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Holiday weight gain is hard to avoid. It’s cold, we’re busy; mince pies, mulled wine and multi-course dinners are everywhere, not to mention the party nibbles and hangover breakfasts. In short, it is easy to put on a few pounds over the holidays. However, with these four steps it is possible to avoid holiday weight gain without abandoning the social circuit or sticking to carrot sticks. Here’s how.

Eat

The problem with gaining weight over the holidays is not that we eat too much, it’s that we eat too much of the wrong things (and then compensate by cutting back elsewhere). This year, make a rule that you eat three healthful meals a day. Think soup, chili, stews, veggie curries, rice and beans — anything that is filling and nutritious. When your body has everything it needs it won’t crave junk, meaning you’ll be able to have a few bites of this or that Christmas treat and not feel deprived.

Sleep

It isn’t just extra calories that trigger weight gain, it’s how our body processes the energy we put in. The best way to keep your hormones and metabolism on track is to be sure you have enough sleep. When you’re sleep deprived, your body tries to compensate in all kinds of ways, including increased appetite and fat storage. It can be tempting to burn the candle at both ends but making rest a priority will make you happier and healthier.

Yoga

Moving your body is essential. Right now it is so tempting to stay bundled up and hunker down. Don’t! Every single day you go to the studio is a different day than if you don’t. You will work, energize, cleanse, and align your body. Yoga will keep your digestion on track, your skin glowing, your muscles toned, and your mind at peace. If you absolutely can’t make it to a class do 20-30 minutes at home. You’ll feel the difference.

Repeat

Creating a routine is one of the best ways to get through the holidays with your waistline and sense of good cheer intact. Try to get the same amount of sleep every night (even if it’s a bit less than normal), go to the same number of yoga classes each week if possible and, of course, eat! You’ll be amazed how how good you feel come January.

Share your best tips for maintaining your weight during the holidays in the comments!