Looking Good and Feeling Great During the Holiday Season

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and The Laughing Cow.

So, just how do we stay fit as the holidays approach and all of its temptations are upon us?

Exercise and eat right, of course. We all know that’s what we need to do to stay fit and healthy, but it’s much easier said than done. I have to admit, I am not a diet or exercise freak, but I do like to look and feel good so my solution is… BALANCE.

The Laughing Cow

There has to be a happy medium somewhere in between eating only steamed vegetables and adding pork belly to all of your dishes as my grandmother used to do. I try not to sacrifice taste just to lose weight so for me it’s about the balance of good tasting food with fresh and healthy ingredients, but not to the point that I’m diminishing the flavor, because I love good tasting, flavorful foods. I try to use the minimum amount of fat that I feel is needed to maintain great flavor while cooking healthy.

BlogHer Reviewer

This holiday season is going to be especially challenging for me because I am pregnant! Did I neglect to mention that? ;-) Being pregnant makes it more difficult for me to diet and exercise. I am almost always tired and I’m carrying an extra fifteen pounds. And because I am eating for two, I crave little snacks throughout the day.

Nowadays, we are lucky enough to have products on the market that don’t sacrifice flavor and are low in fat, which make staying fit and healthy much easier. The Laughing Cow for example has many delicious and healthy snacks available for your family. We absolutely love their Mini Babybel Cheese. I always keep this cheese at home for my son and me. If you want learn more about Laughing Cow products you should visit their official site and go to the store and try some for yourself.

Being a busy mom, I have learned how to squeeze in some exercise without sacrificing time and making a huge effort. Here are some tips that I find helpful. When going to the mall for your holiday shopping, try walking up stairs instead of using the escalator or elevator. You could vacuum your house more often and don’t forget to take the dog for daily walks. Not only will you burn some calories, but you’ll have a clean house and a happy dog!

You could take your kids to the park and run around with them instead of sitting on a bench talking with the other moms drinking a cafe’ au lait. You could also push them on the swing…over and over and over again…

Finally, if you have a little extra time, take a Zumba class! It’s a great way to meet new people and have some fun while staying fit. You’ll feel like you are at a party the whole time, which is wonderful for the holiday spirit. I’ll bet you didn’t know that Zumba was created by a Colombian guy. No wonder why Zumba classes are so much fun!

Oh, and by the way, I am giving away a $150 Visa gift card from BlogHer! If you would like to a chance to win, please leave a comment with your thoughts and tips on how you stay fit and healthy during the holiday season even while surrounded by all those holiday temptations and you will be entered in the giveaway. Please keep your comments G-rated as any profanity or offensive content will automatically disqualify you from sweepstakes entry. I will use a random number generator to select the winner from the comments.

And don’t forget to visit The “Daily Dose of Well-Being” to read daily health tips and for weekly chances to win at the “Play for Laughs” game and to check out other bloggers’ stories and more chances to win!

Click here for official rules.

PS- Please keep in mind the following as per the official rules:

-Initial Winner will be notified by email. Please check to ensure we have your current, correct email address. Winners must accept their prize within 72 hours of notification. If the Prize is not timely accepted by the Initial Winner, the Alternate Winner will be notified by email and shall be awarded the Prize if timely accepted. Please do not leave your email address in the body of your comment but rather in the corresponding field on the comment form.

-Only two entries per household.

-Entries must be written in English. Sorry to anyone who only writes in Spanish, but I don’t make the rules :-)

I will also be announcing the winner on my blog as well so if you’ve already left a comment without your email address, just be sure to check back when the contest is over. You can always supply me with your email address at that time. Thanks and good luck!

If you like this page, you can say thanks by sharing it :-)
1 J. Soto November 15, 2010 at 9:40 AM

Well I think you just about covered them.. I do enjoy the daily walks.. a lil extra time at the gym… and do my best to snack more often… Everything in moderation.. There is no way I can fully give up the holiday pleasures.. but we do what we can..

2 AdrianaG. November 15, 2010 at 9:57 AM

I am kind of lucky because no matter what I eat I don’t gain weight. These holidays we are going home to Colombia to spend them with the family and off course we will catch up on all the Colombian food we miss due to living in a different country. Erica, thanks for the chance. I hope I win. The prize will be great to buy Christmas presents. Happy Holidays!

3 Mami2jcn November 15, 2010 at 10:00 AM

I just discovered your site! My mom is Colombian. Yes, I Zumba as well and Beto is from Cali!

