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Jillian Michaels’ Simple Tips for Keeping Holiday Weight Off — Without Skipping All the Good Stuff

You’re probably already well into major prep-mode for your family’s Thanksgiving feast this year. Your pantry is stocked with all of the essentials, you’ve found the perfect bird to roast, and you’ve even managed to ward off any family drama over who gets custody of grandma’s recipes. But if you’ve spent the rest of the year working hard to shed pounds or simply maintain a healthy weight, you might also be stressing just how much those tasty treats will end up setting you back.

Luckily, fitness expert Jillian Michaels was happy to share her holiday diet advice in a recent Instagram post. “How can we stay healthy during the holidays? I get this question every October, November, December, for the past decade or so,” she explained before revealing her own technique. “Approach the holidays the same way you approach every day of your life.”

But wait, the holidays aren’t like every other day of our life — that’s part of what makes them so special! Don’t worry, Michaels isn’t saying you should skip out on all of your favorite treats in order to keep trim. Instead, it’s all about balance, so she recommends planning ahead to keep things in check.

“If you know you’re going to a party that night, go to the gym and do a HIIT [high-intensity interval training] workout to burn more calories,” she suggested. “We gotta move a little more. Go to the gym for extra time that week. Go a little harder when you’re there, add five or 10 extra minutes.” 

Michaels also addressed all the tempting food and drinks we’ll want to add to our celebrations. “Fair, but you can’t make everything a treat food,” she explained. To make sure things don’t get carried away — but you’re not depriving yourself of indulging now and then — she recommends the 80/20 approach. This means eating “good” 80 percent of the time and enjoying any less healthy options only 20 percent of the time. It’s the same method Cindy Crawford relies on to stay in supermodel shape, so there must be something to it!

As for things like wine and festive cocktails, “We have a couple of drinks, not 10,” Michaels warned. It’s about working those moments of splurging into your daily or weekly average goals. If you’re someone who uses calorie counting to keep track of your diet, that can mean eating more that your allotted amount one day and slightly less the next, plus working out a bit longer or harder. 

Like most fitness experts, Michaels doesn’t want holiday meals or really any other time you decide to go a little overboard to be thought of as a “cheat day,” but rather just one piece of an overall healthy puzzle you’re putting together on a daily basis. 

Now go ahead and fill your plate with your favorite holiday dishes without guilt. Just remember to balance it out!

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