HAPPY NEW YEAR! The holidays are meant to be enjoyed to the fullest, but chances are you put your workouts on the backburner, snacked on crackers, dips, cheeses and party mix, indulged in sugary cakes, pies and cookies, consumed your fair share of hearty (i.e. carb and fat overloaded) casseroles and enjoyed more sugary cocktails than usual. It’s the holidays. That’s what we do. And we pack on pounds because it’s a prolonged event.

Typically we begin the holiday season on Halloween and party all the way through New Year’s. That’s 10 weeks of over-eating, sugar overload, excessive alcohol consumption and workout sabotage. It’s no wonder the average weight gain is 1 to 5 pounds. While that may not sound like much weight gain, the key is to get it off and get your diet under control. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself rationalizing over-indulgence through Super Bowl, Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s Day.

The fact is, most of us view the holiday season as an excuse to let go but don’t realize that there is a built-in holiday every month of the year! Unless you put on the party brakes in January, you will find yourself carrying this year’s holiday weight all the way through to the next holiday season picking up a few extra pounds along the way. In addition to getting enough sleep every night and exercising at least 30 minutes three to four times per week, here are a couple tips to help you get back on track for a healthy “bikini” lifestyle in 2011:

Take a month to cleanse. Clean-sing doesn’t have to mean a hardcore fast-cleanse program. A good way to break the party habit, rid your body of toxins and get back on the “bikini” program is to skip the alcohol for a month. If you have to have your beer for the football game, limit it to one beer and skip the cocktails. If wine is your cocktail of choice, mix white wine with club soda and lime to make a refreshing lower calorie, lower alcohol spritzer.

Start each day with a healthy breakfast. Wake up your metabolism each morning with fiber, protein and good carbs. Nuts, oats and fruits like apples are a terrific combination and can be enjoyed in yogurt, as a smoothie or as cereal. Here is a delicious recipe for a perfect breakfast:
Swiss Muesli* (serves 4)

• ½ cup rolled oats
• ¾ cup warm water
• ¼ cup coarsely chopped pistachio nuts, roasted
• 2 apples, such as Fuji or Gala, peeled and grated or finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• ¾ cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
• Juice of 2 lemons

Combine oats and warm water in a small mixing bowl and soak for about 15 minutes. Add the nuts, apple, brown sugar, yogurt and lemon juice and mix well. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes or serve warm by heating in a small quart boiler over low heat for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Nutrition Information per serving: Calories: 153; Fat: 3g; Carbohydrates: 32g; Protein: 4g

I hope you enjoy this recipe and I wish you luck getting back on track after the holidays! MS&F

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