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Whether you’ve just created your ideal figure with liposuction or a tummy tuck, you’re planning to do so in 2018, or you just want to maintain a healthy weight, the holiday season is the perfect time to completely sabotage your best efforts toward maximum health and beauty! Although most people only gain about a pound during the festivities, that quickly adds up over the years to intractable muffin tops, love handles and saddlebags.

From candy canes to champagne punch, temptations are everywhere. So how do you navigate the chocolate fountains, latkes, and eggnog and keep your lovely shape, without feeling left out and miserable? Here are a few tips to help you have fun without regret so 2018 can be your best and fittest yet:

Eat at Home

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If you’re going to a party or event where you know you’ll be faced with an array of high-calorie tasty treats, eat a healthy meal beforehand. That will make you feel sated, so you won’t try to satisfy your hunger with gingerbread men, candies, bread pudding, and pumpkin pies.

And if the party is a sit-down dinner, where you’ll be expected to eat what’s served (or be considered rude), don’t starve yourself ahead of time! Eat healthy meals at your regular times so you won’t be overly hungry and load up your plate with too many mashed potatoes. Or dessert!

And, no matter how much pressure your hosts put on you, if you’re hungry or are trying to avoid a “trigger” food, just say No thank you! (with a big holiday smile).

Start With Veggies

If the party offers healthy treats, like vegetable crudites, head for those first. Munching on carrots, celery, green beans, and broccoli gives you something to do, fills you up, and sets your body for healthier foods.

Choose Small Plates and Portions

If you have a choice between a dinner plate or a salad plate, choose the salad plate. When you fill it up, it’ll still feel like a treat, but you’re less likely to overindulge.

And always go for a small portion first, knowing you can have seconds later, if desired.

Be Mindful

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Enjoy each morsel your put in your mouth! Let your tongue savor the sensations and flavors that you may not have during the rest of the year. Thinking about what you are eating and truly enjoying each moment of it in itself can be a satisfying experience. It also helps you keep track of how much you’re actually eating … and helps you say no to that second piece of fudge.

Beware the Nog!

Punches, egg nogs, spiced hard ciders, wine, and the assortment of other mixed drinks and straight alcohol all lower your ability to resist that plate of sliders or red-velvet cake that the waiter keeps bringing your way. Decide ahead of time to limit your drinks to just one or two. Remember, too, that alcohol is full of sugar and can easily add to your waistline if you knock back too many hot buttered rums.

Spritz it!

You can enjoy more drinks, less alcohol, and fewer calories if you request spritzers from the bartender. A little seltzer in wine, liquors, and even mixed drinks lets your feel indulged without overdoing it.

Get Creative!

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If you’re the hostess or host, find new ways of making old standards. Switch out sugary recipes for those based on naturally sweet, high-nutrient foods, like sweet potatoes. The internet is filled with recipes that substitute ingredients that are filled with empty calories, like sugar, for highly nourishing foods that are actually even more flavorful.

Make sure you offer your guests (and yourself) lots of nutritious, healthy and delicious snacks before the main meal, such as protein-rich shrimp cocktails, plates of exotic vegetables, fresh-fruit skewers, and whole-grain crackers.

Main meals should be veggie-heavy too. You can do the “mom trick” and add veggie purees to almost every dish. Offer a few festive vegetable dishes before the main dish, plus a creative and colorful salad garnished with pomegranates, berries, or cranberries.

Dance for Joy!

If your co-workers or friends have turned up the tunes and are dancing their hearts out, joint them! Dancing is a great cardiovascular activity that revs up your metabolism and helps burn off all those creme brulees. You can blast the holiday music while you’re home cooking and get in a few jigs as you stud the ham with cloves.

Don’t like dancing? Decide on your gym days and stick to them, no matter how many parties fill up your schedule. Take the stairs up to the office party. Park a few blocks away from your dinner rendezvous. Book a few private sessions with your trainer as a holiday gift to yourself.

Don’t Sweat It!

Did you know that overeating is often caused by emotions, such as depression or guilt? If the holidays make you feel blue, or even feel guilty for overindulging, find non-food ways to make yourself feel better. Be sure to line up dates with friends, therapists, and anyone else who can help you avoid the holiday downers.

And if you do eat a few cookies more than you’d planned, don’t beat yourself up about it! Enjoy each treat and know that the holidays will be over soon and you can get back on track with a diet that makes your body and mind feel healthy and strong.

Finally, if despite your best efforts, you do gain a few extra pounds that don’t come off with your New Year’s resolution, you can use your Holiday Bonus to treat yourself to body contouring with liposuction, ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty or a tummy tuck from the best plastic surgeon in Las Vegas. Happy Holidays!

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