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Valentines Day Fitness Ideas

Valentines Day is one of those holidays that sneak up on your waistline. People don't think of it as a big eating day like Thanksgiving or Halloween, but if you're not vigilant, it can be even more damaging.

Candies are featured more prominently in grocery stores. Boxes of chocolates are marketed to lovers. Restaurants prepare sweetheart specials to entice you in.

Everywhere you turn, you're hit with the message that sugary, fattening foods are the way to your lover's heart. For anyone who's trying to lose weight or avoid emotional eating, it's a message that's hard to ignore. It can be even worse for the recipients of that affection. After all, if your special someone buys you a box of truffles, what would they think if you refused to eat it?

Don't sabotage you or your loved one's fitness goals. This year, build a new tradition. Turn the holiday into something that's good for you.

If you're doing the planning, think about a special movie at home. Start with a romantic (but healthy) candlelight dinner. Share fat and sugar-free chocolate Jell-O with fresh strawberries for dessert and follow it up with one of the lower-fat microwave popcorns. Cuddle up on the couch and get lost in cinematic romance while avoiding caloric catastrophe.

For those who can't or don't want to cook, going out is OK as long as you plan ahead. Call and make sure you can order dishes that aren't deep-fried, drenched in heavy sauces or accompanied by fattening sides. You want your sweetheart to enjoy the meal, not leave stuffed and lethargic.

Of course, you don't have to limit yourself to the traditional. Do something together outside. If you're somewhere with snow on the ground, how about an afternoon sledding or building a snowman? In warmer climates you can rent a kayak, build a sandcastle or play on a bicycle built for two.

Bring along a picnic of good-for-you snacks and convenient finger foods like carrots, low-fat granola, fruit or sandwiches. Don't forget to take pictures of each other as you enjoy the day. Doing something new together can put a little spark back in a comfortable relationship and you'll burn a few calories while doing it.

Skip the pre-ordered flowers and build a custom bouquet together. Start out at an antique or glassware store and find the perfect vase. Then go to a flower shop and pick a flower for your partner, while they pick one out for you. Surround them in an arrangement you build together with the pieces you enjoy most. You'll learn more about each other's tastes and end up with something special and personal.

Those of you not celebrating with a loved one, don't raid the fridge if you feel bad. Use Valentines Day as an improvement opportunity and chance to meet new people.

Start by making a list of the things you like about yourself. Maybe it's your smile, your sense of style or a talent you have. Put at least 10 things on the list and carry it around. Use it as an affirmation to remind yourself that you're a person worthy of love.

Then call your other single friends and plan a night out. Visit a karaoke club or learn how to line dance. Plan activities that require participation and ban conversations where people complain about being single. Surround yourself with people who are excited about life.

Finally, recommit to those healthy New Year's Resolutions you made a few weeks before. Get in a good workout before you meet your friends. The better you look, the better you'll feel about yourself. Once you start liking the person you see in the mirror, other people will be more attracted to you.

Valentines Day is a time to get closer to that special someone and learn to love yourself more. With just a little planning, you can make it special without punishing your waistline or sacrificing fitness goals.

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Updated 1/15/2022