It’s that time of the year again – time to eat, drink and be merry!  This sounds good until January 1st rolls around and you have to make a resolution to lose the extra pounds that you packed on during the holidays.

Well, I have some great news for you.  This year, you won’t have to go through this agonizing ritual because you’re simply not going to gain weight over the holidays.  These 5 simple steps can keep you from gaining even one extra pound!

Molly’s Five-Step Program

Step 1: Go to bed ½ hour early every night.

Thirty minutes may not sound like a big deal, but it adds up to an extra 3½ hours a week of restorative sleep for you. That’s 15½ more hours for the month!  A recent weight-loss study in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows exactly why sleep matters so much.

Researchers followed two groups who tried to – and did – lose weight.  But those who averaged only 5 hours of sleep per night lost muscle weight!  Their bodies held on to their fat reserves. This is harmful in so many ways, and it’s guaranteed to slow down your metabolism.

Step 2: Reduce stress.

To reduce the amount of stress you’re feeling, you need to first pinpoint what’s making you feel that way.  Write down the three things that cause you the most stress; then decide if they’re things you can control.  If any (or all) of them are, then devise a plan to change it (or them) to your liking.

Simply addressing these issues will make you feel good – and actually finding solutions for them will make you feel great.

Step 3: Tell yourself you’re not going to gain weight this holiday season.

It’s as simple as that.  You have to have the attitude that you will not gain weight.  Too many people believe they’ll gain weight during the last six weeks of the year, and so they act accordingly and eat more than usual. So don’t fall for it, and stay strong.

Step 4: Scale down your portions.

Since so many ‘holiday’ foods are calorie-dense, make a conscious effort to eat a little less than usual.  And never go to a party hungry, or you’ll eat more than you should.  Instead, eat a light, healthy snack beforehand so you don’t arrive feeling ravenous.

Step 5: Exercise!

This is the most important part of the equation because exercise is related to every other step.  Regular exercise has been proven to help you sleep better, reduce stress and improve self-esteem; and exercise encourages other healthy behaviors making you less likely to overindulge.

Finding the Time

Whatever you do, please don’t use the “I’m too busy” excuse to skip your exercise.  If your day is full, find an extra 10 minutes and go for a really brisk walk.  Or try these other ways to sneak in a workout during the holidays:

  • Go to a 30-minute exercise class offered at your local gym.  
  • Instead of going out to lunch with your best friend, suggest going to the gym together.  You can catch up while working out. And be sure to pick up something healthy to eat before you head back to work.
  • Pop in your favorite (or a brand-new) exercise DVD before you go to work.  If you only have 15-20 minutes, that’s fine. Just do it.
  • Jump rope!  It’s a great cardio workout, and it’s portable.  Keep it with you, and you’ll be amazed how often you can take advantage of it.

Congratulations on your commitment not to gain weight over the holidays this year.  Say it out loud, and follow these easy steps.  When January rolls around, you’ll be so happy you did.

Happy Holidays,


“Originally published in GO, GlobalFit’s online healthy living newsletter.”