Enjoying the many flavors, delicious dishes and delicacies of the holiday season is a double edge sword, but no puzzle to solve: it taste so good going down, but can be so difficult to burn off. Rich eggnog, mashed potatoes, ham with a sweet maple glaze and cornbread casserole; cake, fudge and pumpkin ice-cream (which only comes around once a year) and assortment of mint flavored cookies and rich appetizers are one of the biggest joys of the holiday season.

Admit it, it’s ok—you indulge during the holidays, and when it’s over, you’ve gained five pounds. When Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah and New Years’ have come and gone, how do you pick up where you left off? How do you not only continue with your previous exercise and diet routine, but find the motivation to make up for lost time? We’ve laid it out for you here, where you’ll find an easy guide to get back on the bandwagon, and steer clear of the holiday feasting until it rolls around next year.

From Water to Weight Loss

Are you the rule, or the exception to the rule, with the ‘rule’ being this: the average American gains anywhere from 5-12 pounds during the holiday season? Ouch. That’s a larger pant size! Even if you allow yourself some tempting fare (after all, Aunt Mae will scorn you if you pass up her famous peanut butter fudge!) commit to this healthy rule: for every treat you indulge in, make yourself drink a glass of ice cold water before you eat it, and immediately following it.

Water works by helping you keep the pounds down in two ways. First, studies have shown that ice cold water creates an opportunity to increase your metabolism. When you hydrate yourself before each sweet treat (before and after the holidays roll around), not only will you fill yourself up and decrease your hunger pains for that sweet tooth of yours, but you’ll flush out the sugar from your system. Motivation starts with feeling good about yourself, and keeping hydrated is one of the most effective ways to feel strong, develop a powerful mindset and keep your waistline slim and trim.

Getting Back to the Basics

After the holidays have come and gone, and you’re left feeling like your body needs a major detox from the heavy, rich and sweet foods you’ve digested, lay off the scale for a few weeks. Sure, it’s important to track your progress as you lose the holiday weight, but you don’t want to start off feeling frustrated and hopeless. Give yourself two weeks from say, January 1st of the New Year to get back to your old tricks – taking your favorite cardio class twice a week, indulging in a new activity to spice up your workouts, eating lean protein, fiber and fruits and vegetables; and staying as active as possible throughout the day. Your weight will begin to melt off quicker than you can say New Year’s Resolution! But be patient, and give yourself a fighting chance to lose the weight you gained. When your jeans feel a bit looser after the first few weeks, step on the scale, and begin to track your progress – but not without feeling proud of how much you’ve accomplish so far.