Cakes, cookies, pies…oh my! It’s that time of year when your willpower will be tested to extremes at parties and family get-togethers. The average person will gain 5-15 pounds during this food-filled season of eating. You can conquer the battle of holiday weight gain by following these simple tips:

1. Increase and intensify your cardiovascular activity. If you know your calorie intake is going to increase, then your workouts must also increase (to avoid weight gain). Add in some high intensity moves to your routine to boost your calorie burn (sprints, jumping jacks, stair running, jumping rope, squat jumps, split jumps, step-ups, mountain climbers, etc.). Increase your daily exercise time or add in extra workout days during the week. Pick activities that are a challenge for you (H.I.I.T. training, interval training, spinning, boot camp, etc.). Make a pact with yourself. If you’re going to eat the “goodie” then promise yourself to work it off that same day. This also makes you think before you eat. Is that 500+ calorie dessert worth your exercise efforts?
2. Strength train. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be (allowing you to burn more calories).
3. Move more to lose more! While in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, add more steps into your daily routine to help fight the battle of the bulge.
a) Park further away.
b) Walk around the house or march in place while you talk on the phone.
c) Exercise while watching television.
d) Carry your shopping bags in one bag at a time.
e) Workout on your lunch hour.
f) Take the stairs.
g) Involve your family in an after dinner exercise activity.
4. Snack before the party. There are always higher calorie foods at get-togethers. Instead of going to a party when you’re famished, have a healthy snack before you leave. Have a plan. Think ahead of time about the amount of food you feel good about consuming to stay within your calorie limits. If you’re going to eat sweets, pick a small one and really enjoy it. Or, share a dessert with someone. Don’t go overboard and view a party as a license to eat everything.
5. Host a “Healthy Holiday” party. Everyone struggles with temptations during the holidays. Alleviate the problem by throwing a healthy food party. Have your guests bring healthy, low-calorie dishes. Have recipe cards available for those who want to share their secrets. Offer a prize for best tasting!
6. Be mindful of liquid calories. One cup of eggnog contains 250 – 400+ calories ( Spike it with alcohol and you’ve got a drink that is as caloric as a meal! Soda, alcohol, fruit juices, cider, milk, hot chocolate, and your specialty coffee shop favorites all have calories. A great way to cut calories anytime of the year is to avoid/limit drinking these types of beverages.
7. Drink Water. You should drink half of what you weigh in ounces of water a day. Most of the population is dehydrated. Dehydration can cause false hunger signals. Carry your water with you throughout the day. At parties you’ll stay refreshed during conversations and have something else to put in your mouth besides food.
8. Socialize. Instead of focusing on food, focus on the people. Make a point to engage in conversation with each guest. You’ll be surprised what you might learn from other people. Maybe you’ll make a new friend. Plus, your mind will be off of the food table.
9. Have a contest. Buddy up with a friend, spouse, co-worker or relative and see who can either keep the most weight off during the holiday season or even lose weight. The winner gets a prize
(money, massage, trip to the spa, house cleaning, new outfit, etc.). Obviously, food should not be a prize option.
10. Don’t deprive yourself. Deprivation is the main reason diets don’t work. Everyone should be able to enjoy the foods they love. Anything is O.K. in moderation. But the word “moderation” is the key. If you are eating healthy 5- 6 days a week and exercising regularly you should be able to enjoy 1-2 cheat days a week without the worry of weight gain.

Remember, we are all human. If you get off track, get back on with a vengeance! Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to eat everything in sight! Most importantly, have fun and enjoy your family and friends during this special time of year!

Author's Bio: 

Wendy Stoll is a certified personal trainer with over 21 years of experience specializing in exercise and weight management program design for women. She travels to your home to make exercise as convenient as possible. Wendy can be reached at (517) 303-9413,,