By Angelica Gavaldon.

I don’t know about you, but as soon as the weather starts cooling down, I see the beautiful fall leaves, and smell the winter air, I immediately start craving longer sleep and more comfort food. This is one of the times that it is proven that diets don’t, and never will, work. All your efforts to stick to the diet, do paleo, or only eat protein go down the drain. However, it is possible to eat healthy most of the time by applying an 80/20 approach. This way you can keep eating healthy as well as a bit of what you crave to sustain your well-being through the holiday season. As the festivities approach, I want to suggest that this year you try something different: enjoy them and the food. Don’t label food as good or bad, instead try moderation. If you think about it, did anybody really gain weight by having two or three bites of cake or one tamale?

Here are some tips for eating during the holiday season:

1. Change your mind set about holiday food.
You cannot avoid parties so enjoy what is being served in moderation. This is the key. Just have a small serving of what you are craving.

2. Fill your plate with salad vegetables, or other healthy options and save a small part of it for the treat you desire.
If it’s more than one unhealthy food then pace yourself and just eat one or two bites of each.

3. Be conscious of what you are putting in your mouth.
This means NO mindless eating. A lot of times we eat without really enjoying and savoring each bite.

4. Hydrate.
Drink a lot of water throughout the day to keep flushing out toxins.

5. Sweat it out.
Exercise is not a form of punishment for all the winter food you ate, it’s simply something that will keep you healthy throughout the holidays and the rest of your life.

6. Leave the guilt.
I can guarantee once you understand that holidays should not be an excuse to eat everything you want, it will change how you feel and you will not feel guilty. Remember to enjoy in moderation.

7. Slow down.
Enjoy the social setting, eat slowly, and know that you don’t have to eat everything. Chances are that tomorrow, or sometime in the near future, there will be another party where you can indulge a little bit again.