It’s here, just look at the seasonal shelves in your favorite store. Retailers refer to this time as the holiday season, but I like to be more accurate. Weight Gain season starts now and runs straight through New Year’s and beyond if you let it.

The next few months are weight gain season and will bring ample opportunity for you to indulge, to enjoy and to expand your waistline. Of course the choice is yours.

Why do I bring this up now? Quite frankly now is the time for you to plan for the weeks ahead. Once the whirlwind of holiday activities and obligations begins, you’ll be too caught up to put a plan into action.

So in this moment of clarity, this calm before the storm, let’s outline a plan that will save you from weight gain season and all those unwanted holiday pounds.

1) Put Your Feet to the Fire: Exercise is the first thing to go when people get busy, and the holiday season is notorious for deserted gyms. This year do something drastic-obligate yourself to exercise. Promising to yourself isn’t enough, you need to promise to others so that you won’t drop the ball.

Commit to working with a fitness expert – the perfect solution for consistent, challenging and effective workouts. You’ll get the attention and assistance that you need to power through the holidays in better shape than ever – talk about motivating!

Join a class – we’ve determined that you simply won’t be as effective on your own during the busy holiday season, so joining a class would lend accountability. Stick with something challenging that gets your heart rate elevated and incorporates strength training.

Find a serious exercise buddy – some friends can be the biggest help while others end up pulling you down. When looking for an exercise buddy choose carefully and consider the following questions:

  • Do they share your fitness goals?
  • Are they typically encouraging?
  • Do they stick with things?
  • Are you at the same fitness level?

Get your girlfriend or spouse involved – what a great way to spend more time together during this busy weight gain season, and you’ll be able to support each other in your shared quest for fitness. Decide on an exercise activity that you can both enjoy and set a schedule for your workout dates.

2) Cut the Fat: I mean this literally. I’m not going to imply that you shouldn’t indulge in any seasonal treats, but think moderation. So often the holidays are used as an excuse to eat until the point of being uncomfortable – would you really miss that bloated feeling? Decide on a few fattening treats to cut out this year.

Do you really need to bring sweets for everyone in the office, especially since you know that you will end up with the leftovers? How about a fruit basket or flower arrangement?

At holiday parties load your plate first with greens, vegetables and lean meats before breads and heavier foods. Also drink water with your meal and keep alcoholic beverages to a minimum.

Watch what you drink, most beverages are filled to the brim with calories. Hot drinks from Starbucks, cocktails at parties and eggnog around a crackling fire-all very enjoyable and all filled with empty calories.

Thre is no other time in the year like weight gain season where we are faced with so many sweets. To avoid being a Scrooge, but without adding pounds to your frame, try the one treat rule. Each time you’re in a social situation that involves sweets just eat one, and enjoy your treat slowly.

If you truly want to enjoy the coming festivities without dealing with added pounds it is all in your hands. The key is your mindset.

Most people approach the weight gain season with the mindset that says ‘I deserve to indulge and I shouldn’t have to exercise since it’s the holidays.’ This is fine if you don’t mind entering 2009 a few pounds heavier, a little less healthy, and with lower energy than ever before.

I believe that you deserve better. I believe that you should enter 2009 in better shape than you are today, healthier than you’ve been in a long time, and with more energy that you thought possible.

I’m always available to help – visit my Casey George website to set up a fitness and consultation with me and I’ll show you how you can see a lot of change over the next few weeks.

Forget the Clock
How often do you check the clock while doing cardio? Doesn’t time crawl when you’re busy staring down those last ten minutes? Instead of focusing on every remaining second think of how great it feels to get into shape. Here’s a great way to enjoy cardio: load an enjoyable audio book onto your IPod – you may even end up doing a longer workout!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars
What a delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth. I found this great recipe a couple of months back on These homemade protein bars are quick to make, about 20 minutes from start to end, and they make a healthy on-the-go snack. You may want to make a double batch and store extras in the freezer. They are freaking awesome.

Servings: 8 bars
Here’s what you need…

  • 2 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup chocolate whey protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons organic peanut butter
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 tablespoons nonfat milk
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat an 8×8 pan with non-stick spray.

Mix the oats, protein powder and cinnamon. Add peanut butter and stir until well combined. Add egg whites, bananas, honey and milk.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting into 8 bars.

Nutritional Analysis: One bar equals: 185 calories, 4g fat, 27g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, and 11g protein.