DEAR HARRIETTE: The holiday season is here, and I am excited that I have lost 30 pounds since August. I have cut out a major amount of sweets and white bread from my diet. I am looking forward to eating all of the delicious food that makes the holiday season special, but I am afraid that I will overeat and lose all momentum in regards to my weight loss. How can I enjoy the delicious food and watch my weight at the same time? -- Mr. Big Stuff, Queens, N.Y.
DEAR MR. BIG STUFF: Congratulations on your weight loss. Clearly, you have been vigilant and disciplined in order to lose so much weight. The easiest way to stay the course is to continue to eat in the exact same way you have for the past few months. Do not deviate from your course of eating just because it is the holidays. Resist the breads, cakes and other sweets that have derailed you in the first place. Just don't eat them.
As it relates to other calorie-rich food, eat them in very small amounts. That way, you can taste some of the holiday special dishes without eating too much. Another idea is to use a salad plate or a cake plate rather than a full dinner-sized plate. This will help you to eat less.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My job requires me to give presentations on a regular basis. I can handle creating the presentations, but I am scared of speaking in front of people. When I stand in front of a large group of people, I see clown faces, and I am scared of clowns. Can you offer some advice on how I can overcome my fear of speaking in front of a group of people? -- Deer in Headlights, Memphis, Tenn.
DEAR DEER IN HEADLIGHTS: Practice helps ease most fears. You can practice in front of a mirror to get more comfortable with presenting. Practice in front of family members or friends.
Here are some tips that have helped me a lot for public speaking: Before you begin to speak, plant your feet firmly on the ground, hip-width apart. Look to your near left, and then look along the edges of the room from left to right. Make eye contact with the people you see, and smile at them. Continue taking in the people in the audience going from left to right quickly until you reach the first row of people. Remember to breathe as you are doing this. This should take only a few seconds. When you are finished, welcome the group and begin your presentation.
If your presentation is ready and you feel confident with the content, using centering tips will help you a lot. If you feel you need more help, consider joining Toastmasters. They can help you overcome your fear of speaking and master any room.