The holiday season is challenging for everyone to stay on track with weight loss and healthy habits. From Thanksgiving straight through as the new year rings in, tis the season for parties, food and drinks galore. The average person will pack on 15+ pounds during the holiday season. Don’t let this be you by following these simple steps and ring in the new year the same size (or less)!

1. Exercise in the morning: Research shows that when you exercise in the morning you will move more during the day and will have fewer cravings for high-fat fare.

2. Avoid Banking Calories: When people try to cut back on calories during the day to indulge at night it only backfires leading to higher calories choices. Be sure to have 3 healthy meals during the day and be sure to include lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean protein.

3. Don’t pass on desert: Saying “I can’t have” or “no” to desert can lead to binge eating. Follow a three bite rule with desert and enjoy!

4. Avoid left overs: If you are hosting friends and family, be sure to divide up the leftovers and send home with your guests.

5. Drum Up Willpower: According to research at Tufts University, before you give in to temptation to over indulge, try this simple trick: Place the thumb and fingers of one hand on your forehand, a half inch apart. Tap each finger one at a time, once per second, telling yourself, “Hold on.” Wait 15-20 minutes and the craving will disappear.

6. Moderation: Browse the buffet before you fill your plate to avoid foods you don’t really want, suggests obesity expert Tim Church, MD, a professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University. “If you pick the stuff you really want and have it in moderation,” Dr. Church notes, “you’ll stave off those cravings that can get you in trouble later on.”