The relationship between weight and chronic pain is well-established, with patients who are overweight or obese likely to suffer related back pain.

Watch: Video: 5 Overlooked Tips to Protect Your Lower Back

Of course, with Christmas just a week away, the holiday season is a time that many people put on a few extra pounds, which can be an issue of concern for not only chronic pain sufferers but pain-free individuals.

To better the chances of avoiding weight gain and related pain in the wake of Christmas parties and New Year’s celebrations, indulge in these helpful tips:

  1. Exaggerate Just How Negative Those Appetizers Are

    A recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research noted how playing a trick on the mind can help those people worried about weight gain avoid giving in to tempting food.

    According to the study, consumers with strong dieting goals exaggerated the amount of calories in the complementary cookies, which were then considered detrimental to weight loss and avoided.

    Now if you are concerned about what one or two handfuls of pigs in a blanket at your company Christmas party may do to your weight, simply overestimate how bad they are for you.

    If these tactics do not work, make a concerted effort to moderate your intake of unhealthy holiday appetizers and other fattening foods.

    For chronic suffers worried about not only weight gain but pain control around the holidays, see:

    How to Stop Your Pain with Your Mind

  2. Never Show Up to Christmas Parties Hungry

    Whether attending holiday parties involving family, friends or coworkers, the number-one cardinal sin is showing up hungry, which may cause you to overcompensate and stuff your face with delicious but unhealthy food.

    Rather, be sure to eat your normal three meals on the days of these big get-togethers. In fact, you may even want to have a healthy snack, such as fruit, prior to leaving for the party.

    For more information, see:

    Food for Thought: Diet and Nutrition for a Healthy Back.

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  1. Avoid Calories, Including Too Much Alcohol

    Avoiding foods that are high in calories is often a major goal of weight control.

    Sorry to burst the bubble, but this means alcohol as well, with the average alcoholic drink containing anywhere from 150-200 calories and just 2 or 3 drinks often equivalent to regular daily caloric intake levels.

    If you can, limit the alcohol or wine and drink plenty of water. Furthermore, try to fill up on healthy foods like carrot sticks, celery and other fruits, without having to dip them into dips, which are often high in calories.

    By filling up on healthy fruit and vegetable appetizers, you will be better prepared for a moderate meal at your holiday party than an all-you-can-eat (and drink) buffet.

    For more information, see:

    Lifestyle and Diet Tips for Healthy Bones.

  2. Exercise Daily Rather Than Waiting for January 1st

    A lot of people are resigned to the "fact" that they are going to gain weight during the holidays, and that there’s nothing they can do in the meantime.

    Don’t fall into this trap!

    If you exercise daily, try to boost your routines anywhere from 15-30 minutes extra during the holidays, which will allow you to compensate if you do tend to eat a little more than expected during this time of the year.

    If you are not a regular exerciser, today’s a perfect time to start. There are plenty of activities that you can do, from walking around the block in the morning to running on a home or gym treadmill to engaging in simple stretching exercises.

    Sure, your New Year’s resolution may involve getting more exercise to lose weight (and even reduce pain). But if you're like most people, New Year’s resolutions are meant to be broken.

    Why not put yourself ahead of the curve and start an exercise program before the New Year? Perhaps you’ll get into a groove and make exercising an everyday part of your life.

    For more information, see:

    Weight Loss and Exercise for Patients

    Exercise and Back Pain.

  3. Resist Being a Taste Sampler

    If you are cooking on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, avoid being a test taker.

    Testing out how all sorts of food taste can throw off your normal diet, and leave you hungrier than usual.

    In a similar light, simply attending holiday parties may leave you feeling as if you are a part-time food sampler.

    To avoid this potential trap, take your mind off food by having some fun (after all, that’s what parties are meant for). Engage in riveting conservation with a coworker. Dance with your significant other. Play with your younger cousins, or nieces and nephews (trust me, they’ll keep you active and likely have plenty of new Christmas gifts to show you).

With all that said, best wishes to you and yours on a safe and healthy holiday season.

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Nutrition, Diet and Weight Loss