By Kim Duke, NETA & AAFA Certified Trainer

Well, it’s that time again – the holidays!  Time to eat, drink and be merry.  I am certainly not going to preach to my readers about what to eat or how much to drink.  But, what I will do is share some tips I have been trying to follow to avoid the inevitable holiday weight gain.

First, I have just started doing a new morning routine to jump-start my day and metabolism.  As soon as my feet hit the floor I do this series 2-3x through:

10 jumping jacks

10 squats, weightless, but deep, with my hands behind my head

10 push-ups

10 modified V sits     

Even though I train people all day long, a little extra activity first thing in the morning is a small change that can equal a big difference. Skipping your workouts during the holidays is something you do not want to do. So, squeezing in some form of exercise is better than doing nothing at all.

As far as watching my calories during the holidays, I will tell you I follow a few simple rules, like the leftover pies, cookies and cakes generally go in the garbage.  I give them a few days on the counter, but then they get tossed.  Sugar goes right to your gut, and if you need a snack, I would recommend anything other than a processed sugary one.

Also, I try and nibble on veggies before I dive into the cheese, and my goal is to drink a glass of wine, then water (out of my wine glass of course).   

Do not let the stress of the holidays end up adding to your waistline.  We’ve known for a long time that stress is connected to weight gain, because a high level of the stress hormone cortisol has been shown to up your appetite and can make it easier to accumulate belly fat.

So during this holiday season, be mindful and try to make good decisions. If you feel bloated, increase your water consumption and get moving.  Relax and enjoy your loved ones. Take deep breaths and smile. Enjoy the cooler weather and—when it’s available—the sunshine.  Stay warm and be cool and let the good times roll, because, like everything, this season will pass as quickly as it arrived.