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Have a No-Weight-Gain Holiday Season

Even if we don't look at the cal


endar, aisles of candy in the grocery stores and drugstores remind us that Halloween is around the corner. On the heels of Halloween is Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas and Hanukkah, which are followed by celebrations for the New Year. And don't forget the eating ritual associated with Super Bowl Sunday in early February!

For the next few months, the spotlight on food-especially treats and special indulgences-will be relentless. Social gatherings and nonstop advertising will reinforce the message that we should be splurging without limitation. Millions of us with diabetes or prediabetes will be exposed to greater temptations than ever. And those of us who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), triggered by shorter (and darker) days, will be struggling with depression as well.

Given this background, we need a strategy for maintaining a focus on eating healthfully and exercising regularly. Otherwise, we'll be like the two heavyset ladies in the cartoon looking into a bakery window. One says to the other, "Let's just go in and see what happens."

Joining others who are making health and fitness a priority needs to be part of your strategy. For example, participate in a 5K or 10K walks that your community may be organizing for worthwhile causes on holidays. Or join the AARP Fat 2 Fit online community. On a daily basis, we encourage and support one another in our efforts to follow through on our goals.

This support is particularly important during the holidays. As one person in our AARP Fat 2 Fit group said, "The holidays are like having a bakery or candy store chained to the ankle." She went on to add that to get through the holidays without weight gain, "I remind myself that celebrating is not about gluttony, and the holidays somehow come and go successfully without cookies, candy and huge banquets. Decorations, friends and family contain zero fat grams."

Just as the pleasure in decorations, friends and family is calorie free, your participation in the Fat 2 Fit community is also free. But only you can decide your course of action. You can walk into the holidays and "see what happens" or you can become proactive in promoting your health and fitness. If you decide to become part of the group, you'll receive the support you need to move through the holidays guilt free-and, who knows, maybe even a few pounds lighter.

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