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You don't have to give up any of your holiday foods to avoid holiday weight gain. Here are ten ways to avoid weight gain without feeling deprived.
The holidays are a lousy time to try to lose weight. You can still manage not to gain weight, however, even while enjoying special holiday treats. Here are ten ideas that really work for avoiding weight gain during the holiday season.

6. Get enough light.

In much of the Northern Hemisphere, the weather in December is gloomy and dark. Many people develop mild or not-so-mild cases of seasonal affective disorder, a kind of depression that it is triggered by changes in the way the brain regulates the production of melatonin and serotonin with the changes in the seasons.

Most people who have seasonal affective disorder self-medicate—with sugar. Eating sugar makes it easier for the brain to absorb the amino acid tryptophan, which it uses to make the anti-depressant neurochemical serotonin. The munchies can actually be your brain's cry for more tryptophan.

Getting just 45 minutes of bright sunlight every morning may be enough to reset your brain so you don't get the munchies or carb cravings. If there is no sun in December where you live, two hours a day under artificial sunlight will also help.

7. Get enough sleep.

Every expert will tell you that you can't lose weight if you don't get sleep. Sometimes you can't avoid weight gain if you don't get enough sleep, either.

It takes at least six to seven hours of uninterrupted sleep for the brain to recycle the appetite regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin. If you don't get enough sleep, ghrelin will lower your threshold of pain unless you eat. Not eating becomes literally painful. It's almost impossible to avoid holiday weight gain if you don't get your zzz's every single night. Unfortunately, napping during the day won't compensate for lack of sleep at night.

8. Introduce sprints to your exercise routine.

Many clinical studies have found that sprinting increases the consumption of calories. You don't have to work all-out during your aerobic exercise routine to burn calories at the highest possible rate. You just have to work all-out about 15 seconds out of every minute, with 45 seconds of slower exercise between sprints. Make sure you have the cardiovascular fitness to do sprints before you change your exercise routine.

9. Treat yourself to bursts of flavor all day long.

We've posted articles about Sensa, the heavily advertised weight loss aid that is so popular in the United States. Sensa works by providing a burst of flavor every few hours to blunt appetite. Even if you don't use Sensa, however, you can get the same kind of benefit from sucking on a piece of hard candy every hour or so throughout the day.

At least one study has found that eating peppermint candy eight times a day also helped users control appetite enough to lose weight. Eating a peppermint or butterscotch candy every hour or two during the day might be enough to give you the willpower to keep from raiding the refrigerator for leftovers. Don't eat sugar-sweetened candies as an appetite control aid if you have diabetes.

10. Scrape your tongue.

We don't always smell our own bad breath. But we can usually taste it.

Bad breath masks pleasant odors from food. When we have bad breath, we want to eat more. Brushing and flossing gets rid of about 30% of all bad breath bacteria in the mouth, those that live on the surfaces of the teeth, and using an oral irrigation device like Water Pik or Hydrofloss gets rid of 30% more. The remaining 40% of the bad breath bacteria in the mouth, however, reside in a white or yellow film coating the tongue, and they have to be brushed or scraped away.

A good tongue scraping three times a week might not only make your breath fresher, it might help control your appetite. The objective of tongue scraping is just to clean bacteria off the tongue, not to remove any tissue from the tongue itself. A toothbrush or a stainless steel scraper will do. Just be sure to rinse either your brush or the scraper before setting it aside for the next use.