s my advice to you : Do it. If you’ve been this consistent, chances are you’re still going to track your meal(s) AND get back on track at the next meal. There’s also a good chance you’re going to pick out the healthier options while you’re at it.

BONUS | Take a 10 minute walk afterwards

YouTube stanefferding

This has been brought to light by Stan Effording, the world’s strongest bodybuilder. Referred to as “Rhino,” he talks about his coveted Ten Talks on YouTube.

In a nutshell, walking for 10 minutes at a brisk pace after your meal helps improve digestion, perks the heart rate up, and in time can help decrease blood pressure and resting pulse. It’s also theorized to help with insulin resistance with certain foods.

Final Thoughts

The holiday seasons are upon us. They’re sole purpose is to help pause your busy schedules and reunite you with your friends and family. Take the previous steps to help enjoy your time together without all the guilt. The best part, you can always take leftovers home of what you don’t eat.