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Ways to Say Goodbye to Holiday Pounds
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Everyone needs holiday but no one wants holiday pounds. You can control your eating during the holidays. What you need is just a bit of planning and effort.

"Follow the smart diet," suggested Dr. Santiago Horgan, director of the Center for the Treatment of Obesity at the University of California, San Diego, Medical Center, according to HealthDay News Monday.

"Eat the calories you want but not the ones you don't need. Avoid unhealthy snacking. Think ahead and choose where you are going to consume your calories. For example, if you have a big holiday meal planned, decided ahead of time where you want to consume your calories," Horgan said in a prepared statement.

Besides, here are more tips:
 1. Try to find low saturated fat, low sodium recipes for traditional holiday foods (such as eggnog or stuffing) or modify the recipe to make it low in saturated fat or sodium. You may want to make two versions (a healthy version and a traditional version) to give people a choice. If attending a party, offer to bring a low saturated fat/low sodium item.
  2. Make sure to include a good portion of low calorie vegetables in your meals (dark green leafy vegetables, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers). Be aware of starchy vegetables this time of year (corn, peas, winter squashes, sweet potatoes and white potatoes) which have about triple the calories of all other vegetables.

    3. Keep in mind that the holidays are most importantly about friends and family. This may help you put food in a better perspective. At parties, socialize away from the food table and focus on conversation.
 4. Eat something before the party. Arriving ravenous at a party is a recipe for disaster. Don't even look at the buffet. You know it will feature calorie-packed, seam-splitting foods. Turn your focus to visiting with friends and family.
  5. Eat before you go on shopping trips to avoid fast foods at the food courts at the mall or pack healthy snacks to munch when hungry while out.
6. Recognize when you're full. "It takes a good 20 minutes before your stomach signals you brain that it's full, so eat slowly, and the second you start feeling satisfied, stop eating,"
  7. Walk after dinner. You can burn calories and speed up your digestion by moving a little after your meal. This is also a great time to spend with family or someone who supports what you're doing.

    8. Get a positive support group. A support group is not a bunch of people hanging around the tree talking about how much they want a chocolate sundae, but surround yourself with people who are pushing hard for better health.

(Xinhua New Agency December 25, 2006)

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