Countdown to 2013 - Week 1

"It's the most wonderful time of the year..." At least that's what the song says. But it is also one of the most stressful. Traffic and stores are crazy. Schedules are packed and budgets are tapped. Now, add to that your usual goal of healthy eating and exercise. It's common to throw in the towel in December and just say you'll start fresh in the New Year. Instead, we want to encourage you to finish 2012 strong! The holidays are a time for celebration and family, not to put on weight. It's almost as if we've come to accept that we are going to put on 10 pounds during each holiday season. Celebration doesn't have to mean gluttonous eating or deprivation for that matter. It's time to bring the focus back to the purpose of the holiday. Enjoy your friends and family, the time off and the traditions of the holidays.

1) Shop Well For Yourself!

Yes, we know how busy you are with your family. But it is more important then ever to stock your kitchen with healthy foods. Have healthy snacks handy. The more convenient they are, the more likely you are to eat them. Instead of thinking about what you shouldn't eat, promise to eat your 3 –5 servings of vegetables each day!

2) Schedule Your Exercise!

Your schedule will be very hectic this holiday season. Schedule your workouts just as you would any other appointment. It's a guaranteed energy boost and can rev up your metabolism in case you have indulged in an extra holiday treat. Plus, it will keep your mood up during stressful times.

3) Just Say No.

You probably aren't aware how much extra food you consume just from people offering it to you. A sample at the market here, an extra cookie at an office party there and it all adds up. Just think before you take that food that is offered to you to decide if you really want it!

4) Skip The Baking.

Do you make baked goods for giving? Chances are you eat much of what you bake. Who wouldn't!?! Instead, make non-food gifts. Or, prepare baked good ingredients in pretty jars and let your gift recipient bake it up. That way, they can eat it when they want it and you don't have to be tempted in the kitchen. Consider healthy gifts such as the gift of fitness, a plant or something that will benefit the recipient rather than sabbotage them.

5) Hydrate!

Keep your water bottle with you at all times. You should be drinking 8, 8-oz glasses of water each day. One handy trick is to buy a 64 ounce water jug. Fill it up in the morning and know that you need to finish it by the end of the day.

The holiday season might not be a time to lose weight, but it doesn't have to be a time to lose your health. The key is to go into the holidays with a plan!

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