What I plan to do this holiday season is keep a food diary and keep a count of the calories I consume. That way I won’t go out of control.

4 Nico November 15, 2010 at 10:43 AM

Hola parcera!!!
I recommend just staying “passively active”. While enjoying the holiday treats, just try to go for more walks. My wife is now 9 months pregnant and she says, while it sometimes her back became sore, the walking was very valuable for her.

In addition, for everyone else, holiday time also suggests more opportunities for dancing – so dance the nights away before, during, after dinner!

5 saskia November 15, 2010 at 11:12 AM

When going out, we try to “split” desserts or richer appetizers or sides among friends/family. Usually others also want a taste of something creamy or sweet, but not the guilt of eating the whole serving or feeling like food is being wasted if you don’t finish the portion restaurants serve (and that you have paid for). It is a nice way to avoid feeling deprived while still maintaining portion control–and having that sense of a family style meal with good friends.

6 Ashley K November 15, 2010 at 11:16 AM

I make sure to watch how much and what I’m eating. I make sure to get plenty of fruits and vegetables to fill me up and keep working out of course!

7 meeyeehere aka Rachel Crisman November 15, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Yeah,it’s not easy!I try to pick up on my evening walks,walking 2 miles instead of one.Also I try to only allow myself to pig out on one meal a day.
HA!!I tell ya,it’s not easy

8 Diana Lopez November 15, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Great tips for staying fit during the holidays. And I’m a true believer in daily walks. My mom broke her back back in May and the best exercise for pain control is walking at least 30 minutes a day. Since then I’ve joined her to keep her company and it not only keeps us healthy and fit but it’s a great time for us to bond. Now that it’s winter time here in Denver, we now take our daily walks to the recreation center which we plan on doing during the holidays to keep off the extra weight! =D

9 Tanya November 15, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Walk. I try to walk, and chasing two small children around helps me do that!

10 Nissa November 15, 2010 at 12:09 PM

I love your recipes! Follow you on Face book. Being from Miami I grew up with Colombian food and your recipes really take me back. I have made so many and each one has turned out so delicious! Even my picky boys ask for your dishes!
During the holidays I increase the amount water I drink, choose my calories/fat wisely. I try not to waste calories on juices or drinks. Go for non-fat,skinny lattes. I try a little bit of all the tradition favorites-but just a little and choose the healthy foods to actually eat during meal times. Eat healthy before you go to parties-when I do this I am less likely to go crazy!
Thanks for sharing your good news with us! God Bless.

11 monica young November 15, 2010 at 12:15 PM

I always try to eat a little bit of everything but in moderation. I know that if i try to avoid some foods I am going to end up given in and eating more. I indulge in moderation and hit the gym.
All the dancing and decorating the house help burn some calories too….

12 Esef aka pixen November 15, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Firstly, Congratulations to you and family! :-) So happy for you!

I know what is like eating for two but I was lucky for not having any cravings or fainting spells and didn’t follow what people said, “you must eat more for the sake of yourself and baby”! That means eating 2x !!! The Asians, mostly older generations always pushing their daughters/daughter-in-laws for extra food for the sake of the baby but they never think that extra weight caused difficult birth and may cause dangers not only for the unborn baby but the mother as well. Not mentioning overweight baby!

During my pregnancy, I ate what I usually cook – that’s lots of vegetables including traditional salads with herbs. For protein, I’m into fish abundantly available in the tropics with occasionally indulgence in venison and ostrich meat mostly cooked Chinese style with lots of ginger, garlic and spices! Yep…most of time I steam and quick stir-fry my food with quality oil like Olive oil, Sunflower, Argan and few others (I don’t use Canola Oil which I found not suitable for human consumption after reading all those reports).

I agreed with Zumba class totally! It’s totally fun and should be that way…Where can you find a routine that not only helps you shedding those weight but also learn to dance and socialised? Since pregnancy is no-no for such class (not even yoga for some-have to check with your doctor) I took leisure walks along promenades and quays for several kilometers per day with my hubby who enjoyed it as well. It really helps for the extra weight during the 40 weeks gestation period :-)

Most important, never forsake exercise even it’s just simple vacuuming or gardening… incorporate exercise into everyday chores you love :-) Consume balance diet and laugh always… Laughter is another facial muscles excercise too! :-D

Keep me update with your progress ok? Take care and smile always!

