The holidays are a wonderful time filled with a lot of delicious food — almost too much delicious food. All your eating, if left unchecked, could lead to gaining a few extra, unwanted pounds.

Want the best of both worlds? Enjoying the food but still not hating yourself for going off the deep end? Well, here are five tips for enjoying everything the holidays entail, but with a little more self-control. Hopefully, they’ll help you make it through the season without that pesky 10-pound gain. 

Create rewards for eating well.

Sure, this isn’t exactly a testament to your inner ability to control your food intake, but honestly, we all need some external motivation to reach our goals. Make a pact with yourself. If you eat well for a day or two days or however long you want the period to be, you’ll give yourself a reward. But don’t make it food-related. Instead, buy yourself that shirt you’ve been eyeing or pick up tickets to a play or concert you’ve been dying to see. Your mind and body will be happier for it.

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Courtesy of foodnetwork.com

Make healthier versions of your favorite holiday or restaurant meals.

Craving all that glutinous holiday food or an entrée from your favorite restaurant? Try making a healthier version of that meal at home. You’ll be completely in control of what goes in while you’re cooking/baking, and there are often much better substitutes for original ingredients that taste just as good. Plus, you’ll have the added satisfaction of making your own food and saving money as well.

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Courtesy of nmbreakthroughs.org

Eat smaller portions.

This isn’t exactly revolutionary advice, but it bears repeating. Sometimes the best thing you can do to avoid those pesky holiday pounds is just to eat less. You don’t want to miss out on your grandma’s cookies or your mom’s special stuffing — we get it. And rather than being miserable, just enjoy those pleasures in small doses. If you’re really committed to this, work on eating five small meals a day rather than three really large ones. Yes, you’ll be eating more frequently, but you’ll also be less hungry — and less tempted to snack mindlessly. 

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Courtesy of hsph.harvard.edu

Start your day with a workout.

I know that this is the hardest one to actually do, but there are so many benefits to working out in the morning on any given day, and it’s especially helpful during the holiday season when you may be eating more. When you work out, you feel good, and when you feel good, you’re less likely to make detrimental eating choices. You wouldn’t want to ruin the progress you already made, right?

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Courtesy of stepzapp.com

Do it with a friend.

It’s always easier to go through something challenging with a friend (or a family member if that’s more applicable). Make a pact with your bestie or your brother to eat healthier and make more conscious eating decisions. If you know that you’re accountable to someone else, you’ll be much more likely to follow through with your goals.

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Courtesy of popculture.com

Have you tried any of these techniques to stave off those extra holiday pounds? Do you have another strategy that works better for you? Share with us in the comments below. 

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