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How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
7 easy ways to stay healthy this holiday season.

Listening to your body and practicing good habits will help weight gain during the holidays.

The holidays are filled with festivities and beautiful rituals, yet they bring along the dread of dietary demons, the meals, the parties and office snacks, which sabotage the weight we have worked so hard to lose or maintain during the year. These days, everyone wants a fast metabolism and flatter abs. However, what really weighs us down in life is the resentment we carry.

This is not metaphorical. Resentment actually causes us to put on the pounds. Cortisol, a stress hormone, increases with negative emotions and deposits fat around the abdominal region. Wouldn’t it be great to metabolize our past—the anger, the regrets and the sadness? The holidays are a terrific time for healing all the rifts. Release the heavy heart and physical well-being inevitably follows. When you make room for a more reasonable happiness, you won’t eat to fill an empty heart. Consider this: your negative and positive thoughts resemble a fruit store where you sort out the bad fruit from the good fruit.

When you let go of what has been weighing you down, you feel lighter and happier. Release your tensions every day and they don’t build-up to harden your spirit along with your arteries. You establish an internal set point of peace. No matter what comes your way, you return to your set point, emotionally and metabolically. As a result of sleeping through the night, your fat cells will secrete a hormonal appetite suppressant called Leptin, which will trigger the metabolism to burn more calories during the day—you lose weight while you sleep!

While you are releasing your resentment, here are seven proven strategies for guilt-free holiday eating.

* Cultivate awareness. The more people at the table, the more we eat and the larger the portions are than when we eat alone—almost 50 percent larger. Position yourself near the health conscious eaters.

* Conduct your meals the way you conduct business. Don’t grab more than your fair share. Eat as though you are sampling a tasting menu. Keep in mind that when a hostess serves you, you might be getting a few portions in one—so know what a real portion looks like.

* Do you sabotage your health by eating foods that you know are harmful with unhealthy fats and processed ingredients? At least be as loyal to yourself as you would be to others. Enjoy a rainbow array of delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables.

* Do not skip meals, especially breakfast, and arrive starving. Skipping meals slows down your metabolism and when you are ravenous, you will be stressed and out of control.

* Do increase your exercise regimen during the holiday season. An extra 20 minutes added to your normal workout routine will counteract the extra calories taken in. And after a big meal, take a 30 minute walk to undo some of the damage and minimize heartburn. Your arteries will thank you. If you don’t exercise, don’t wait for a New Year’s resolution, start now!

* During the festivities wear tighter clothing and do not unbuckle your belt to eat more. You will feel full and uncomfortable, which will signal you to stop. Listen to your body.

* Avoid fattening mixed drinks and imbibing too much alcohol, which also fuel your need for sugar. A little wine can be heart smart. Drink water to feel fuller and get rid of toxins.

Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of "Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life", "Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout" and "Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul," a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City, produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com.

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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.

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