3 slim-down secrets from "The Biggest Loser: Families"

Worried about holiday weight gain? I recently hung out with a few of the contestants from this season's "The Biggest Loser: Families" and want to share some of their tricks so you can enjoy yourself, your loved ones and even Grandma's famous stuffing without regret or family meltdowns-and still fit into your favorite jeans on January 1:

1. Share the love, not the food
Think about why you enjoy your family's company: Do they make you laugh? Feel safe from the big bad world? Food is how many families bond, but it's not the only way to foster closeness. Instead of grazing on cookies all day out of boredom, inertia, or to tame tension, do something physical. Walking works, but a backyard game of horseshoes (if it's warm enough) or basement Ping-Pong does the trick too. How does your city rank for walking? See if your city is in the top 10.

2. Confront resistance-gently

Be sensitive but honest and let everyone know ahead of time that you're trying not to gain any weight between now and New Year's, so if you forgo seconds or something altogether it's not personal. In fact, tell them to speak up if they witness a lapse-this will make them feel like they're helping (if, of course, you can stomach the idea of Great Aunt Gertie chiming in if you reach for a second piece of pie). Learn how to break your bad habits today.

3. Make new traditions
Culinary symbolism runs deep during the holidays, and many of us don't feel like the season is complete without a taste of all our childhood favorites. But do you really need three types of potatoes, four different pies plus an after-dinner platter of cookies with coffee? Single out what really means the most to everyone (the sage stuffing at Thanksgiving, or the lobster bisque Christmas Eve) and then serve healthier sides. Test your portion control smarts and learn the no-fail weight loss trick.

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