Mark that Thanksgiving calendar page in red — the annual holiday food binge is about to begin.

It’s that time of year when we subject ourselves to a weeks-long eating frenzy, followed by a relentless and punitive New Year’s resolution diet.

One local diet expert is hoping we can change our ways.

Lori Gardiner, a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, wants us to break the cycle of seasonal weight gain from holiday eating.

“The less you put on now, the less you have to take off in the New Year,” Gardiner says.

Author of “My Little Black Book For a Healthy Non Diet Lifestyle” a pocket-sized paperback containing 78 pages for behavior modification, tips for eating out, snacking, shopping and recipe modifications, Gardiner believes that everyone has what it takes to adapt to a healthy lifestyle.

“Proper planning is the key,” she says. “I believe anybody can do it with the right behavior modification and tools.”

Gardiner was the founder of a hospital-based bariatric program and has counseled overweight individuals for years in her private practice. She developed the little black book as a take-along guide for her clients.

“Every time I hear about a new diet fad I just cringe. You don’t have to buy a new gimmick or read a new diet book to lose weight,” she says.

The difference between those who are successful at weight management and those who are not, she says, is that the successful know how to get back to the plan after an eating streak.

“We all fail, and it’s human nature to eat too much every now and then. But your next thought should be, ‘OK, I splurged, so I’m going to be extra conscious of what I eat for the next few days,”’ she says.

Healthy lifestyle changes are never 100 percent perfect. The key is to be healthy most of the time and balance out the times when you are not, she advises.

Surprisingly, Gardiner is a proponent of splurges.

“There is a difference between splurging and binging. Binging is mindless eating, where there is no awareness of what you are eating or how much. With splurging, you have planned for it, you know you are doing it, you own it,” she says. “I tell my clients all the time, go ahead and splurge, but make sure you really LOVE it. Don’t waste your calories on something you don’t truly love.”

Splurging on dessert after dinner may mean you forgo the bread and butter and starchy entrée during the meal.

“Everything is a balance,” she says.

Gardiner’s “Little Black Book” is available at or