The No-Weight-Gain Holiday Guide

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Too much food and stress weighing you down? Here are 10 ways to sidestep temptation so you don't pack on pounds.

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The No-Weight-Gain Holiday Guide

6. Just say no. You may have to massage the truth to get out of parties or other events you don't want to attend, but it's worth it for the calories, time and stress you'll save. Can't skip an event altogether? Just drop by -- then scoot out! As for the endless invitations to eat, eat, eat, "recognize that what you put in your mouth is your business and nobody else's," psychologist Edward Abramson says. "The critical thing is to get your own thinking straight so that you know what's right for you."

If a flat out "no, thanks" to food doesn't work, try humor, Abramson says. "Something like 'Sorry, I'm allergic to that -- every time I eat it I break out in fat,' " should elicit a few understanding smiles. Also, with some people, the need to feed others is so ingrained that there's nothing you can do about it except smile, nod and pretend the food isn't on your plate. Your host will be so busy pushing food on other people that she probably won't notice you haven't touched what she served you.

7. Stay right where you are. Give yourself a present this year: Just try to maintain your weight through the holiday season. This is not the time to actively work on shedding pounds. "If you maintain your weight in November and December, then you've been successful," Janet Laubgross says.

8. Sit down -- and enjoy. Give everything you eat your complete attention. "Practice mindful eating," Cummings says. "If you eat something distractedly, it doesn't register." Even if you just want a single mini pumpkin pie, put it on a plate and sit down to eat it, Abramson says. Or if you're cooking for a holiday brunch, don't stand over the stove for taste tests. Again, use a plate and take a couple of minutes to savor what you're eating.

9. Avoid temptation traps. Toss leftovers and quickly re-gift food presents or pass them along to co-workers, a local shelter or a food bank. Your mother or Miss Manners might not approve, but we're making it official this year: It's OK to get rid of all holiday-food temptations.

10. Remember that exercise is not a license to eat. Feeling virtuous because you worked out before the party? Good for you. But if you think that gives you leeway to snarf down one of everything, you're fooling yourself. A 145-pound woman has to run a mile at 6 mph to burn 116 calories, but she can eat 116 calories in under a second, Brownell says.

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