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It's holiday time, which means celebrating with family and friends is at the top of the list. So we loosen up and let loose, and I'm not just talking about our belts. And that can be dangerous for our diets.

According to a recent review article appearing in the journal "Nutrition," the more people present while dining, the greater the quantity of food each one consumed, with a caloric increase of as much as 76 percent per person when there were seven or more people at the table. So, to avoid packing on the pounds in the company of those you hold near and dear -- here are a few tips: Leave the table. If you're hosting the party, suggest leaving the dinner table right after the meal is finished. Go small. Using smaller plates and bowls will help with portion control. Watch out for food pushers. All of us know someone who is a food pusher. These are the people who are always telling you that you look great, and in fact, "You're getting too thin." Take it off. Don't bring big plates of food to the table. Sit in the right chair. Sit near the healthiest people in the room.

Avoid guilt. Keep your goals and desire to lose weight clear to avoid being sidetracked.

Indulge beforehand. Eat before you go out.

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