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Beat the Bulge- Holiday Must Do Tips

Did you know the average weight gain is only 1-2 lbs. over the 7-week holiday? So what’s the problem with an extra pound? The problem is, a year later, the vast majority of us have not removed that pound. Continue this pattern over 30 or 40 holiday seasons and the problem becomes—quite literally—huge.

So how are we supposed to get through the holidays without gaining weight? Here are eight effective ways to get yourself ready to beat the holiday bulge.

Buy clothes that fit right now. A new addition to your wardrobe in a size that shows off your summer body can be all you need to prevent those extra pounds from creeping on. So before you begin the festivities, go buy yourself something perfect to wear to your parties and hang it someplace visible, so it serves as a constant reminder.

Write it down. The truth is, if we would write down the not-so-perfect meals and treats, we could find a way to compensate for them, at least a bit. For example, you have a peppermint brownie in the break room at work, which you know is carbohydrates and fat. Eat one less portion of carbohydrate and one less portion of fat for your dinner. It’s not ideal, but it’ll help. Or perhaps you couldn’t resist Mom’s homemade scones for breakfast. You could plan on an extra 20 or 30 minutes of your workout tonight. The point is, if we write it down, and do the math, we can lessen the damage.

Keep exercising. One of my slowest times of year is between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. I get lots of cancellations or conflicts with parties or holiday to-do lists. It’s hard to remain balanced when you have a million things to do and gifts to buy. Yet the greatest gift you can give yourself is to stay focused on your fitness goals and get your workout in.

Eat before parties. Most holiday parties don’t focus on low-fat, low-calorie refreshments, so unless you’re organizing the event, the best damage control is to show up with a full tummy. You’ll be a lot less likely to swim in mayonnaise dips and pigs in blankets if you’re full.

Get junk out of the house. The majority of people don’t get into their car at midnight, drive to the store, buy the ingredients for cookies, bake them, and then stay up to eat them. But if those homemade cookies are already on your kitchen counter, you better believe you’ll find a way to justify it. The secret is to get the garbage out of the house. Send it to work with your significant other, donate it to a bake sale, re-gift it to your 100-pound friend with the perfect metabolism, or just dump it in the trash.

Choose wisely and proportionally. Something occurs during a holiday meal. It’s like a Las Vegas buffet—we feel like we have to eat some of everything. We feel almost like those foods will never exist again, and this is our last meal on the planet. This year, why not try to eat only your favorites, as in two or three items, and keep the portions to the size of your palm? If you’re still hungry, try to fill up on veggies.

Don’t beat yourself up. We can only do our very best. Mentally beating yourself up will only make you feel worse, which never helped anyone get back to their fitness program. So if you happen to gain that 1 extra pound this holiday season, be part of the rare group who actually follows through with their New Year’s resolution and manages to shed it again.