Now that the holiday season and its never-ending supply of parties and gift baskets is behind you, it’s time to get back to real life and drop the couple extra pounds you may have picked up along the way. So in the spirit of helping you to reach your goals and keep your resolutions, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite eating strategies for getting rid of that extra weight.

  1. Eat breakfast.Everyone says that it’s the most important meal of the day, and they’re right. If you don’t eat within 60 minutes of waking, your body goes into starvation mode and holds onto fat cells. Eat something low in sugar and high in protein to kick your metabolism into high gear for the whole day.
  2.  More meals.Break up your food throughout the day, rather than downing 1000 calories at a clip. More, smaller meals will keep your blood sugar within that sweet spot where your body is breaking down fat, rather than storing it for later, or worse, attacking muscle for a quicker source of energy.
  3.  Better portions.Ever wonder why French people are so skinny? On average, American portion sizes are 15%-20% more than European ones. So instead of finishing the bag or cleaning your plate, eat until you feel full and quit while you’re ahead. You can always eat more later when you’re hungry again.
  4. Plan ahead.Let’s face it, our biggest enemy to eating healthy is time. Try cooking in advance, preparing a whole week’s worth of food on Sunday. If you’re not that decisive, you can portion your different vegetables and only cook basic proteins and grains beforehand to turn into a variety of dishes later.
  5. Enjoy your food.Get a plate and silverware and sit down at a table. Chew slower. Actually pay attention to how good your food tastes. Simultaneously, you’ll eat less and also be giving your body time to recognize when it’s full. You’ll eat less, and who knows, you might even enjoy your meals more.
  6.  Snack first.Taking the kids for fast food? Got a work party to go to? Eat before you leave for any destination where you’re likely to overeat. You’ll be less hungry when you get there, so you’ll be more likely to make smarter choices.
  7. Satisfy the craving. If you deprive yourself of something you love, you’re more likely to binge later. Instead, give into it. Just be smarter about how you do it, like replacing soda with seltzer or an unsweetened ice tea. Swap candy for fruit or a granola bar. Or maybe eat the thing you want but only have a bite.

Ultimately, the more eating right feels like work, the less likely you are to stick with it. So set small goals that you can easily reach, don’t deprive yourself of the food you really want, and realize that whatever you’re doing is better than doing nothing. Good luck!