Studies show that the average American puts on 1.5 to 2 pounds over the holiday season. That may not seem like much, but if you keep that weight on through January and the rest of the new year, the pounds can add up over the years. So, it’s better to avoid putting the extra weight on at all. That may seem difficult to do, with all of the festive gatherings and parties, but with a little advance planning and making avoiding weight gain a priority, it is possible! Here are some proven tips to help you get through the upcoming holiday season.

1. Make—and stick to—a plan
If you know you have a party or a dinner to attend, plan for it ahead of time. Cut back on your intake during the day, eating a light breakfast and lunch (or even fasting prior to your event). Make sure ahead of time that there will be foods at the party that fit with your diet plan. Offer to bring something that you know you’ll be able to eat. Decide ahead of time that no matter what, you won’t give in to temptations that will damage your diet…and your health. While taking in a few extra calories may not hurt you too much in the long run (calories are really not that important), eating processed foods filled with sugars and chemicals can set your health back and trigger cravings that will haunt you long after the holidays are over.

2. Stay Hydrated
Many people confuse thirst for hunger, so make sure to keep your body hydrated. Avoid the calorie-laden alcoholic beverages and sip on sparkling water with lemon slices. It’s a good idea to avoid alcohol in general at parties, since drinking can lower your inhibitions…which can lead to eating things you hadn’t planned on.

3. Stay Active
Get a workout in the morning of the holiday or the day of a party. You’ll feel better and more committed to keep feeling that way. Take a walk after dinner, either alone or with a family member you might not get to spend a lot of time with. You’ll come in for dessert feeling refreshed, not sluggish.

4. Eat Real Foods
Regardless of what type of diet plan you follow, it’s a good idea to eat as close to the source as possible. Give the green light to vegetables, meats, cheese, nuts, and fruits. If you’re not sure how foods were prepared (such as what oils they were cooked in), proceed with caution. And avoid anything that is processed or obviously filled with sugars and sauces you know aren’t healthy.

5. Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting can help people lose weight. If you’ve never tried it before, try incorporating a 16-hour fast the day before a holiday or a 24-hour fast the day after a holiday. It will give your body the chance to recuperate from the holiday feasting and help balance out the excess calories. Even skipping a meal or two the day before or after a holiday can help.