Holiday party advice from a personal trainer

Enjoy the party without worrying about your weight

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MIAMI, Fla. - It's the time for season's greetings and lots of over-eating. With all the holiday parties and family get-togethers, the temptation to indulge can be overwhelming. But we're here to help keep your diet off the naughty list!

From jingle bells to jiggly bellies, the holidays can wreak havoc on your waistline. Staying fit can be a tough task.

Personal trainer Shuichi Take says it's all about balance. So start your day with some exercise.

"By doing your workout in the morning, you actually boost your metabolism during the course of the day," he explained.

Four simple exercises, 20 seconds each, six to 10 reps "gets your heart rate higher, you burn more calories," said Take.

Don't skip meals. Shuichi says starving yourself now doesn't mean you can pack in more calories later.

Shuichi explains that, "You tend to overeat at that meal because you are overcompensating for the lack of meals earlier that day."

If hunger strikes look for protein-filled snacks that make you feel full like beef jerky or, "almonds are great, or string cheese, or even deli meat," suggested Take.

Try to resist that eggnog; just eight ounces has 360 calories. Swap it for hot chocolate and save 250 calories. When toasting, remember regular beer or a mixed cocktail can each cost you 200 calories or more.

Can't pass up on finger foods? Leave the 400 calorie crab cakes behind, and reach for shrimp cocktail instead; it has just 200 calories.

"You may want to go with something a little bit lighter like, for example, a glass of wine or a glass of champagne, which is maybe closer to about 100 calories," said Take.

Shuichi says it can be hard to be good this time of year so don't feel too bad if you break the rules occasionally.

"Allow yourself to indulge with your friends and have a good time, afterwards get back on track," Take recommended.

If sugar is what you're craving, grab a candy cane! This famous holiday treat has only 55 calories. Another tip: save the best for last! Instead of depriving yourself of your favorite foods, fill up on less fattening snacks throughout the party. Odds are you'll still eat the treat you've waiting been for, but you will be less likely to binge on it.

Additional Information:

HOLIDAY WEIGHT GAIN: Many people feel that they gain extra weight over the holiday season with the large meals, holiday parties, and the stress that comes along with the holidays. The holiday season lasts from mid-November into early or mid-January and it is typically thought that during this time people will gain an average of five pounds. However, several studies over the years have found that on average people do not gain five pounds during the holidays but rather only one pound. One of these studies by the New England Journal of Medicine also found that weight gain did not increase during the pre-holiday period (late September to early October) or during the post-holiday period (mid-January to early March); weight gain only seems to increase during the holidays. The reason it may seem as though a person gains more than a single pound during the holidays is because the weight typically stays on and continues to be built upon. (Source:

HOLIDAY HEALTH TIPS: If you want to try to keep the weight off this holiday season here are some more tips to stay healthy during the holidays without sacrificing all of the food:

  1. Never go to a Party Hungry – If you're starving when you get to a holiday party you may end up overeating and letting the hunger take over.
  2. Avoid Sauces – Popular holiday sauces such as gravy, sauces made from cream, and salad dressings will add a lot of extra calories. Try oil and vinegar for salads.
  3. Use a Smaller Plate and Eat Slowly – You're less likely to pile on more food than you need if the plate cannot hold it all and eating slowly will help you avoid overeating and will allow you to enjoy the food you do eat.
  4. Eat Less and Socialize More – If you focus on talking with friends and family during holiday parties and dinners then food won't be the focal point of the celebration and you can resist eating to pass the time. (Source:

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