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Enjoy the Holidays without Guilt or Regret

It’s November, and “eating season” is officially open. If you’re trying to lose weight or just maintain your current weight, the next couple of months are likely to be a challenge. To get through the holidays without packing on pounds, you need a plan. Here are five tips to help you enjoy the festivities without guilt or regret:

 Get moving. Even though it feels impossible to fit in another activity, make exercise a priority. Whether it’s time at the gym, a fitness tape at home or a brisk walk through the mall, physical activity not only burns calories but boosts energy and combats stress.

 Make smart choices. Enjoy small portions of your favorite holiday treats, and skip the foods that you can have any time. For example, you can have chips and dip all year round. Pass on the ho-hum and go for the seasonal delights–in moderation, of course!

 Drink up. Concentrate on staying hydrated, which will also help you feel full and satisfied. Drink two glasses of water before the feast and an extra glass between those adult beverages. If you find it difficult to drink plain water, add a twist of lemon or lime or a splash of cranberry juice. Limit alcoholic beverages to one or two cocktails or glasses of wine. Remember: nobody really notices or cares what you’re drinking. Save calories and avoid hangovers with good old H2O.

 Change your focus. While holidays may seem to be all about food, you can make them about connecting instead. Shift your focus from the food to friends and family members. Plan activities, play games, reminisce. The real gift is in the love and laughter that you share. The food is just the bow on the package.

Cut yourself some slack. Give yourself permission to be a little less than perfect with all of your holiday preparations. Decide which traditions really matter and let go of the rest. The resulting state of calm will save your sanity, help prevent emotional eating and allow time and energy to truly savor the season.

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