Enjoy the Holidays, Still Lose Weight: 3 Tactics That Work

You don't have to resign yourself to gaining weight over the holidays — and you don't have to feel deprived either. If you implement one of these weight-loss tips over the next few months, you'll be able to keep up a healthy weight without any unnecessary struggle.

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Eat Carbs in the A.M.

Many people ask The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper if they should be cutting carbs entirely when trying to lose weight. You'll be glad to know that he completely disagrees, since "your body needs carbs for fuel." His advice? Front-load your carbohydrates: the largest meal (higher in carbohydrates) of the day should be breakfast, and the rest of your meals should be "trending smaller as the day goes on." The hope is when you eat carbs earlier in the day, "you'll know you'll have time to burn them off" with exercise later on.

Vegan Before Dinner

When you cut out dairy and meat from the majority of your meals, you're naturally reducing the calorie and fat counts without having to overanalyze every ingredient. That's why Mark Bittman's vegan-before-dinner, "Flexitarian" diet works. If you eat balanced, vegan meals with tons of veggies, fruits, and grains for breakfast and lunch, after 6 p.m., you can enjoy your favorite recipes — in moderation, of course. This plan also leaves you some wiggle room when fun holiday plans roll around. If you're eating clean all day and getting in a workout, there's no reason you can't enjoy a special meal at night.

The 80/20 Rule

For the space to go out socially and enjoy a special meal (or a cocktail!) with friends over the holidays, follow the 80/20 rule. The breakdown is simple: 80 percent of the time you focus on eating clean, good-for-you foods, and 20 percent of the time, you have the freedom to indulge as you please. If you eat three square meals a day, three of those meals every week are your 20 percent cheat meals — plenty of room for a special holiday brunch or the classic Thanksgiving dinner.