13 ShootingStarsMag November 15, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Don’t make too many sweets! And if you get some from people, pass some around and only keep a bit…the less you have around you, the better it seems!!! :)

14 Shannon November 15, 2010 at 1:11 PM

It’s fun to have a holiday healthy hors d’œuvres party. We get together in December and bring a healthy hors d’œuvre and cards with the recipes to hand out to anyone who wants one. It keeps us accountable! A great way to share healthy ideas and still enjoy gathering together during the holidays.

15 Margie S November 15, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Balance is definitely the key!

The holiday season would not be so delightful without all of the tasty foods and desserts. I would recommend not depriving yourself of eating anything you want, but definitely keep the portions small. Whenever possible, replace a starchy food (like potatoes) with greens (like broccoli or spinach). Be sure to stay hydrated, as well! This is especially important if you indulge in alcoholic drinks. Also, many dessert recipes call for too much sugar. I usually cut the sugar by 1/4 of what the recipe calls and it still tastes great. In cake recipes that call for oil, replace it with unsweetened applesauce.

Walking nightly (especially after dinner) gives your metabolism a boost and allows you to clear your mind. Exercising regularly (whether it’s Yoga, weight lifting, running, or anything else that you enjoy) is important for your physical and mental health and should not be avoided! I know it’s easier to sit in front of the TV to relax after a long day of work, but reading a good book while walking or jogging on a treadmill is more beneficial.

I wish you all a great holiday season!

16 norma November 15, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Now that the weather is changing it is easier to walk. I walk 3 miles 3 days per week and I am quite busy running around.

Lets face it at my age it’s easier putting on the pounds that getting them off. I remember my Mom telling me that after a certain age it was very difficult to lose weight. She was right. I have gained since I started blogging so I say…in order to be safe, eat half of what’s on your plate.

Erica…I see that the scale was off when you took the picture…smile…

17 Juliana November 15, 2010 at 2:36 PM

Hi Erica! First of all, don’t you worry about putting on pounds during your pregnancy! A few empanaditas and buñuelos here and there are actually good for the baby (lol) & it adds to the pregnancy beauty! Just be smart about it obviously but this is your free pass to put on some weight with absolutely no worries :) Plus, you’ll end up losing 99% of it after the baby is born and you’ll be back to your gorgeous self.. as for me, my favorite part of the holidays IS the food! Moderation still is the bottom line, enjoy but obviously don’t exaggerate. Walking & drinking water is also key… and if all else fails, I’ve found the Scarsdale diet to be very effective and not difficult at all.

18 Nats November 15, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Okay, I didn’t read all of the comments so I don’t know if this has been covered yet, but I have a little trick I like to do before going to a family gathering where I know there will be lots of delicious foods.

-Eat a healthy snack before you go, that way when you are there you won’t feel the need to over stuff yourself on the delicious (but not so healthy) food.

19 Christina November 15, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Here are my top 3 tips for keeping things healthy at the holidays.
1. Have a healthy dinner BEFORE going to holiday parties. That way you do not fill up on their unhealthy treats and goodies. And always pick the lowest calorie items on the buffet table first.
2. Put on your best old disco CD when doing household chores, decorating the house or cooking and you will be surprised how many times you catch yourself dancing a bit while getting work done.
3. Make a plan with your kids or friends to go to the biggest mall or outdoor outlet stores and walk briskly when shopping. That way you will get some exercise and you will get your shopping done in record time. We just went to the Sawgrass Mall in Lauderdale and the place was huge. My legs were well exercised by the time we got done and walked (what seems like a mile) to our car.

20 Blair November 15, 2010 at 3:14 PM

The best success I have ever had with watching my weight is when I seriously track my calories. I usually use an online service to do this.

21 Maureen November 15, 2010 at 3:57 PM

One of the things that I do is to make sure that I am drinking water. Not only is it good for you to keep hydrated in the winter months because of the heat on in the house but also it will make you feel fuller.

22 Janis November 15, 2010 at 4:42 PM

I have lost about 15 pounds from my all-time high, which I achieved this year. In the last month, my husband & I have started to really pay attention to what we eat, and I’m making an effort to cook healthier as well as get more active. To that end, and like Blair above, I’ve been using an online aid to track calories and exercise.

As for the holidays, I have resolved not to deprive myself. I will try not to overindulge, but if I feel I do, I have resolved not to beat myself up over it, but pick myself up and try again! :) I think that this past month has laid a decent foundation for wiser food choices. And I’m thankful that I don’t have much of a sweet tooth!

