It’s not always easy to make good choices during the indulging season. But Sushchik recommends not depriving yourself entirely. “You have to treat yourself,” she recommends. “The worst thing you can do is feel guilty about what you eat.”

Snack smarter

Her advice? “Create guidelines that are going to work for you. Maybe it’s one treat per day at work. Maybe it’s one cookie, or maybe it’s three cookies. It comes down to a healthy level of self-awareness.”

In most American households, Thanksgiving is usually followed by a month-long preparation for Christmas involving sugar cookies, eggnog and peanut brittle. Before giving into temptation, Sushchik asks herself, “Is this going to blow my mind? Is this going to be totally worth it for me?”

Pound by pound

A 2013 study from Texas Tech University followed 48 men and 100 women for the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. At the beginning and end of the study, researchers measured the subjects’ weights and body fat percentages. On average, the volunteers gained one and a half pounds (men about two pounds each, and about a pound for the women).

'“You have to become a catalyst for movement and encourage your family to be active as well.”'

How does Zlata avoid holiday weight gain?

“You have to become a catalyst for movement and encourage your family to be active as well,” she says. “During the holidays, we tend to spend our time sitting around eating, but there are so many amazing things that we can do. Go to a tree lighting ceremony, do a 5K race or take your dog for a walk.”

Are you feeling gym-timidated? No worries — Zlata suggests starting slow. “Moving is the answer to everything,” she shares. “You don’t have to run 10 miles. If you just keep moving, you’ll be fine.”

Take time out

In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to forget the most important aspect of the season: yourself. In November and December, it’s easy to do more and sleep less. Sushchik recommends gifting yourself plenty of alone time.

“‘No’ is a complete sentence,” she declares. “If you don’t want to do something, don’t do it. Take time for yourself in the morning to drink tea and journal or meditate for five minutes. You’ll feel like a whole new person.”