Get through the holidays with dieting tips

If you have a plan, you may actually lose weight

By Paul Giorgio - Producer

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. - We all know living a healthy lifestyle can be difficult enough, but staying on course during the holidays can present an even bigger challenge.

Parties, pot luck lunches and sweets at work all tempting us to give in. But there are things you can do to navigate the holiday season, waist line intact.

Local 6 has been following weight loss ambassadors John McGivern and Emily Edwards since June. Now 6 months into their yearlong weight loss challenge, their bodies are being transformed.

By all accounts, they are on their way to meet their goals.

But it hasn't been easy, they've had to overcome plenty of obstacles -- the holidays among them.

Emily attacked the issue head on.

"Thanksgiving was the hardest for me because it's so centered around food," she said.

She says she took control by hosting family at her house.

"I invited everyone to my house so I had control of my menu and it worked out and I actually introduced other people to healthy foods that they probably wouldn't have tried," Emily said.

She prepared plenty of fresh vegetables and used coconut oil instead of butter. She says she lost three pounds Thanksgiving week.

John will be working on Christmas but worries about what co-workers will bring in. From candies to cookies, he doubts any of it will be on his diet.

"They'll do something at work and you'll have everyone do a pot luck and everybody is going to bring everything in and I just have to plan for that. It's like going into battle," John said.

And there are some tools for that battle. Here are some tips from fitness experts and dietitians for handling the temptations.

1. Expect to stay on your program. Follow John and Emily's lead and plan to succeed.

2. That being said - you can plan a few "free meals." it's OK to loosen up a little but be a food snob- if you don't love it- don't eat it.

3. Don't skip meals the day of a party. Maintain your normal eating schedule. People who save up calories tend to overeat.

4. If you're at a party, wait at least 30 minutes before eating. This will give you time to survey your choices and make wise decisions.

5. Try putting only 2 items on your plate at a time. It will be easier to monitor than eating a little bit of 20 different dishes.

6. Chew gum. If you don't want to eat, a stick of sugarless gum will keep you occupied.

7. Plan your workouts in advance.

8. And set a goal you want to reach.

9. But most of all if you fall off the wagon, get right back on.

Emily says it's always best to have a plan.

"If you are prepared you're going to make better decisions then just grabbing something last minute," she said. "Not just the holidays, that's my advice everyday."

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