With the holidays upon us, we all know that we are going to soon be tested. We will be tempted by holiday goodies, and by our friends and families to indulge, to join “The Contest.”

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What is “The Contest?”

In America, “The Contest” is the annual ritual that takes place between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day—to see just how fat and sick we can get. And it is easy enough to be a winner, as all it takes is to blindly follow our instincts. Those instincts will consistently lead people astray—right into high-fat, high-sugar, unhealthy foods.

It can be useful to be mentally prepared to avoid “The Contest” by implementing my top two tips.

Tip #1: Eat something healthy before you go!

If you plan to visit friends and family, and you know that healthy foods will be scarce, it is perfectly fine to have a substantial healthy snack before you go. That way, even if you are tempted and boxed into a bit of an unhealthy situation, you are less likely to jump “whole hog” (so to speak) into “The Contest.”

Tip #2: Break a sweat!

There is nothing like a good workout to make you feel pride in yourself and respect your body. Even if you have been wobbling along for a week or two, you can snap out of it in a matter of 15 minutes with a sudden exercise attack. I’m always amazed at how this simple effort gives my self-discipline a booster shot.

I hope these ideas can give you a little lift if you need it. Remember, we don’t need to get through the holidays with a perfect score, but we also don’t want to win “The Contest.” A few little moves like these can sometimes make a big difference. Good luck!

This article was originally published on Dec. 18, 2012, and has been updated.

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