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20 Tips to Eat, Drink and Still Shrink!

For how long now we have been working on improving ourselves - on living happier, healthier, more fulfilling lives. Starting last January, as a team, we started making changes to this "new version" of ourselves. So why is the winter holiday season so intimidating—even scary—for so many? The answer is definitely not a simple one. Yes, there is more food - and because the holidays are stretched over a few weeks (parties, potlucks, food gifts, cookies, etc.) - there are WAY more temptations everywhere we look. On top of that, there is Holiday Stress - buying gifts, volunteering, decorating, cooking and party hopping often take the place of cooking healthy meals at home or hitting the gym. It's no wonder we are scared of the holidays and the "tightening pants" we all anticipate. It may sound way too simple, but the answer is merely - STICK WITH YOUR PLAN. You've overcome temptations and slip-ups be

1. Track your food - ALL OF IT - from the spoonful of cookie batter you ate while baking to the free sample of ham at the grocerystore. These "hidden" calories are easy to gloss over but can really add up.

2. Plan your holiday meals and snacks in advance so you can enjoy your favorites and still stay on track. Before you head to another party or sit down for a holiday dinner, pre-track your food for the day. Find places to cut back on calories in order to splurge a little more on your holiday meal.

3. Look up calories before you bite. Even if it doesn't taste good, you can't give those calories back! 4. Make fitness a priority. Food is only one part - don't forget the fitness! Remember - BURN IT TO EARN IT!!!

5. Schedule your workout like an appointment. You wouldn't miss work, a doctor's appointment or an important meeting to bake cookies or do some holiday shopping, would you? We have stressed this since the beginning of our Challenges and will continue to stress that you are making a date with yourself! You deserve it!

6. Bring your own food - pick a healthy, low-cal recipe that you can bring. 7. Limit alcohol. It lowers inhibitions, making it more likely that you'll forget about your nutrition plan and overindulge. Plus, alcohol alone is pretty high in calories. 8. Re-gift treats and food. A homeless shelter, bringing to one of your events over the season, sharing at work or school - there are so many ways to share the wealth of treats! 9. Bring your food to work and share it in a communal space like the office café for others to partake of as they choose. 10. Be gentle with yourself - if you over indulge one day, don't let that get you down and then give up. It's just one day! Jump back on and be proud of the choices you make the next day!

11. Add an extra 10 minutes of cardio to your day! 12. Maintain your active lifestyle. Of course "running errands" doesn't qualify as "running" BUT, the busier you are, the less time you have to be tempted. Also be sure to enjoy the great outdoors as much as possible! 13. Keep an emergency snack on hand so that when you are hungry, you are not tempted by the drive-thru or the treats at the next function! 14. Watch your portions - there is NO problem with trying some of your favourite treats. Does that mean your plate needs to be full though? You can also try the 3 bite rule - take the first bite, and actually ask yourself if you want a second bite!!!! Then keep asking.....

15. Focus on people, not the food - we create those magical moments because of the people, not the treats on the table! 16. Drink your water!

17. Wake up with exercise - create a routine and stick to it! 18. Don't act as if it's your only chance to eat. 19. Slow down. Savor your food and the experience of eating. Eating should be an enjoyable experience for all! 20. Keep your eye on the prize. Before you take a bite or hit snooze instead of hitting the gym, remember your goals. It's going to take work to get there and survive the holiday season. Before you act, ask yourself, "Will this help me get where I want to go?" If not, make another decision. And remember that YOU are in control during the holidays, not the other way around. Here's to staying fit, looking great, and reaching your goals all month long!


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