23 Jenny November 15, 2010 at 5:08 PM

Hi Erica and all,

I agree that the answer is balance. I’m not very good at staying active, but I have been blessed with a good metabolism. However, I’m also very good at portion control, making sure I only eat as much as I need to feel satisfied but not stuffed. I don’t deprive myself, but I try to keep sweets to a minimum as well as unhealthy foods. Drinking water is another great way to stay in shape during the holidays. I’m looking forward to visiting my family and enjoying some delicious Colombian food NYC style.


24 Simply Life November 15, 2010 at 5:33 PM

Great giveaway and post! I would say my holiday motto is “enjoy in moderation” – I look forward to so many fun sweet and savory dishes this one time of year that I definitely want to enjoy them! However, I try to do this in portions and really enjoying 1 brownie rather than 3 :) Also, I try and keep up regular exercise!

25 Faith November 15, 2010 at 5:39 PM

Great article, Erica! And a huge congrats to you on your little one in the oven. ;) Something I try to do during the holidays is eat a healthy, light meal before a party, so I’m not starving by the time I get there. Also, I try not to deprive myself of anything…for example, if I really want a cookie I’ll go ahead and have it. That way I’m not feeling deprived, which will only lead to me eating three cookies later, lol! :)

26 Amanda November 15, 2010 at 7:15 PM

Thank you for starting this discussion, Erica. I try to balance my food choices during the holidays. I fill up my plate with as many veggies and fruits as possible. That way, I won’t have as much room for the high fat options at the party. If I feel like having a calorie laden cocktail during a party, I might avoid the cookies and other tempting desserts that night.

27 Lindsay H November 15, 2010 at 11:57 PM

It’s definitely difficult during the holidays. When my I head to see family that are going to have some tempting food prepared, I bring along healthy snacks for in between so that I don’t go crazy. But all things in moderation :) I tend to try and walk extra when I go shopping at the mall or if the weather is nice I get outside for a while.

28 Denise M. November 16, 2010 at 1:49 AM

Hello, there, first time commenting. I usually try to go heavy on the vegetables, less on the starches, and the smallest portions are the meats.

Congratulations on the baby!

29 cris richman November 16, 2010 at 9:43 AM

I exercise like crazy during th holidays,go for serious runs and long bike rides.
Then I eat like a pig and enjoy

30 Donna S November 16, 2010 at 10:52 AM

Just discovered your site and I love it!. I am an honorary “Latina”. My family is 100% Polish but my heart and soul and love for Latin people, culture and food is immeasurable. Many of my friends are from Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, Costa Rica and PR. My nick name is “Catira” or “La Catira Polaca”. I have read many of the stay fit holiday posts. Everyone has great ideas but the key is really to try and combine a variety of the suggestions.

1. Do NOT drink your calories!!! Egg nog, frozen/mixed drinks and wine are high in calories. These will kill your efforts.
2. LOG your calorie intake!!! Use an online tool such as www dot myfitnesspal dot com, which is FREE (there are others). This is a more precise way to keep track than manually. It is very important to know how much you are eating. You may think you are eating in moderation, but one bite of this, a spoonful of that and, 2-3 M&Ms, really adds up quickly and this can sabotage your efforts. The mindless little nibbling throughout the day needs to be added to your daily caloric intake. THEY COUNT – these are not free calories.
3. You MUST exercise. It’s good for your heart, it speeds up your metabolism, it will burn off some of the additional calories. Be realistic- a 20 min walk is not going to burn off a slice of pumpkin cheesecake, or mashed potatoes, or your string bean casserole…If you are going to eat these calorie rich foods you are going to have to engage in some serious workouts.
4. Drink plenty of water. If you don’t get 8 glasses in a day -well OK, but be conscious about it and try to get some water in-at the bare minimum,3-4 glasses.

31 Leah B. November 16, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Do what you love! You will have fun and barely notice you are burning calories. Be active with your loved ones (of all ages) during this holiday season!

Walk, rock climb, hike, frisbee, bike, water aerobics, handball, an exercise video, ski, yoga, volleyball, swim, trampoline, jump rope, dance, weight lift, ping pong, roller skate/blade, tai chi, football, snowboard, soccer, horseback riding, baseball, field hockey, lacrosse, snow shoe, tennis, racquetball, hacky sack, ice skate, basketball, croquet, water polo, badminton, sled, an aerobics class, kayak, play tag/hide & seek, hit the gym or if you’re super busy make up a tiny little workout of jumping jacks, squats, leg lifts, chair dips etc. and multitask to fit it in whenever you can during the busy holidays!

