Holidays are upon us. How much weight do you usually gain over the holidays?

The average person takes on eight pounds over the two weeks. That’s an excess intake of 28,000 calories.

Think about it: that is almost 50 Big Macs or 200 shortbread cookies! That will take more than 60 hours for a 150-lb person to burn off, walking at 3.5 miles per hour.

In other words, that’s a lot of calories to have to burn off in January. Instead of setting ourselves up for that, let’s use some tools to avoid gaining those unwanted pounds in the first place.

Rule 1: Move every day. If you have days off over the holidays, then this should mean more time to exercise, not less.

I look forward to holidays because it means my workouts aren’t rushed. Go for a walk or hike in the snow, play on the sliding hill with your kids, or take the time to get in an extra workout at the gym.

Use the time you have to move and therefore increase your energy.

Rule 2: You don’t “deserve” those extra cookies. Be careful you don’t fall into the trap of “deserving” the extra treats.

I know, you work hard all year. You are a superhero in your family members’ lives.

Just know that those extra treats will still put on extra pounds no matter how deserving you are.

Rule 3: Practise moderation. I am not saying you are not allowed any treats over the holidays, but be sure to practise moderation. If you think about the calories as 200 shortbread cookies, you can see that’s not moderation.

Try enjoying a few cookies a week, or one or two eggnogs a week, not five a night.

Rule 4: Burn off more than you can chew.

If you indulge one night, say on Christmas Day, get up the next morning no matter how tired you are and get your body moving.

Burn off those extra calories, sweat out the wine and use those extra carbs being stored in your cells.

Rule 5: Don’t go it alone. Get a friend or partner or trainer to help motivate you to get out of the house.

Set up days and times now to keep each other accountable and motivated.

Remind each other of the goals you set to stay active over the holidays and make sure you both stick to it.

Rule 6: Set goals. “This year I will not gain more than two pounds by January 1.”

Write it down. Be specific, make the goal measurable, make sure you have a time limit to your goal and be sure the goal is attainable. That way you should be able to track your progress and finish line.

Rule 7: Don’t beat yourself up along the way if you don’t stick to your plan.

Are you doing better than last year? Then that is moving one step forward. Work with that success and keep moving forward.

Rule 8: Don’t eat or drink to be polite. Try a small serving, say Thank You, comment on how it’s delicious and then savour it.

At a buffet, fill your plate with vegetables and take one small dessert.

Rule 9: Eat your veggies first. Fill up with fibre and you will feel fuller for longer. Plus you’ll be more satisfied with a smaller dinner and desert portion.

Rule 10: Enjoy your friends, family and extra time. Don’t rush through the holidays.

Take time to de-stress, not get more stressed. Keeping up with the Jones’s is not important – being there for the ones you love is what’s important.

Here’s wishing you Happy Healthy Holidays!

This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at www.mrsleerandell.com.