The best piece of advice for any situation is to monitor calories, drink water, especially before meals, and don’t skip meals.

Part of the problem around the holidays can be a disruption of routines. If you are traveling, you get away from your usual workout and eating habits. If you are in a hotel or visiting family you can still exercise, whether it’s doing simple stair-stepping or taking a walk.

Most people usually gain only about a pound at the holidays, but over the years that can add up – if 15 holiday seasons end up equaling 15 extra pounds.

This is not the time to start a new eating plan or try to lose a lot of weight. But you can try to eat healthy, eat small meals rather than waiting for the big meal of the day, drink water and eats fruits and vegetables for snacks.

Other tricks are to take a smaller plate and choose just a couple appetizers or desserts to try, rather than trying everything that is out. Remember moderation and portion control and try to stay active.

You can also use substitutions in cooking; light dairy products or egg substitutes can make baked good healthier and still taste the same. See the CookingLight.com link above.

If you do overindulge, don’t think you have to get rid of all the calories in one shot, said Carl Mailhot, PT. To shed those few extra helpings, think long-term. Adding time to your regular aerobic workout is more effective than trying to stuff exercise in after the big meal. “Try adding one more workout during the week, if you only exercise two times a week, add another day; if you exercise three times a week, add a few minutes to your daily routine,” he said. “Injuries can occur if you try to do too much too soon.”

Also, just after a big meal is not the best time to go for a fast aerobic walk, because the stomach is receiving a higher percentage of blood for digestion and faster-paced walking can cause cramps. Save the brisk walk for the next day, if it is part of your routine.

“Overall, as you incorporate more exercise into your routine to offset the higher calorie intake during the holidays, use the 10% rule; don’t add more than 10% to your routine on a weekly basis. That means if you regularly do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per workout, don’t add more than three to five minutes to your routine,” he said. “Enjoy the holiday treat balanced with a healthy dose of calorie-burning activities spread throughout the season.”

You can call Carl for a direct-access consultation at the Killingly office at 860-779-0150.