I recently found an indoor pool, joined, and my first workout there revealed that I can swim for hours and love every minute of it! I’ve been stronger, calmer and lost weight since that discovery. I think when you find your favorite exercise and incorporate it into your daily routine, life becomes easier. What is your body’s passion?

Erica, I enjoy following your blog. Thank you for taking the time to share your yummy recipes and for the contest!

32 Claudia November 16, 2010 at 6:58 PM

I love food and staying fit is an everyday challenge but with determination and an understanding that I make the decisions that help me to stay fit or not I find that
the best way to enjoy the holidays and remain fit is to only eat when you are hungry and to use salad plates as your dinner plate ensuring that you do not overfill your plate. Also if there is a sweet treat you must have share it with your sister or other family member and be bad together but get half the calories! (I find that giving into an overwhelming craving for a yummy piece of dessert is always way better than ignoring it and then eating the whole pie, cake, ice cream, etc-we have all been there and done that! hahaha) Also when shopping for presents park far away from the mall (yes you can do it!) and burn extra calories just walking to and from your car!

Hope everyone has a great Holiday season! ☺

33 Heather V November 16, 2010 at 8:05 PM

I am a newlywed grad student…so it’s difficult for me to fit in exercise! But I always try to remain a healthy lifestyle. I used to love running, but now I am lucky to have time to run one time a week. Instead I make sure I always use the stairs (yes, even for my classes on the 5th floor at 8am!), walk around campus instead of take the bus, always pack a healthy fresh lunch, and carry only enough cash for an emergency hot tea or coffee at starbucks!

At home I cook for myself and my husband, we will eat out every two or three weeks as a special date night (sure is great not worrying about those dishes occasionally!), but we both make pretty healthy choices.

I guess the key is us motivating eachother! Why wouldn’t I want to keep myself as healthy as possible to enjoy my life to the fullest with him!

34 Mary November 16, 2010 at 11:36 PM

I think a good tip for living healthy would be to not think of food as a reward of any sort. If you really want to reward yourself then make healthy choices. You will never regret taking good care of your only body.

35 Kim November 17, 2010 at 9:01 AM

Great giveaway Erica! I follow some of the same rules that you do. In fact, the twenty pounds that I’ve lost in the past few months has all been due to dieting, but also cleaning my house. Keeping the house spotless is a hard job and will constantly keep you moving. It’s really helped me out.

36 Tabathia B November 18, 2010 at 1:44 AM

To give yourself a cut off time and walk daily and eat small meals
tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

37 grace November 18, 2010 at 2:05 AM

my focus is always moderation. one serving of dessert, grace! okay…maybe one and a half from time to time. :)

38 Lina November 18, 2010 at 6:09 AM

Hi all!

When I was pregnant, I used to walk very fast every day when going to work and after lunch, in total 45 minutes a day. Ate healthy and to avoid gestational diabetes, after the sixth month of pregnancy went cold turkey with sugar! I suggest you to move a lot, eat a lot of veggies, moderate the sugar intake and drink water.
Doing that, when my baby was born, I was immediately back to my old weight :)!

39 edna murga November 18, 2010 at 4:22 PM

Your blog is lots of fun…Great recipes too…Take care brightest blessings to you and your family…Thank you for the chance to win…e*

40 Deborah November 18, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Just control yourself and keep healthy snack on the car, your bag. Whith the kids out of school is very hard to exercise. I think that 3 extra pounds are on my way :-(

41 Ivan November 19, 2010 at 10:41 AM

We are eating vegetartian for a week before thanksgiving to help on the calorie intake we will be facing on Thanksgiving. I also intend to eat a lot of empanadas my mom makes during the holidays.

42 angely salazar November 19, 2010 at 4:35 PM

before i head to a big party like a holiday party i always snack with fruits or healthy foods that way when i get to the party and i see all the delicious food i wont overeat everything ,i also like to do bicycle for 30 min and i do weights at the same time mato dos pajaros de un solo tiro lol

43 Susan Smith November 20, 2010 at 10:03 AM

I stick to my exercise routine. I don’t do a lot of baking so that temptation isn’t around. When I’m at other people house I try to fill up on proteins, vegetables and fruits and then I sample some of the other foods that may not be healthy. I also drink a lot of water or diet soda to keep me full.

