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I am not dieting

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- -- If you are like me, the holidays mean two things - family and food! However, our bodies cannot consume as much as we wish they could when it comes to food no matter the holiday.

But all the pie, turkey, and potatoes can be hard to resist. Pecan pie and coffee for breakfast? Count me in. Recently, however, I have begun a path to healthier eating, resulting in a healthier lifestyle, and holiday treats can often get in the way.

One important thing I have learned to help on this healthier path is that planning is key - especially before arriving at holiday parties.

To be honest, during the holidays my eating choices go out the window if I do not have a plan. At holiday events, I would plan to treat myself to one sweet a day, and four or five small meals instead of two large meals while snacking in between.

Believe it or not, allowing myself a small splurge here and there helps me stay on track. And considering that the other option I have is going on a crazy binge that could turn into a week of overeating... I would rather choose to treat myself sparingly.

Through this healthier lifestyle, even if I go a few weeks or months without noticing weight loss, I can tell a difference in my energy level, mood and overall resiliency.

I have found a few ways to enjoy food, the foods we commonly think of during the holidays, but in a healthier way.

For example, have you ever tried fat-free Greek yogurt on potatoes instead of sour cream? I know what you are thinking. Sounds gross, right? But trust me, your taste buds and stomach will thank me.

Another idea to consider, use unsweetened apple sauce while baking to substitute sugar or cocoa nibs instead of chocolate chips. These are subtle ways of keeping unwanted sugar and calories out of your food.

Over time, I have tried to hop on the train of many different fad diets, all of which usually ended terribly. The most success for me has come with simply monitoring the type of foods I eat, and my calorie intake.

The word diet is simply not the right word. Many people despise it and tell me that I do not need to diet. But that is the thing, I am not dieting. I am creating a healthy lifestyle for myself, something that makes me feel better inside and out.

It does not happen in a day or a week, sometimes not even a year, but when you stay the course, nothing is out of reach.

For those interested, I encourage you to reach out to the base health promotion program manager, Geri Seal at (605) 385-6250 to begin a path to healthy eating.

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