The holidays are busy and loaded with yummy treats.  There are work functions, gatherings with friends, and family obligations.  It is easy to lose track of time and your workouts, overeat and even gain weight. The average American will gain about four pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  Year after year that adds up.

This year, fight the holiday backlash with these tips.

Keep It Moving

One of the best ways to keep weight off is to hit the weights.  Picking up a set of small hand weights or taking a Body Pump or Metabolic Effect style class will not only help your heart rate and muscle tone, but drop the pounds too.

Remember to stay active in between meals.  Now is the perfect time of year for a brisk post-meal walk with the family.  A morning walk on New Year’s Day is a good way to start the year.  Triathletes use the winter to take winter conditioning classes.  You can too by adding an indoor cycling or swim technique class to your weekly routine to keep you on track through the holidays.  Strength training and running mixed in also help.

Set a Goal

Setting a short-term fitness goal for either half-way through the holidays or for just after New Year will help you stay active, eat right and keep training.  Pick a race, find a way to bust through a workout plateau, start a new fitness class or join a new crew to work out with to keep you going despite the whirlwind of events.

Control What You Eat

Don’t go into chocolate lava cake meltdown.  You may think, “Just one more piece of pie.” There is no need to deprive yourself if you remember to take small portions and eat one thing you like instead of every dessert option or appetizer. Eat one, small rich dish and you’ll eat less than if you eat several, blander, foods.

Sharing with a friend or eating half of a serving is another good idea. And don’t skip meals to save up your calories.  Research indicates that individuals who skip meals have a 450 percent greater chance of being overweight or obese than those who don’t skip their meals.

Staying hydrated with plenty of water and eating lean, high-protein meals will help curb cravings.  Grab a handful of almonds to snack on or a cup of low fat yogurt or cottage cheese to keep hunger at bay. Avoid alcohol to not only cut calories but keep your thinking clear. You will be less likely to overeat if you aren’t drinking your calories.

Remember to live by the 80/20 rule as much as possible. Don’t deprive yourself or you risk going off the deep end.  Allow yourself to indulge 20 percent of the time and you reap 100 percent of the benefits both mentally and physically.