44 Jess Curlz November 21, 2010 at 12:00 AM

I try to eat healthy and enjoy the holidays at the same time by only having dessert on the actual holiday and limiting myself to only 2 or 3 different things. I also ask for a small portion size of whatever is being served. I love to bake for others but I make enough to give away and not have extras that will stay in my house and tempt me. Lastly, I use the holidays as an excuse to go shopping at the mall and at the same time I get my exercise in by walking around and taking the stairs rather than elevators. =)

45 Georgia November 21, 2010 at 2:04 PM

I try to watch what I am eating and how much. There is such a varity during the holidays everywhere you go.

gmissycat at yahoo dot com

46 Georgia November 21, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Tweeted here too


gmissycat at yahoo dot com

47 Hanan November 21, 2010 at 5:53 PM

With all the holiday food being eaten, going holiday shopping (walking around the mall/store) helps!

thanks, nickandhanan at hotmail dot com

48 ANGEL JACKLYN November 21, 2010 at 5:53 PM


49 ANGEL JACKLYN November 21, 2010 at 5:54 PM

2ND ENTRY TWEET twitter.com/kytah00/status/6479857504485376

kytah00 at yahoo dot com

50 Hanan November 21, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Tweeted: twitter.com/LilacCityMomma/statuses/6480494917066753

51 Libby's Library November 21, 2010 at 6:04 PM

Don deprive yourself…just exercise a bit more and drink more water.

Thanks for the wonderful wonderful giveaway.

52 Mary M November 21, 2010 at 6:32 PM

The only way I have successfully lost weight is following the Weight Watcher plan for counting points.

53 Mary M November 21, 2010 at 6:38 PM

I tweeted
marybug2 at yahoo dot com

54 Jean D. November 21, 2010 at 9:48 PM

I stick to a “one-third/two-thirds” rule for my dinner plate. The entree can take up one-third of the plate. The remaining two thirds are filled with vegetables and fruit. This plan requires no weighing or measuring, and it helps me eat a balanced, healthy diet.

55 Jean D. November 21, 2010 at 9:49 PM

Tweeted you!

56 Kerry November 22, 2010 at 9:31 PM

I try to not deprive myself of anything, otherwise I will eventually cave and really overdue it!

57 Tyler Reavis November 22, 2010 at 10:36 PM

I keep track of what I eat on a calorie counter app on my phone, drink lots of water, and try to stay active. And hey, it’s the holidays…I’m gonna indulge just a little bit! :)

58 Cathy W November 23, 2010 at 1:52 AM

I enjoy the holidays and get in extra exercise time later. I think drinking plenty of water helps some.
cjwallace43 at gmail dot com

59 Cathy W November 23, 2010 at 1:56 AM

Tweeted : twitter.com/cjwallace43/status/6963966655864832
cjwallace43 at gmail dot com

60 raegan posada November 23, 2010 at 10:42 AM

Well I’ve always had an issue w.my weight and dieting never worked..I’m sure it was because I’m a cheater haha. One year at Thanks Giving, my grandma told me that I can eat everything I want and not feel guilty. She told me that all I need to do is grab the smaller plate instead of the bigger dinner plate and only fill that one once, with whatever I liked, and I should be set for the night.

She definitely wasn’t lying! That was 4-5 years ago, and I’ve used that at holidays and at regular dinners. I love it because I can still taste everything and not come out stuffed and wanting to sleep :D That along with daily excercise helped me lose 85lbs in less than 10 months, oh and only drinking water with some lemon.

A few months ago i also bought the Zumba collection and I absolutely loveee Beto. I now tell people I’m going to dance instead of working out :] This year i plan to use the Zumba workouts to help me maintain instead of gaining that 5-10 extra lbs between Thanksgiving and New Years!

Your articles great! Good luck with your baby :D

61 Katie November 23, 2010 at 2:46 PM

-Don’t eat out! Pack a lunch, save a buck, take it easy on the wasitline.
-I subscribe to an online yoga studio that publishes new classes everyday that I can do in the confort of my home. Variety is the key to sticking with a fitness plan.
– If the weather allows and I have an hour to spare I run! Nothing clears the mind and relieves stress like some time in the great outdoors. And no weather related excuses here, as I’m in Minnesota!

62 Katie November 23, 2010 at 2:47 PM

(this is my second entry)….

-Also I don’t make any foods off limits. If you deny yourself you will cave and pig out. Portion control is the key!

63 Sandra G. November 23, 2010 at 4:57 PM

I know about Beto and zumba I take two classes a week or four if I’m on vacation I love it!

