Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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Don’t be a glutton at holiday parties

If you’re trying to enjoy the holiday season without packing on weight or feeling bloated, these strategies can help:

  • Write down what you eat.
  • Drink water instead of fatty, sugary beverages.
  • Use small serving spoons instead of big ones.
  • Bring something healthy to holiday buffets.
  • Exercise at the start of each day.

These were among the many tips offered during Healthy Eating During the Holidays and Beyond, a gathering held Dec. 4 to help people enjoy the holidays without overloading on rich, high-calorie foods.

Registered dietitian Nancy Farrell, of Farrell Dietitian Services, Dr. Nimali Fernando of the Doctor Yum Project and Becky Tate, a health-conscious Caroline County woman, shared tips for cultivating a healthy lifestyle during the 90-minute gathering in Fredericksburg.

Farrell advised people to think about who’s in control—you, or the food? She also stressed the importance of starting your day with exercise.

Fernando, a pediatrician who advocates healthy eating through her nonprofit Doctor Yum Project, talked to the crowd about the importance of changing a family’s food culture.

Tate, meanwhile, shared her personal story of losing more than 130 pounds after her weight had risen to 311 pounds. She said she learned to control her addiction to food by keeping a detailed journal of everything she eats.

The speakers shared an abundance of practical tips for getting through the season — and beyond –without having to loosen your pants. Check out my story in Sunday’s Healthy Living section for more details. Meanwhile, keep in mind the eating philosophy Farrell shared near the end of the gathering: “I’m not asking for perfection,” she said. “I need you to be on the ball 80 percent of the time.”