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The question: I have been on a really great eating and exercise rhythm this week. I am nervous because this weekend is a really big eating weekend. I have three major events. Do you have any tips on how I can maintain (or at least not derail) my good eating and exercise routine?

The answer: First, congratulate yourself on how well you did this past week! Note the habits that helped you succeed so you can replicate them in future weeks.

Ask yourself: Would any of the habits that worked well throughout the week also be helpful over the weekend?

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For example, I try never to go anywhere hungry. Whether it is to the grocery store, or to weekend functions, I know that if I am hungry, I am more likely to make bad food choices.

Be mindful of not only what you are putting in your mouth, but how quickly you are eating it. Try placing your cutlery down between bites so that your brain has time to register that you are full.

I also drink lots of water before and during any social event. Staying hydrated helps ensure I am not mistaking dehydration for hunger. Plus, drinking water gives me something to do with my hands so I don't inadvertently nibble.

When you go to a restaurant, preview the menu online beforehand. On arrival, don't look at a menu. Order your predetermined choice.

If the event is at someone's home, offer to bring something. This will ensure you have at least one healthy option.

As for exercise, the best workout for the time-crunched individual is intervals. Warm-up for five minutes on any cardio machine. For 10 minutes do the following: 30 seconds at your regular speed, 20 seconds at a slightly faster speed and 10 seconds fast. Cool down for five minutes. Remember that "fast" is always relative to your fitness level.

Trainer's tip: If you make less than ideal choices, don't beat yourself up! Instead of feeling guilty, take a moment to evaluate what went wrong and why. Learn from your choices so that you can make better, more informed decisions in the future.

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Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for 10 years. Her website is www.kathleentrotter.com.

Click here to submit your questions. Our Health Experts will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail website. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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