64 Nancy November 26, 2010 at 2:28 AM

1. Eat small amounts of everything and always have a large glass of water before you eat. 2. Don’t deny yourself anything, but just eat a small amount. 3. Find ways at work or home to burn a few calories. I clean a lot at home and don’t take the elevator at work.

65 Frank November 26, 2010 at 2:31 AM

I use the Atkins diet and eat a lot of meat. I lose weight like crazy. No carbs!

66 Mary November 27, 2010 at 12:50 AM

I think we all know there is no magic formula or secret to losing weight. You must take in less calories than you put out, period. We can try all kinds of crazy plans and mind games but the bottom line is the same. Eat less, exert yourself more. Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.

67 Ann November 27, 2010 at 11:54 AM

I’m discovering intuitive eating. I listen to myself, my body and let it tell me what I need and when to stop. It got me to the gym last night and when I woke up this morning I was craving some fresh carrot juice, so out came the juicer. I think our bodies know, if we just listen.

68 Carrie Symes November 27, 2010 at 12:28 PM

I am starting a Fit Club to have all my friends join in with me!

69 Michelle R November 27, 2010 at 12:32 PM

I have gained weight since i had my son and the best way I have found to loose it is to be active and eat in moderation. I still eat candy but only one piece,etc. I move around alot with my son.

70 Mariu November 27, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Hi!! It’s not easy to keep a small waistline especially after 40!!
I work out 4 times a week (even during the holiday season). I need to do it in order to have energy to go through the day. I also walk every time I have a chance, even when it’s cold, aghh. I pack my lunch everyday, it helps my health and my budget. Pack lots of veggies and fruit, so you have no temptations. Also, I try to eat 5 small meals a day instead of three, and I try to eat very few carbs at the end of the day.
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of my day, I cannot skip it!
Chocolate is my big weakness, I have a little after lunch just to kill the craving. Ah! and it has to be dark, it’s supposed to be healthier.
And that’s it. I’m not going to say this is the final solution, but at least it helps me to keep the “zona bananera” under control.
Thanks for all the great recipes and the wonderful giveaway!!!

71 Misha Hutchings November 27, 2010 at 6:53 PM

In addition to keeping moving (as you suggest, walking, taking stairs, getting outdoors, vacuuming, mopping the floor with a brush and Zumba!), I continue to think about portion control (small plates, and meat & starch portions the size of 1 and 2 packs of cards), and have a snack sometime in between meals (mid morning, and mid-afternoon). Skipping breakfast never worked for me, but eating breakfast everyday, and keeping my metabolism churning definitely worked. Drinking 3-4 cups of unsweetened herbal tea throughout the day (non-caffeinated such as ginger and peppermint) also aids digestion. Also, I like to freeze small portions of leftovers of the most “dangerous” foods that I crave, so that I can enjoy them over a few weeks in normal portions, rather than huge helpings over the course of a few days. Happy holidays everyone!

72 Andrea November 27, 2010 at 8:57 PM

First, congratulations on your pregnancy! I just discovered your blog and I love that I get a feel for who you are from reading your recipes and comments. And I love, even more, that I can find recipes from home!
As far as staying fit in the holidays goes, balance is always a good goal, as you wisely write. For me, that means the more calories ingested, the more calories need to be burned. But there’s no need to obsess, just enjoy the journey, eating as well as moving!

73 Cheri November 28, 2010 at 1:17 AM

A little taste, but not a meal of the goodies!! Eat until you are 3/4 full and walk away from the table at the holiday meal. That food is a treat, but it will come around again another holiday. Also an extra walk helps. Happy Holidays everyone!! ♥

74 Caroll Buitrago November 28, 2010 at 7:38 PM

Hola Erica!

I am so thankful for your blog and the delicious cooking of the best country in the world. Colombian taste is a blessing anywhere we go. Right now I am cooking a simply delicious Sudado de pollo and really really do not know if can keep with the diets or abstinence ( of food) this Christmas holidays.
All I can advice to EVERYBODY who loves to cook from this blog is to:

1. Snack nuts before you serve the first plate.
2. Chew VERY well. No matter what you eat…my hubby is great at this and sometimes embarrassing when I finish first that him. Or try to keep a conversation while eating so that you will actually enjoy the food instead of rushing it in.

3. Allow 15 min after you eat, to repeat something if you want, by this time the stomach is already feeling full and a second plate will be too much. Instead of a second plate, that room is for a delicious dessert!

4. Enjoy time with family, give thanks to God for your life, for the gift of being able to enjoy food, and celebrate the Internet for we can share and be One in the name of good food.

