Quick tips to keep off extra holiday pounds

by Kelsey Taylor

We all try our best not to gain weight during the holidays, but it can be difficult when you find yourself with four party invites and a hectic schedule of family get-togethers all involving the sweet treats of the season.

To top it off, your co-workers are in a baking frenzy and sending e-mails about cookies and fudge in the break room that "you just have to try." But before you put out your hand, arm yourself with these tip:

  • Choose just one of your co-workers' homemade cookies. If you allow yourself only one, you won't feel deprived.
  • Work out before going to parties. Knowing how hard it is to burn those calories will help prevent you from indulging.
  • Track your meals. Use a small notebook to log everything you eat and drink — everything!
  • Be a social butterfly. By engaging in conversations with others, you're less likely to wander to the food table. And remember not to stand near the snacks, which might entice you to eat while you talk.
  • Become the designated driver and avoid drinking your calories. If you decide to have drinks, avoid fruity or sweet ones. Have a glass of wine or gin and tonic so you spend more time sipping and less time chugging. Always follow your alcoholic beverages with a tall glass of water so you get fuller, faster.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff. If you gain a couple of pounds, you can always bounce back. Stay focused on your goal. You can't find happiness in holiday cookies or in the bottom of a wine glass. Instead, enjoy making memories with your friends and family, which is what this season is really all about.

Kelsey Taylor is an IFPA certified personal trainer, sports nutritionist and strength training instructor with more than 11 years of experience. For the past three years, she's worked at Angie's List as a wellness director/personal trainer for 400-plus employees.

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Drinking water during exercise will also help suppress appetite.

Exercise, if properly done, should not tire a person, but should give one more energy. I always have more energy after I exercise. Years ago, when I was much younger, I went night skying for several hours in the cold air, then went to a late night party with a lot of energy remaining. I was 40 yearso r more younger then, but I still have more energy after a proper workout, even when I had low testosterone.

As a Weight Watchers Lifetime Member for 23 years, I recognized many of the standard tips for maintaining one's weight over the holidays. However, I disagree with "work out before going to parties." Doing so can tire you out or work up an appetite; either way, you're likely to overindulge. I find that eating a small, healthy, filling snack -- such as a handfull of natural or lightly salted almonds or a banana -- before going to a party takes the edge off my appetite and helps me to manage my food intake.

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