width=150January 1st is just around the corner, but waiting for the New Year to start your weight loss plan could mean packing on an additional one to five poundsbefore the holiday season is over.

And, two things are going to happen to those extra pounds. Either your starting weight will be higher come New Year's Day. Or, those pounds will stay right there until next year's holiday extravaganza, when you'll pack on one to five more pounds.

But, you can stop the cycle today...

With just one small change every week, you can slow down your holiday weight gain, and set yourself up for permanent lifestyle changes, that will lead to lasting weight loss and physical fitness in 2010.

Here are some ideas:

1. Write it down: Pull out a notebook today and start writing down everything you eat -- good or bad, no cheating! Later, you can add calorie counts to your food journal if you want. But, writing down your meals and snacks will help keep overeating in check, and might even teach you what your trigger points are.

2. Add just five: Add five minutes of exercise to whatever you're already doing, even if whatever you're doing is nothing. Each week, tack on five more minutes, until you're up to 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week.

3. Substitute: Got a junk food habit or a sweet tooth? Try substituting just one daily indulgence with a fruit or a vegetable instead. Do the same with sugary sodas, by switching one drink a day to diet soda or flavored water. The goal is eventually to cut out sugary snacks and drinks altogether, however by reducing just one daily serving a week, the adjustment won't seem nearly so harsh.

4. Cut 100: Look for easy ways to cut just 100 calories from your diet each day. One hundred is pretty painless, and if you cut another hundred each week for five weeks, you'll be eating 500 fewer calories each day, which adds up to about a pound a week in weight loss.

Deprivation diets don't work, but healthy changes in lifestyle can, and do.

By making one of these or other small changes today, you just might slow down that holiday weight gain that's been creeping up on you.