FELIZ NAVIDAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!! BON NATALE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

75 Zilia November 28, 2010 at 7:48 PM

Moderation is always the key to maintaining or losing weight, but it’s equally important to get some physical activity in your life. I know I sometimes I lack motivation to go to Zumba class or for a jog especially with the chillier weather so I recruit my friends to be my workout buddies. I also know that during the holiday season you may be tight on money so look for free salsa, merengue, or tango classes offered at restaurants or lounges. It’s a great way to burn some calories, learn a step or two, and have fun!

76 La Torta November 30, 2010 at 12:32 PM

I’m pregnant this holiday season so I feel like I have a free pass on all the holiday goodies I can manage. THough, I tend to lean towards saltier foods which keeps me from indulging too much in sweets.

77 Diana Castillo November 30, 2010 at 12:48 PM

I loved your site and all the tips and new recipes you give us everyday, I follow you on facebook, and love all recipes.
To stay healthy and fit I joint a gym closed home, it is only a 10 minute drive, and i do the spinning class- Love it, the instructor is incredible since he creates themes for each class, just right on halloween the music he used was halloween related, sooo fun, and sometimes he does the latin music class which is fantastic. I also, try not to eat so greassy, i dont add any butter to my meals, as a matter of fact i made my thanksgiving turkey without any butter or oil, and it came out great!
Congratulations for the new family member that soon will be joining you! I wish you the best.
and please keep posting great recipes on fb and online… we love it.

Best Regards

Diana Castillo from Dunellen NJ.

78 Ben November 30, 2010 at 5:07 PM

It is very hard! But what I’ve found very helpful is keeping your digestive system working properly. That is where everything starts. And then just try to walk instead of driving of using public transportation. You won’t only get some exercise, but also will be amaze of how much more you can appreciate the place where you live :)

79 Judith December 1, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Easy to follow, genuine advice, Sleep, regular healthy eating, hydrate, and exercise. Those are the main keys to a healthy life.

80 Judith December 1, 2010 at 3:06 PM


81 won December 1, 2010 at 3:12 PM

As my dear friend is fond of reminding me: it’s all about balance.

If I eat poorly one day, it’s okay! Just choose differently tomorrow.

Especially at the holiday times.

82 won December 1, 2010 at 3:14 PM


83 Lisa Foster December 4, 2010 at 9:41 AM

Portion size is a huge problem for me–especially during the holidays. I think if I can keep myself from getting seconds and keeping up with my exercising I will be OK. I am going to increase the amount of walking I do during the week days.

84 Lisa Foster December 4, 2010 at 9:43 AM


85 Debra F December 4, 2010 at 10:46 PM

My strategy for handling the holidays works pretty well for me. I know the days that there will be parties and family get togethers. I allow myself to indulge on those days, but on the remaining days, I am very strict with my intake….steering completely clear of sugar and most carbs.

86 PauleyD December 5, 2010 at 2:04 PM

My strategy is to stay healthy all year round and indulge around the holiday season. I like to work out and I tend to eat clean year round, so when the holidays roll around I don’t feel bad about eating goodies.

87 PauleyD December 5, 2010 at 2:05 PM



88 infamouscoatcheckgirl December 5, 2010 at 7:07 PM

One thing, so simple people forget about it is: water! Drinking sufficient water throughout the day helps your digestive system work properly. It can also calm a lot of those snack-cravings throughout the day— more often than not, you are actually thirsty rather than hungry when you get those cravings.
I’m also a firm believer in sampling everything that looks good. Denying yourself a bite of that cheesecake/cookie/whatever dessert only makes it worse, and can lead to a binge later. So, have a little piece! Eat it slowly and savor it fully…
Most of us don’t really pause to savor our food anyway, which also contributes to over-eating. If you’re watching tv or reading the paper or “digesting” any other sort of information, you miss your body’s cues to stop eating.

Anyway, thanks for your wonderful blog. It’s a great source of joy/nostalgia for me.

89 Eve December 5, 2010 at 10:43 PM

I start excercising more starting in october and then I eat healthy also, i bring a lot of my own foods to holiday dinners

90 Jill H December 6, 2010 at 12:43 AM

I play to use my wii to stay fit during the holiday season. I enjoy dancing and with the wii it is a lot of fun. I’m not a big sweets eater so that part is not hard to avoid. And I’m not a big eater so it’s not too hard for me during the holidays. I just eat a little bit of everything I like.

91 Jill H December 6, 2010 at 12:43 AM




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