Ah, the holidays! A time for giving and receiving, getting closer with the ones we love, and marking the end of another year, for better or for worse. While the stores may be packed to the doors and back, and traffic is enough to send even the jolliest of elves into a steaming fit of frustration, we tolerate it and even celebrate it because of the joys inherent in our festivities and traditions.Of course, one of those traditions, part and parcel with almost every celebration regardless of culture, is eating.We eat because the food is yummy and plentiful and because we believe that since it’s the holidays, calories don’t count this time of year. If only that was true!So, many of us eat our way through the holiday season, even as we plan to make “losing weight” one of our primary New Year’s resolutions. But of course this overindulgence only makes it harder on us when the New Year rolls around. Instead of having fifteen pounds to lose, we might have twenty or twenty five. And since studies show that most resolutions are smashed into pieces by mid-January, the chances are greater than ever that our holiday weight will simply remain a part of us long after the trees have come down and the presents have been discarded. So, is there really a foolproof way to stop this terrible cycle?It goes without saying that no decent strategy for weight loss (or even weight maintenance) was ever borne without a consistent and thorough plan. We don’t set out into the hordes of mass consumerism without some idea of what we’re going to buy for our friends and family, and we shouldn’t begin the holiday season without a strict plan of how we’re going to conquer the rise of the scale.With all of those cookies, candies, fudge, buffet-style dinners, delicious breakfasts, and never-ending snacks, we would be foolish to simply wing it. If you go in unprepared, you stand a much greater chance of failing before you even begin! Thankfully, it doesn’t take General Patton to create an easy and effective way to keep the pounds off, while still managing to enjoy the holiday season and a sampling of the foods that come along with it.