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How to Not Gain a Sh*t Ton of Weight This Holiday Season, According to the Pros

Place Nothing Off-Limits

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"Yes, I realize this is counter to most of the advice out there. But for the mindful and intuitive eating approach to work, you have to truly allow yourself to have whatever you want, and without guilt. When a food is off-limits, it becomes much more appealing. And if guilt is involved and you do end up eating that food, the 'screw it, I’ve already had a bite and ruined everything so I’m going to eat the entire party and have a thousand cocktails' mentality appears. Give yourself permission to get pleasure from food. It’s okay! Food is supposed to be fun, not stressful. Remember?" —Anne Mauney, R.D., Fannetastic Food

Photo: Corbis Images

Drink Green Tea

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"Immediately after eating, follow your meal with organic hot green tea (plain with no milk or sugar). Hot liquids after meals are proven to prevent or slow fat from congealing in your stomach, making it easier to burn calories—plus, green tea is a natural fat fighter. The days following big meals are the most dangerous because everything tastes better the next day. Buy small lunch containers and mix one small portion of leftovers with two handfuls of leafy greens. Weekly meal prep sorted!" —Jay D. DantzlerYG Studios trainer

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Protein First

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"Alcohol, simple carb appetizers, and sweets can all increase your hunger—more so if you have them on an empty stomach—so go for lean protein first at holidays parties (think shrimp cocktail or chicken satay) and aim to have three to four ounces of protein at all meals." —Caroline Cederquist, M.D., founder of national diet delivery program bistroMD and author of The M.D. Factor Diet

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Crush Your Workouts Early

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"Those holiday day pounds will creep up and hit you quicker than Holly Holm did Ronda Rousey. So my wife and I pre-plan our workouts for holidays and crush them early. Around the holidays, I move away from my traditional strength and conditioning workouts to focus more on unconventional and high-intensity workouts. I like to get my heart rate up and raise my metabolism dramatically, as elevating your metabolic rate is the key to burning body fat. And if you get those workouts in as early as possible, you'll continue to burn fat far into your day!" —Troy Brooks, YG Studios trainer

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Make a Shake

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"Don’t show up to dinner or a party hungry. I recommend my clients make a shake containing unsweetened almond milk, half a banana, and one tablespoon of almond butter. Drink this one hour before dinner; it will help curb cravings and prevent overindulging. To cut down on calories, use a smaller 8-ounce glass for your shake instead of a bigger one. You should also try to eat your food on a smaller plate. This is one of the best ways to prevent overeating. Plus, a smaller plate will make you walk up and down off your seat to get seconds (healthy options, of course) and that way you can even fit in a squat or two in the process!" —Viveca Jensen, founder of Piloxing

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Squeeze in Some Quickie Moves

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"When everything is prepped and you're waiting for the oven to pre-heat, squeeze in a few full-body moves—my favorites are a wide second-position pulse using the kitchen counter, a 60-second plank hold, tricep dips, and glute bridges. Be a catalyst for the family and instead of indulging in dessert immediately following dinner, take a brisk walk or even challenge your siblings and extended family to a burpee challenge (my favorite)." —Jillian Lorenz, co-founder of The Barre Code 

Keep a Food Journal

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"Honestly, I tell my patients on the actual holiday to eat whatever they want! It’s just a day, right? It’s all the days surrounding the holidays that I am concerned about. It might be an added chore at this busy time of year, but writing down everything you are putting in your mouth can help keep you accountable. For example, if it’s only Wednesday and you’ve already recorded one too many cocktails or sweets, perhaps you might considering toning it down a bit for the weekend." —Keri Gans, R.D.N., author of The Small Change Diet

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Get In Your Steps

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"Move your butt! I give all my clients a Fitbit and make sure they keep hitting their step goals each day (10K for some, 14K for others). If you’re heading to a holiday party, park your car a couple blocks away and savor those extra steps!" Harley Pasternak, celebrity trainer

Photo: Fitbit

Show Gratitute

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"In a season of gratitude, before you eat really take a look at the meal in front of you and give thanks. This peaceful practice will help keep you present and aware of what you choose to eat, or not to eat, while blessing your food with love. If you feel guilty, stressed or anxious about eating a piece of cake, you are feeding your body with that energy. Stop counting calories and simply practice mindfulness." —Sharon Aluma, creator of Organic Vinyasa Yoga

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Just Do Something

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"When it comes to working out over the holidays, I just do something. Something is better than nothing. Just be active. There may not be a gym. You may not have a car. It may be cold. There are a thousand excuses during the holiday, but know that none of these excuses will change your body. So, ditch the holiday excuses and go for a quick run, walk, jog, hike, do push-ups, sit-ups, squats, lunges—all of these things you can almost anywhere and you only need your body." —Derek DeGrazio, celebrity trainer and managing partner of Barry’s Bootcamp Miami Beach

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Fuel Up

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"No matter what time your holiday meal is, always start with a high-protein and high-fiber breakfast. Having a substantial breakfast helps set you up for more control and less overeating throughout the rest of your day! Also, watch where you sit. Other people have an effect on your food choices, so sitting next your aunt who is a big food pusher isn't a good call. Be aware of the food pushers at your holiday meal and certainly don't sit near them." —Brooke Alpert, R.D., founder of B Nutritious and author of The Sugar Detox

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Limit Treats

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"Alcohol and desserts should be treated as they are—high-calorie, low-nutrition foods. I personally choose one or the other—wine instead of dessert with dinner, not both. It’s a choice and each meal has choices. And of course, the serving size of either shouldn't be larger than the protein and vegetables at dinner!" Sarah B. Krieger, R.D.

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Be In the Moment

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"Let friends and family keep you on track with a group activity, like going for a walk. It takes about 15 minutes to realize you're full, so eat slowly and focus more on getting lost in conversation than getting lost in a plate of food."—Joe Holder, health and fitness specialist for Nike and S10 Training 

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Pop Something Minty

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"One of my go-to tricks is to keep gum or mints in my pocket whether I'm heading to a holiday party that will have lots of indulgent hors d’oeuvres and bites or to a big family-style meal. Popping something minty into your mouth will alleviate the urge for second helpings and will keep you from mindless munching." —Joey Gonzalez, celebrity trainer and CEO of Barry's Bootcamp

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Stock Up On Fresh Fruit

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"While there will always be treats around during the holidays, I make sure that we’re also stocked up on colorful produce. If you keep those fruits washed and ready to go in a bowl on the counter, you’re much more likely to eat them. Also, when I do indulge in holiday treats, I make sure they are special, like a slice of German stollen, which reminds me of my mom, versus a bunch of sugar cookies, which look better than they taste." Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D., author of Eating in Color

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