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Slim Down With RiverTown: Getting through the holidays

Editor's note: This column is one in a series as three RiverTown Multimedia reporters take part in the Slim Down with RiverTown weightloss challenge.

The holidays are supposed to be a time for recuperating, catching up with loved ones and celebrating. However, enjoying the holidays can often be hindered by the fear of overeating and splurging on your favorite festive foods.

Katie DavidsonIf you celebrated Easter this past week and found yourself overeating, you may be feeling guilty this as you return to reality, or you may have allowed the anxiety of diverting from your diet to keep you from fully taking advantage of your time with friends and family. If either of those scenarios are true for you, I have some tips for how you can make the holidays as enjoyable as possible next time around.

I stayed at the Melrose Center in St. Louis Park from Oct. 17-25 in 2014 while attending in-patient treatment for my bulimia, and one of the biggest challenges I faced was preparing myself for my family's upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. The idea of eating foods I had deemed untouchable for so long was terrifying for me at the time, but with help from my therapist, nutritionist and family members, we made the holiday as bearable as possible.

The first thing my nutritionist emphasized was to not skip meals prior to my family's Thanksgiving dinner. It may be tempting to pass on breakfast or lunch before a large dinner but doing so could result to overeating once the anticipated meal comes. If you stick to your daily routine before you sit down for a big meal you'll be less hungry once it arrives and you won't be thinking about your growling stomach all day.

Once it is meal time, try eating buffet style. Leave your family's and friends' favorite dishes in the kitchen and have your guests help themselves before sitting down at the dinner table. This tactic may not be found in a fine dining handbook, but keeping food out of reach may prevent you from grabbing an extra helping or letting your food anxiety distract you from the dinner conversation.

After everyone has gotten enough to eat, store your leftovers in several, portioned-out leftovers containers. It's easy to overeat when a giant pan of leftover ham, potatoes or hotdish is at hand, but sorting out your leftovers will keep you from overindulging and will allow you to enjoy your favorite holiday foods for a greater length of time.

Most importantly, I'll harp on my recurring theme of avoiding self-punishment if you do overeat during the holidays. Did you swap out your ritual side salad for a piece of homemade flatbread? No sweat. Take a scoop of potatoes that exceeded the recommended portion size? Not a big deal. Have an extra piece of pie as a bedtime snack? Let it go. Your diet will be there to return to the next day, and one day of overeating will not ruin the progress you've made.

Eating your favorite foods should not come with stress or anxiety any day but especially not over the holidays when celebrating with family and friends should be your top priority.

Tip of the week from Vibrant Health

Talk positively to yourself

By Brittney Matheson

Self-talk is one of the most effective ways to reprogram our mindset and develop healthier thinking. Sometimes by acting "as if" we create the mindset to believe we can make it happen.

Remind yourself by using weight loss affirmations, that you are the one in control, and focus on building self-esteem.

Every day is an incremental step forward, every time you practice positive self-talk and weight loss affirmations, you strengthen the paths in your brain which lead to positive outcomes.

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