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20 Best (and Worst) Bets on the Holiday Buffet

Plus: Our top tips for handling stress and temptation.

My Personal Party Strategies

My goal is to be at a good weight before the holidays commence. Halloween is my official start date. If my weight is not satisfactory, I exercise more and swear off wine with dinner as well as all sweets and treats. All the extra Halloween candy is given away, and I keep temptations around the house to a minimum.

Over the years I have subscribed to a few basic rules whenever I go to a buffet or party:

  • Always wear a snug-fitting outfit that does not easily expand. Carry a clutch bag that keeps one hand occupied.
  • Eat a small but filling meal before leaving home, such as a bowl of soup or a vegetable salad, so I can resist the hors d'oeuvres.
  • If I don't love it, I don't eat it. This is my golden rule at all times. I hate wasting food, but I hate extra pounds even more.
  • No lingering around the buffet table, bar, or appetizer or dessert display.
  • Limit cocktails to two, with sparkling water and lime rounding out the evening.
  • Engage in mindful eating: make a plate of food, sit down, and enjoy. This helps me recognize when I'm full and means I'm less likely to mindlessly eat the rest of the evening.
  • Follow the 80/20 rule and indulge -- but just a little, and no second helpings.

I Can't Believe I Ate That!

The best-laid plans sometimes fail. If you go overboard, don't beat yourself up. Just brush it off, exercise a little more the next day, and learn from it so it won't happen again at the next holiday function.

Establish your own personal ground rules and do your best to stick to them, and don't forget to exercise daily. And remember to relax, the holidays are supposed to be fun! Enjoy.

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Reviewed on October 30, 2007

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