Worried about overindulging this festive season? Here are some valuable tips from experts on how to avoid overeating and prevent weight gain while still enjoying the holiday festivities.

Will restrictive eating work?

It is not easy to completely avoid the special delicacies served during the holiday season. And, even if one restricts them, can they help?

According to Bonnie Taub-Dix, a registered dietitian from Long Island, a restrictive diet during holidays often leads to binge eating afterward. She recommends enjoying the uniqueness of this time of the year while being mindful of the portions.

"After counseling thousands of clients over the years, I have found that those who allow themselves to enjoy the beauty of the holidays along with all that it brings, feel the best once the New Year arrives. Restrictive dieting often leads to bingeing afterward, keeping you from being a part of the festivities and feeling guilty in the long run," Taub-Dix told Medical Daily.

"It's best to enjoy the uniqueness of this time of year by choosing smaller portions of your favorite foods and beverages, like eggnog. Don't skip meals to 'save up' for a big dinner and have a light but valuable snack before going to parties (like Greek yogurt and fruit). Be mindful of how you're physically feeling, and be sure to drink a tall glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume. It also could help to not sit right near the buffet table!" she explained.

Kelly Schmidt, a registered dietician and health coach from Columbus, Ohio, says restriction may not work for long, so the key is to be calorie aware.

"Restriction doesn't often get us very far, but knowing what your goals are, visualizing how you want to enjoy a gathering, and being calorie-aware, can be very helpful. A small plate of some cheese, meats and almonds can QUICKLY add up to 700-1,000 calories," Schmidt said.

"Eat mindfully and slowly and be aware of portion sizes instead of total avoidance of foods that are unique and reflective of the holiday season. Sampling instead of over-indulging in your favorite foods will keep you from feeling deprived and different than everyone else. If you are able to eat less of highly sugary foods and beverages (like drinking a glass of wine instead of a dacari) and limit those candy canes and Christmas cookies...you'll still get to enjoy the spirit of the season without making any weight loss resolutions that usually get ditched before Valentine's Day!" Taub-Dix added.

Stay active during holidays

Holidays should not be a reason to quit all forms of physical activity and exercise, Schmidt said. However, one should aim to keep it simple and realistic, taking every chance to stay active amid the festive indulgences.

"Take it outside! Keep it realistic. Focus on simple. Movement is often the most impactful domino for good habits for the day, but maybe, during the holidays, what you do is adjusted to fit. Instead of racing to the studio, do a 20-minute home workout. Instead of running at the gym, bundle up and get outside. And, instead of a holiday dinner with the girls, go for a hike. Alcohol, happy hours and indulgences will be abundant, but reach for the opportunity to make a gathering active where you see fit," Schmidt explained.

Staying active is important but do not take it as a weight loss tool.

"It's fun to take advantage of winter sports like sledding, just playing in the snow, or going for a walk with friends or relatives you may not see as much during the year. Keeping active aids digestion, prevents constipation and helps you feel more agile and awake. Take the time to appreciate your surroundings and take advantage of spending time with others whether it's socializing at a gathering or going for a chilly winter walk," Taub-Dix said.

Why is hydration important?

Drinking lots of water is essential at all times, particularly, during holidays when there is a lot of eating out and salt consumption. However, most often people do not realize they are dehydrated.

"Drinking a no-calorie beverage before a meal might also save you lots of calories since many of us mistake thirst for hunger. Try adding fresh-cut watermelon, oranges or other fruit to water ahead of time for a hint of natural sweetness. Proper hydration also helps curtail constipation, aids digestion, prevents headaches, protects skin, and helps you perform your best when exercising," said Taub-Dix.

"Not only does hydration help our blood sugars be more stable, but being properly hydrated allows our thinking to be more fluid, and it supports a good mood! December isn't exactly the most chill month/season, and the more even-keeled we are, the steadier our blood sugars, and the less impulsive we will be with food," Schmidt cautioned.

Manage stress

Holiday weight gain may not essentially be from overeating. There are various other factors such as lack of proper sleep, routine and stress that contribute to the added pounds.

"Weight gain isn't always what we are eating, it can be what is eating you. Such as the stress of finding the right gift, pleasing friends or family members with plans, etc. Have boundaries, have alcohol, and treat 'guardrails' that help you stick to a limit, hydrate, sleep, and consume quality protein at each meal. Above all, focus on making golden memories," Schmidt said.

"Don't allow the joy of socializing with friends over the holidays to overtake your thoughts. Keep things simple, and major in the major goals of being adequately hydrated, nurturing your sleep (even if that means, missing your 6 am weekly workout), and opting for lean protein sources. And! Always offer to bring something that you know will suit your health goals," the health coach added.