Maybe you find it easy to stick to your diet when you’re at home, but parties and eating out throw you off track. Welcome to the holiday season.  Suddenly, you’re surrounded by temptations. You want to have fun with your family and friends instead of thinking about counting calories and measuring portions.

You can make healthy choices while enjoying a social life. However, you’ll have a difficult time keeping weight off unless you’re able to keep your goals in sight when you’re out in public.

Try these ideas to help you turn your family and friends into allies and prepare for many of the most common challenging situations.

Dealing with Your Family and Friends:

1. Ask for help. Experts say that social support is one reason why groups like Weight Watchers have so many success stories. Let your loved ones know what kind of practical and emotional assistance you need. You may want to join an official support group too, especially if you’re losing significant amounts of weight.

2. Team up. You probably know someone who shares your desire to slim down. Collaborate so you can keep each other company and hold each other accountable for working out and eating your vegetables.

3. Change the subject. There may also be people who tend to undermine your positive intentions or just lack much interest in what you ate for breakfast. You’ll be more fun to be around if you talk about things other than your diet.

4. Plan the agenda. Seek entertainment in places other than restaurants and bars. Invite a friend to go rock climbing, or on a hike or bike ride. Bring your children to a science museum instead of an ice cream parlor. Or take them out on a hike or walk for fresh air.

5. Take responsibility. Remember that you control what you eat and drink, and you have to live with the consequences. It will help you to keep any peer pressure in perspective.

Dealing with Eating Out:

1. Preview the menu. Most restaurants post their menus online these days. Find out what your options are so you can decide what to order without being tempted by having to look at the specials and other fattening dishes.

2. Shrink your servings. Many restaurants serve jumbo portions. Eat half of what’s on your plate and take the rest home for breakfast. If you think you’ll be prone to gobbling it all down, ask the server to pack up half in advance.

3. Pick the venue. Some restaurants offer a wider selection of delicious low-calorie items. Have a list of local favorites handy so you can recommend where to go for date nights or weekend brunches.

4. Make substitutions. Ask your server if you can customize your meal. For example, you may be able to get extra vegetables or a green salad instead of French fries or order your fish grilled instead of fried. If your meal includes sauces, see if you can get them on the side.

5. Circle the salad bar. You might think that salad is a safe choice, but it depends on the ingredients. See what’s available at the salad bar before you order. Go easy on the shredded cheese, bacon, and heavy dressings. Load up on leafy greens and other vegetables.

6. Have a snack. If you know that you tend to overindulge in birthday cake or barbecued ribs, curb your appetite before you leave home. Eat a cup of yogurt or hummus on baby carrots.

7. Limit alcohol. Cocktails contain a lot of empty calories and can make you crave cheeseburgers and buffalo wings. Draw the line at one drink and make it wine or spirits with a zero-calorie mixer like club soda.

Planning ahead and building a strong support system will help you to slim down and still enjoy hanging out with your loved ones. After all, healthy eating and close relationships both play a big role in your happiness and well-being. Try these tips and enjoy a much healthier and happier holiday season. Cheers!

Please comment below if you have any other tips on how you are staying healthy this holiday season!