Separate the fruit from the cake: How to manage your weight and still enjoy the holidays

The holidays are here and for most people this is a busy and celebratory time. It’s a chance to reconnect with old friends and family you may not see the rest of the year, celebrate the season, exchange gifts, and share stories over dinner or dessert.

While celebrating can be a good thing, if you’re trying to manage your weight, those dinners and desserts can seem daunting. The good news is that there are ways to manage the situation successfully.

Molly Wangsgaard, MS, RD, NSCA-CPT, the director of nutrition at Curves/Jenny Craig, says it is possible to survive the holiday season without sacrificing your weight-management plan. Below are some of her tips to help you keep on track:

* Don’t skip meals to save all of your calories for the big feast. Follow your healthy meal plan for the day (Jenny Craig promotes eating five to six times a day) so you are not starving by dinner time and you can enjoy your holiday favorites in moderation.

* Take detours to avoid temptation. Think: out of sight, out of mind. During the holidays, gift baskets with calorie-laden treats are seemingly around every corner, so try to avoid the communal room at the office where the treats are left.

* Bring a beautiful vegetable platter to the party so you will have plenty to munch on without breaking the calorie bank. Fill up the majority of your plate with the healthy veggies, then add small portions of the more indulgent treats so you can enjoy them without overindulging. Plus, maybe your healthy eating will encourage others.

* Think before you drink. Yes, you can have alcohol and still lose weight. Just opt for something a little lower in calories, like a wine spritzer (only 60 calories) or a flute of champagne (about 80-100 calories), instead of a traditional cocktail. And beware … those eggnog concoctions are full of fat and calories.

* Turn holiday shopping into an opportunity to get moving. Park farther away from the door while at the mall, and take the stairs instead of the escalator. And, above all, enjoy the holiday season. Spend time on the dance floor at your company holiday party, or play in the snow with your kids to burn some extra calories and relieve stress.

* Reward yourself for the healthy choices you are making with non-food treats. Enjoy a relaxing bubble bath to ease stress and take some time for yourself. Pick up your favorite holiday-scented candle when you’re out running errands. Give yourself 10 minutes a night to read the latest bestseller.

* Get a jump on your New Year’s resolution. Rather than waiting until January to start up a new fitness routine, start adding some activity into your day during the holidays. Make a plan to meet a friend for a brisk walk a few days a week, or track your steps with a pedometer and increase each week. By the time the new year rolls around, you’ll be ready to start a workout routine that incorporates both strength training and cardio (think Curves!) for a full body workout and a healthier 2015.

Using the tips above can help you celebrate guilt-free and enjoy a healthy holiday season. To find more weight-management tips for the holiday season, visit Curves on Facebook and Twitter and Jenny Craig on Facebook and Twitter.


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