Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Volunteer to do the dishes. Studies show that the energy you
burn outside the gym (called "nonexercise activity thermogenesis," or
N.E.A.T., for you science buffs out there) can be greater than what you're burning
during your regimented exercise routines. You can raise your N.E.A.T. by simply staying on your feet and doing
some sort of activity - like helping out in the kitchen - instead of
heading right to the couch.

More From Marie Claire

Another reason to take a stand against weight gain: Sitting
shuts down your fat burners. After examining the muscle tissue of people being
active and of those kicking back, researchers concluded that parking your butt
switches off an enzyme that prevents fat storage. Keep in mind, you burn one more
calorie per minute when standing than when you are sitting.

After eating wait 2 hours, then go for a walk or run. It'll
help keep you out of the leftovers. In a recent San Diego State University
study, scientists found that that people who exercised after they ate
maintained lower hunger levels 5 hours longer than those who exercised before a
meal. Researchers haven't yet
pinned down the mechanism, but speculate that exercise may lower the
concentrations of a peptide-YY, a hormone that increases appetite. The study
participants worked out 2 to 3 hours after they ate. So plan accordingly. Your
relatives will flip when you bust out your running shoes!

Clip on some motivation. Turns out, simply wearing a
pedometer can make you more active. British researchers discovered that when
study participants wore pedometers and logged their daily steps in a journal,
they increased their activity level by 16 percent. A food diary works in the same way too. Start writing down
what you eat. It will freak you out when you step back and see the whole

Here's the best one and something I didn't know. You need to
get a good night's sleep. Just one night of poor shuteye makes you crave
fast food, reports a study from Baruch College, in New York City. The reason:
people just don't feel like cooking when they're tired and irritable. This one
sounds a bit cray but it could be true. ?? I sleep way too much and fast food grosses me out. Except on
a road trip.

Here's some more grossness: people who regularly consume two
fast-food meals weekly gain an extra 10 pounds over 15 years, compared with
those who eat more meals at home.

Start lifting weights for the holidays. Women who lift
weights shed 5 pounds more fat than women who don't pump iron. Why? Because
you'll increase the amount of metabolism-boosting muscle on your body. Remember lifting weights has been shown
to raise the rate your body burns fat for up to 39 hours after you work out.

And one final nibble to pass along: when you're out,
remember that some of the most calorie-laden items you'll consume during the
holidays are drinks.

What do you think?