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Some tips to hold the waistline steady this year

A whole lot of eating and drinking goes on during the six-week holiday spree that starts with Thanksgiving and ends with the pop of a champagne cork at New Year's. The average American is about a pound heavier when it's all over, according to the National Institutes of Health.

That doesn't sound so bad. The trouble is that most people never lose the extra fluff, so each year we get fatter. Here are some tips to help you maintain their weight in the face of eggnog, fudge and deep-fried turkey.

PICK THE BEST, LEAVE THE REST

You don't have to forgo treats entirely, but you should be selective, says registered dietitian Marie Shelton. On Thanksgiving, don't automatically load your plate with a helping from every dish. "Just choose what you really want to eat and skip the rest," she advises.

WINDOW SHOPPING IS EXERCISE, TOO

As to-do lists get crowded with shopping and parties, exercise can be one of the first things cut to make room. Compensate by building physical activity into holiday chores, Shelton says. Instead of jockeying for the parking space closest to the mall entrance, park far away and get in a brisk walk. Too cold for strolling in the open air? Arrive at the mall 30 minutes early and do a few laps inside before you start shopping, Shelton suggests.

NEED MORE INSPIRATION?

Here are some Web sites that offer healthful holiday recipes and menus:

- www.eatingwell.com/recipes/collections/holiday_collection_1.html

- www.foodfit.com/centers/holidays/thanksgiving/thanksgiving.asp

- www.cancerproject.org/recipes/

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