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Take control of your weight during the holidays

(NewsUSA) – For many, the holiday season is a time for friends, family and special gatherings. These celebrations often include high-fat, high-calorie foods and desserts as primary features. In the excitement of the season, we may eat more and exercise less than we do during the rest of the year.

To stay healthy during the holidays, you do not need to avoid the joys of the season and its many treats. You just need to follow a few simple tips that may help you avoid gaining a pound during this time of the year, and more as the year progresses. Here are some ideas for people hoping to ring in the New Year at or below their current weight:

HEA-WeightControlC* Keep yourself accountable. Successful dieters track their intake to keep from overindulging. Writing down what you eat can make you more aware of those holiday splurges. Use free, online calorie trackers to get some idea of the calories in the foods you’re eating.

* Control your portions. A small slice of pumpkin pie can have fewer than 200 calories, but overindulging will bump that number up. Skip the whipped cream. Try putting your food on a smaller plate, which can help you eat smaller portions. You might also want to try eating a bowl of broth-based non-creamy soup before a big meal. Studies suggest that starting dinner with soup helps limit caloric intake.

* Watch the holiday libations. Alcohol contains no nutrients but plenty of calories. Holiday drinks that combine alcohol with chocolate or cream can quickly cause you to take in more calories than your body will use. Skip the eggnog, and go with calorie-free bottled water, plain or sparkling, when available. If you want to indulge in some alcohol, try adding a small amount of wine to club soda for a low-cal spritzer.

* Exercise through the holidays. If you keep a regular exercise schedule, don’t start skipping workouts. If you don’t exercise, consider starting. Low-impact activities, like walking or yoga, help reduce holiday stress and may help manage your weight more effectively. Even simply taking a walk after your holiday dinner instead of watching TV, or going back for seconds, helps your holiday be a healthier one.

For more information or to receive free information about healthy living, call the  Weight-control Information Network at 1-877-946-4627 or visit www.win.niddk.nih.gov.

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