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EVEN MORE Holiday Fat Fighting Tips

Exchange ornaments instead of cookies.
Exchange ornaments instead of cookies.

The holidays are almost here and temptations start popping up daily. Treats from friends, parties you attend and commitments that seem to multiply out of control. Instead of giving in to the weight gain, take steps to stop it before it starts. Try these fat-fighting tips.

Before you indulge, look up the calories of everything you want to eat or drink. Want a cookie from the buffet? Look it up. Interested in a glass of eggnog? Look it up. Try this simple test. Which pie is a better choice, pumpkin or pecan?

A typical slice of pecan pie has 532 calories but a slice of pumpkin pie has only 279 calories. They're both the same size with the same number of bites, but pecan pie has nearly twice the calorie wallop. Don't even pick something up until you've looked it up.

Use a calorie tracking program to plan your day. Enter all the food you're going to eat BEFORE you start eating. Choose options for a lighter breakfast and lunch if you'll be eating a big dinner. Once you've figured out what works for the day, print the list out and mark off each item after you eat or drink it. Stick to your list and you don't have to worry about caloric surprises. 

Commit to cook in bulk. Taking time out to cook every meal between work and holiday commitments may be unrealistic, so make things in advance. Go through websites with healthy recipes (like WeCookFit.com) and look for dishes that are freezer friendly. Then, in the amount of time it takes to make one meal, you can prepare six or eight servings and freeze the extra for later. When you're in a hurry, a hot and healthy meal is just 3-4 microwave minutes away.

Measure what you're going to eat. A single serving of meat is three ounces, or about the size of a deck of cards. You might be making healthy choices, but if you're eating twice as much as you should, you're not going to lose weight. Measuring your food before you eat it will help keep you honest about how many calories you're taking in.

When meeting friends or family at a restaurant, offer to make the reservations. If you book the restaurant, you can choose someplace that has healthier options. Chain restaurants often put their menus online and many have caloric breakdowns you can check out. Places with larger menus are good, because then the other guests will have a wider variety of choices.

Regift packaged foods when appropriate, otherwise don't feel bad throwing them away. If someone were allergic to peanuts, you wouldn't give them a bag of mixed nuts. Yet people who are struggling with weight are often given gifts of cookies, candies and cakes.

Boxes, bags and tins that remain sealed can be regifted to people who don't have a problem. If you don't know anyone they would be appropriate for, don't feel bad throwing them away. Better in the trash than in you. Just remember to thank the person who gave them to you.

A special note here. You should check any boxes of gifts and make sure what's on the package is inside. A few years ago I received what I thought was a box of sugar cookies, but inside was a shirt I wanted. My friends put it in a decoy box. That's something I would have regretted re-gifting.

Some people exchange cookies or cakes as part of their holiday tradition. If that's you, suggest something different. Substitute holiday ornaments or favorite books. One friend of mine trades ugly holiday sweaters every year with his family.

Finally, when you go to parties, don't tell people you're on a diet. Instead say, "I'm in training." Most of the time that stops people right away from trying to push things on you. If they ask what you're training for, say you're "in training to live a healthier life."

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.