Staying on track and not falling off the wagon (or sleigh) this time of year can be tricky. With holiday parties and get-togethers jamming up your calendar along with the cookie exchange, eggnog and let’s not forget aunt Jackie’s famous pie--overeating can happen more easily than you think.

Here are some ways you can plan for a successful season and stay focused on your goals. A little pre-planning and some willpower should keep you on track.

  1. Party on
    When you know you have an event and you don’t have control over the menu (and you just know you’ll be tempted by all that comfort food) eat beforehand, or better yet, offer to bring a dish. This lets you keep control over your hunger and you know that there will be a healthy option there for you to eat.
  1. Add some distance
    Kitchen parties happen for a reason, where people congregate around food. If there’s a designated area for snacks, try to stay further than an arm’s length away so you aren’t mimicking a bicep curl from the treat bowl to your mouth.

  2. Don’t shop hungry
    Or gift wrap, or decorate either. Schedule in time to at least have a filling and nutrient dense snack before any activities, especially potentially stressful ones that will deplete your energy stores and your mental strength. Multitasking can also lead to mindlessly consuming extra calories, so if you do need to make a refuel pit stop, make sure it’s at a proper restaurant rather than a grab and go.

  3. Keep track
    The whirlwind of goodies and meals and snacks can go by in a blur, so keeping a little food journal along with your calendar can really help you see where you’ve been and where you’re going. Like when you were at the girls' yearly lunch, but also have your bowling team’s potluck dinner that night.

  4. Indulge
    That’s right, go for it! Just be smart about your choices. Pick truly special things that you just couldn’t celebrate the season without. Knowing that skipping an everyday brownie at the office won’t compare to the slice of Christmas cake you’ll have later on with your cousin (just like you’ve been doing since you were kids). This will help you avoid temptation and celebrate the season. Just watch out for those treat trays that get left out for grazing. If you’re in control, have one and put the rest away and out of sight to avoid binging.