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It’s not uncommon for the average American to put on a good four or five pounds over Christmas. Add Thanksgiving and New Year into the mix and it’s even more, but don’t let the holidays detail your diet.

If we’re just talking about Christmas day itself you might gain a pound of fat. While the scales on Boxing day might show you up six or seven pounds, this is mainly water and food weight, so your pound of fat loss doesn't seem such a big deal. But the holidays aren't just one day.

How much weight do you think you’ll put on over the holidays?

You’ve got the lead up to Christmas with parties, meals out with friends, family get togethers, work outings and general gluttony and sluggishness. For many people, the holiday season starts a few days before Thanksgiving, and runs until New Year. Then again, it’s highly likely you’ll still have plenty of holiday goodies left over that run you well into the first few weeks of the New Year.

Add all of that together, and you’re looking at a good 10 pounds of weight gain at the very least and even if you gave yourself some leeway and looked at a worst case scenario, 14 or 15 pounds isn’t out of the question.

How much weight did you lose this year and how quickly did you lose it? For most people, a healthy rate of weight loss is around one to two pounds per week, meaning it could take you up to three months to lose your holiday weight. Those Christmas treats aren’t looking so tempting now, are they?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to holiday eating.

There’s the people that I refer to as the “Screw it” crowd. They see that holidays only come once a year, think that going a little off the rails on the diet front won’t do any harm, and generally do as they please over Christmas, which basically means stuffing their faces.

Unfortunately, these people are the ones who try to justify the holidays as being “just one day” yet manage to turn one day of treats into a two month binge-fest. They’re also the people who generally don’t stick to their diet the rest of the year, and wonder why they’re in worse shape next January than they were the last one.

Then there are those who have a little more self control. They realize that sticking to a 100 percent clean diet over Christmas is probably slightly overkill, and that it’s a good chance to relax eating boundaries a little, have some foods they wouldn’t usually eat and enjoy themselves, while practicing moderation. These people are usually in great shape, have a very healthy relationship with food, and will start the New Year feeling invigorated, de-stressed and ready to give their all in the gym and in the kitchen for the next 12 months.

If you’re currently more of a category one person, you need to transition into category two ASAP. Not only will you get better results year round, you’ll have a better relationship with food, find social occasions involving eating much easier and not start the New Year feeling bloated, lethargic and demotivated.

To get you on your way, here are four really simple ways you can stick to your diet over the holiday.

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