The holidays and coming and while you probably won’t gain the fabled fifteen pounds between November and the New Year, you’re likely to gain at least a few unless you have a plan. No plan yet? Never fear… your no fail, no weight gain holiday plan is here.

Get rid of guesswork

Put healthy eating on auto pilot. Choose three tasty, nutrient dense meals for breakfast and lunch. Mix and match these for the entire season. You’ll have less waste, less shopping and fewer food decisions to make. That means you will have more willpower at the party or buffet table where food decisions really count. Research shows that willpower wanes as we use it up during the day. Save yours so you aren’t too tempted by evening holiday treats.

Don’t skip meals
You are more likely to overeat when you skip meals. Instead, stick to the meal rotation plan mentioned above. Enjoy most meals in moderation. If you are going to have more calories than is typical for dinner, eat lunch but lower the calories. Include snacks like apples and Greek yogurt to tide you over.

photodune-3288270-thanksgiving-xsDivide your plate
Think of your plate as quarters and eighths. Use quarters for the “virtuous” selections. These are protein and fiber (both promote satiety so you feel full without overeating). Think lean meats, vegetables and whole grains. Use eighths for treats. These are special things like the cake Aunt Carol only makes for Thanksgiving. Too many treat choices? Narrow your selection by eliminating food treats you can get anytime. Save these for another day.
Pull out your scale
Weigh yourself and create a boundary. For example you may decide that you love your current weight and resolve not to gain. Or you may decide you have a little wiggle room and decide you can gain two pounds. Whatever you decide weigh yourself at least once each week to be sure you stay on track.

Place a summer photo where you can see it
Swimsuit season is not as far away as it seems. Remember with each bite you aren’t only eating for nourishment and enjoyment. You are also making the body you will have in the coming months and years.

Share your goals

Get a bet going with a buddy. The person that gains the least weight, or even no weight, during the holiday season is the winner. Challenge and encourage each other…its okay if you secretly hope to win.

Slow down
Take the time to savor each bite. Notice the taste and texture as you chew. Eating mindfully can actually help you enjoy food more and eat less. That’s because you are more likely to notice when you are full and satisfied.

Don’t forget to keep moving. Walk often, head to the gym whenever you can or swing the kettlebell at home when you have a few minutes on hand. The holiday season does not guarantee weight gain. Follow these tips and you may even lose a pound or two. Happy Holidays!