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Tips for the holidays

I found this on msnbc.com. It's a little long, but I think it's helpful:

-Psych yourself
Don't tell yourself, "It's okay, it's the holidays." That opens the door to 6 weeks of splurging. Switch out of holiday mode as soon as the party's over. Don't turn Thanksgiving through New Year's into one long binge. For the duration of the holidays, wear your snuggest clothes that don't allow much room for expanding waists or bums. Wearing sweats -- or your favorite fat pants -- is out until January

-Back away from the food
As obvious as it sounds, don't stand near the food at parties. Make the weight loss effort, and you'll find you eat less. At a buffet? Eating a little of everything guarantees high calories. Decide on three or four things, only one of which is high in calories. Save that for last so there's less chance of overeating. Scan the buffet for shrimp with cocktail sauce – it’s practically fat-free and high in protein, iron, and the antioxidant lycopene.

-Stop, drop and roll
Instead of burning the candle into the wee hours every night, just STOP what you're doing; DROP into bed; and ROLL over! Nothing horrible will happen if you let some decorating wait until tomorrow. Your body will thank you. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can cause weight gain. If you aren't getting enough sleep you're more likely to make poor choices when it comes to food and fitness.

- Get moving!
It's all about calories in vs. calories out, so make exercise a nonnegotiable priority. Try squeezing exercise minutes into each day to get your heart pumping. Remember: minutes, not hours. Ten minutes is better than nothing. In fact, 10 minutes in the morning is often the best time for weight loss during the holiday since our days get busy with extra to-do’s and social events.
A mere 10 minutes can burn off a few hors d'oeuvres, a glass of wine or it can just simply be a healthy release of stress. A brisk walk on the treadmill or elliptical can keep your jeans from feeling tight, especially at this time of the year when you're ingesting more calories.

- Stick with the 5-a-day plan
Make sure to get your fruits and vegetables. In a bid to cut calories and save time, we often forgo the foods that would nourish us during the holidays. The excess sugar often consumed during the holidays gives us an energy high and then a crash. So fill up on healthy food -- eat five fruits and vegetables a day BEFORE you allow yourself to snack on holiday treats. Those few extra minutes you take to plan some healthy snacks and meals will save you many minutes of burning off extra calories later!

- Don't be tempted by temptation
Avoid constantly putting yourself in situations that tempt you. For example, don’t walk through the break room at work 10 times a day when you know it's filled with holiday treats and candies. Spend a few minutes in the morning packing a healthy snack (like almonds, a piece of fruit or a yogurt) so you'll have a healthy weight-loss alternative.
And don't place treats on your kitchen counter to stare you in the face or take four desserts off the buffet vowing to take only one bite of each. Remember, EAT before you meet. Have this small meal before you go to any parties: a hardboiled egg, apple, and a thirst quencher (water, seltzer, diet soda, tea).

- Liquid calories count
Holidays are notorious for tempting us with drinks we wouldn't normally consume. Alcohol offers no nutrients — just empty calories, and we often forget to count them. Eggnog coffee drinks with whipped cream, hot toddies, spiced rum, these drinks can have as many calories as a personal pan pizza! Limit your consumption and order sparkling water with a splash of cranberry juice instead. It'll look festive and save calories. If you want to go for the alcohol, alternate alcoholic drinks with diet-friendly, calorie-free sparkling water.
Also watch out for too-big beverages. Restaurant and bar drinks can run as much as 43 percent larger than what is considered a standard drink serving, according to Public Health Institute researchers who analyzed 337 drinks purchased at 80 establishments. Not only are you downing more calories than you bargained for, but being tipsy could also lead you to let your guard down and overeat. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer (the amount in one can or bottle), 5 ounces of wine (a little less than half a can of soda), or 1.5 ounces of spirits or liquor (a shot-glass worth, either straight or in a mixed drink).

- Be social and generous
Take your camera and be the designated photographer. You can't eat while snapping wriggling kids. Brush up your small talk; talking slows down eating. And finally, give it away! After your party company leaves, give away leftover food to neighbors, doormen, or delivery people, or take it to work the next day.

- Save it for something special
Indulge only in new, interesting foods; have one taste of each. Avoid feeling deprived and distracted by food all evening long —allow yourself one dessert or holiday truffle per event. When you’re done, destroy the plate. If you've had enough to eat but others are still picking, dump salt over any food you have left.

- Pace yourself
Eating slowly doesn't just decrease the amount of food you consume, it also fills you up faster. Healthy women who were instructed to wolf down their meals ate more food (by nearly 70 calories) but felt less satisfied than women who were told to take their time (21 minutes longer, to be exact), according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. To get into a slower rhythm, take smaller bites, chew thoroughly, and put your fork down between each one.

- Write it down
Just the simple act of recording what you eat can help you cut calories. In a recent study of 1,685 adults published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the more food records a person kept, the more weight they lost. For a modern method, try e-mailing the information to yourself or using a computer program such as http://www.prevention.com/foodlog.

and of course, PT


Fri. Nov 14, 1:04pm

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Oh these are wonderful! I am definitely going to keep all of these in mind...

Friday, November 14, 2008, 1:18 PM

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Regarding writing it down: I just got an iTouch and am logging my food calories on livestrong/dailyplate (but im sure this would work for any PDA). I am gonig to bring it with me and record what I eat right then and there. Seeing the calories add up as I am going through the evening will surely slow me down versus waiting till the next day to do the math.


Friday, November 14, 2008, 6:32 PM

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Don't deprive yourself on special occasions but every day is not a special occasion!!

Friday, November 14, 2008, 7:58 PM

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