CLEVELAND -- Eating is a big part of the holidays, but it can also be a big source of stress.
A lot of us give up the notion of healthy eating over the next few months.
In fact, studies have shown the average person gains anywhere between one and five pounds during the holidays, and with so many celebrations centering around food, that added weight may seem impossible to avoid.
Kristin Kirkpatrick, a nutritionist with the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Center, says you don't have to sacrifice health for enjoyment.
Kirkpatrick recommends committing to a healthy eating plan today.
"If you're waiting until Jan. 1, you're more likely to blow it out now in the next few weeks and a next few months," Kirkpatrick said. "You'll have more weight to lose and more habits you're going to have to break."
But that's not to say you should start dieting either.
"The problem is that if we start starving ourselves now in preparation of really stockpiling during the holidays, our metabolism is going to change, our habits are going to change and we are going to put on more weight when we actually get into that holiday season," she explained.
Kirkpatrick says it's all about the three "C"s.
Commit: Write down your goals, plan them out and no matter how small, stick to them.
Control: If you want to eat a piece of pie, eat one. Not three.
Communicate: Get people on board with your plan. The more people you tell, the more support you'll have around the dinner table or party platter.
Since it takes about 20 minutes for your body to know that it's full, Kirkpatrick also suggests breaking up dinner and dessert with a walk.
So here's to closing out 2012 on a happy and healthy note!