7 Easy Ways to Not Gain Weight This Holiday

by QuickieChick Laurel House
TurkeyFact: The average person eats almost 5,000 calories on Thanksgiving. That includes the 3000 calorie turkey feast, plus other meals and noshes throughout the day. That's over 2 days worth of calories.

Fact: Eating an excess of 3500 calories (that means 3500 calories more than what your body can burn) equals 1 pound of fat. The average woman naturally burns 1700 calories and the average man burns 2,000 calories everyday without exercising. That's called metabolism. Those are the calories needed to function. So if you're eating 5000 calories in one day- 3000 calories beyond your daily need of 2000, that's almost a 1 pound weight gain in 1 day.

Yet somehow, in the end, studies show that the average person gains just 1 pound total over the holiday season. And while that is obviously not a number that carries enough weight to derail your holiday joy, forcing you to opt for only a sliver of white meat turkey, a tablespoon of stuffing, and passing on the pie all together, you should know that that 1 pound tends to stick… for good. SO, imagine that you gain just 1 pound every year for 30 years. Add it up and that's a 30 pound weight gain. That favorite holiday dress you like to don year in and year out, not going to fit for long.

Here's the good news: you don't have to gain even that 1 pound at all. I'm not about to suggest that you starve yourself of holiday joy (of eating), because we all know that you're going to likely stuff your face anyway. Just try to make smart choices on what and when to gorge. And try these 7 ways to not gain a pound this holiday season:

1. Lighten Up.
Choosing white meat turkey instead of dark makes a difference. One serving of white meat is 114 calories and almost low fat, while the same dark meat slice serves up 200 calories plus double the saturated fat. Skip the skin! Sure it's crunchy and tasty, but it's also pretty much pure fat. If you truly can't resist, opt for two bites of skin with your meat- the first and the last.

2. Water Down Your Own Drinks!
Drinking makes you lose self-control. When ordering a cocktail, it is best to order a watered down Greyhound Vodka, fat burning grapefruit, and lots of soda water. The more calorie-free liquid you have, the fuller you are and the less alcohol you order

3. Workout First.
Workout before dinner by taking a brisk 20 minute walk OR 100 Jumping Jacks, then workout while you're getting ready to go out! You want to boost up your metabolism before you go out so do a few moves while you're getting ready.

4. Serve Simple Healthy Hor'Dourves.
Forget Chips and Dip, Pigs in a Blanket, or mini-Quiche! The last thing you want to do is fill up on fatty snacks when the entire point of the meal is the main course! If you must have a nibble before you gobble down the feast, serve something that will take you no time to prepare and won't cut into your calorie bank either. The cold nachos with the new tortilla popchips (which have 0 grams of trans fat, are made with stoneground corn masa, and half the fat of regular flavored tortilla chips) is easy and ideal.

5. Eat Bites with Benefits.
There are lots of bites with benefits for fat burning! Ex: Spicy peppers and ginger are "hot herbs" that help increase the body's metabolism, citrus fruits like grapefruit help to break down and flush out fats, and fat free yogurt has been shown to discourage the absorption of fat. READ: Fat Burning Foods Shopping List

6. Think Before You Eat.
Are putting that forkful of pecan pie in your mouth because you're hungry, or because you're bored/lonely/sad/angry? Avoiding emotional eating can save you from gorging on 100s, even 1000s or calories each day.

7. Don't be Defeatist.
So what if you ate too much during one meal. Doesn't mean that you've "already ruined your diet so you may as well go all the way!" If your child fell down would you tell her that she may as well not get up? No! If you eat too much during one meal, do your best to be better during the next, and maybe sneak in an additional quickie 15-minute workout or suggest a group walk post dinner.

In the end, it's not the big holiday dinner that's going to balloon you. Just like eating just celery for a day isn't going to suddenly make you skinny. It's the daily, ongoing decisions. Sure, splurge on Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas if you want to. DON'T splurge during the holidays- as in every day during the holidays. When you do splurge, enjoy every bite of holiday dinner tastiness. I know I will.

Leftover pumpkin? Try these delish Pumpkin Protein Pancakes for breakfast!

Laurel House is a healthy lifestyle author, personal trainer, and nationally recognized print and online magazine writer covering travel, relationships, healthy food and fitness (Women's Health, First for Women, Men's Journal, Yahoo! Shine, Elegant Bride, Fit, Spa, Fit Yoga, Playboy, Elite Traveler, etc). Beyond writing, Laurel has appeared as a expert on television morning shows including E! News, Weekend TODAY, The Daily Buzz, Better.TV, KTLA Morning News, CBS, Fox, NBC, and ABC Morning News shows both locally and nationally, and her YouTube videos have received over 9 million views. Her 4th book "QuickieChick's Cheat Sheet to Life, Love, Food, Fitness, Fashion and Finance on a Less than Fabulous Budget" (St. Martin's, May 2012).