updated 12/06/2011 AT 9:45 AM ET
•originally published 12/06/2011 AT 8:30 AM ET
It was enough of a victory when Valerie Bertinelli shed 40 lbs. and then managed to keep off the weight – but now she’s unlocked the secret to a more elusive goal: Dropping weight during the calorific holiday season.
“You know what, I lose weight, not gain it, during the holidays,” she told PEOPLE recently at the Bloomingdale’s Coat Kick-Off Drive with Sundance Channel’s All on the Line with Joe Zee. “You have more days off, so you have more time to go to the gym and be active. I have so much more time to work out this time of year.”
Bertinelli, 51, says preparing holiday food also sometimes leaves her cold.