rocky The holidays are upon us, and regardless of your religious or political beliefs they are completely unavoidable. The long lines, the packed parking lots, all the grumpy grumpelstiltskins bah humbug-ing with their grinch-like's enough to give a girl some serious anxiety! I love the holidays because I get to spend some quality time with family, but they do make me very anxious. Now my triggers don't involve long lines or that token Scroogey cousin or even the congested lots. The thing that really gets my anxiety revved up is the thought of all that damn food! Don't get my wrong, I enjoy the food! I even wear yoga pants to dinner just so my food baby can grow without any restriction. Yet every year the same thing happens like clockwork. The bigger and bloated my tum gets, so grows the guilt. Now that bloat usually goes away with a cup of Smooth Move and dandelion tea, but the guilt stays with me much longer. It's a different kind of stomach pain. I tell myself I'm going to be reasonable and not over eat; just simply enjoy my food without going overboard. Now after many years of giving myself this tough loving pep talk (you know--the kind of pep talk Mickey gave Rocky when he was feeling sorry for himself) I still find myself practically slamming my face into all 3 plates of holiday goodness as if I never even knew food existed. After talking to clients I realized they had the same problem. So I decided to come up with some basic rules; something a little more specific. I came up with these guidelines that give a little wiggle room. I found when I'm super strict, I am more likely to fail versus when I practice moderation. I will repeat this over and over if I have to: the key to healthy living and a fit lifestyle is balance. Now eat up you son of a b**** because Alex loves you! (For this post's sake I really hope you've seen Rocky...)

**Before serving yourself, check out the table. Decide what you really want to eat and what you could do without.

Portion Control: 
I don't believe in deprivation. I believe in moderation. Eat everything you want as long as it fits in the palm of your hand (no more than two tablespoons.) Getting a little bit of everything will prevent you from feeling deprived and drive off the urge to binge
Fill up on the good stuff: 
Filling up on fiber packed veggies will get your tummy super full. Once you are full, your eyes won’t wander as much to the bad stuff and portion control will be a bit easier to accomplish. I always like to pack a plate with veggies before I even go for the other food. This way I am less hungry and I can be more realistic about what I can fit in my tummy.
Hold the sauce!:
Sauce is code for processed sugars/fats. Don’t fall for the tricks! Just because cranberry sauce has fruit in it, does not mean it’s healthy. Whatever you are eating, if you can’t find it in a natural form, it’s probably processed and full of empty calories.
Dessert : 
Pick out three desserts that you feel you have to try. You get 3 bites, one from each dessert or 3 from the same dessert.  Deprivation only leads to over eating. It’s okay to treat yourself a bit. My mom and I like to use a little trick called "The Tablespoon Rule". We take a tablespoon and go around the dessert table, only scooping a spoonful of our favorites.
As good as that stuffing was, leave it for someone else. Consider it the gift of giving.
 Quick Tips
-Greek yogurt/goat's milk yogurt are great substitutes for creamy items.
-Stevia is natural, zero calorie sweetener. Use this when baking.
-Whole Foods and Trader Joe's both sell chocolate with no added sugar. Use for yummy, low carb desserts!
-Make your own food and bring it to share. You’ll have more control of what goes on your plate.
-The “Skinny Girl” cocktail brand is a great addition to any adult holiday party. It’s low in calories and sugar.
-Get in a nice, long walk with your family after dinner. It will help with digestion and burn some calories!