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Calorie-free ways to get your food fix

Vicki Salemi is passionate about writing. As a regular contributor to AOL, MSN and numerous sites and publications she also blogs regularly for CNBC European Business, Women for Hire and Manhattan adventures on her website www.vickisalem...

Holiday food fixes without the weight

Let's face it: With the Christmas season already upon us, we're looking at a probable five- to seven-pound weight gain come January 1. If we succumb to temptation, that is. Just because a ton of holiday cookies are within reach at the office or you think you can't resist the bottomless egg nog drinks at a party, doesn't mean you have to consume with your mouth. Here are some low-calorie and calorie-free ways to get your food fix during this holiday season.

Woman drinking hot drink

Satisfy your cravings without actually eating

Hard to believe, but there are ways to get your cravings satisfied without actually eating. That's right, if you crank up your other senses you'll be able to get your game on with a few substitutions, like candles. NEST candles recently launched Godiva candles. Yes, we said Godiva, as in one word: divine! If chocolate isn't your thing, there are several other food-scented candles awaiting you. Simply pick your passion and enjoy the scent that lingers in your room for hours instead of indulging in a treat that will linger for days…on your hips!

Marianne Bellino, CHC, MBA advises, "Buy a pumpkin spice candle and indulge in the aroma without eating mega calories." Marianne is a wellness coach, educator, and consultant who specializes in nutrition, fitness, and life/stress/time management solutions.

Bikini on? Now start your holiday baking

Bellino also emphasizes the importance of looking the part in the kitchen. Although you may be able to resist temptation a la delicious scented candles, you may not be able to escape baking duties. Her advice? "Wear a bikini while baking holiday cookies to keep your focus on the skinny, eat just one, and gift the rest," she adds.

Grab a low-fat snack

Absolutely gotta have a bite or drink of something? Bellino recommends treating yourself to a low-fat snack instead of grabbing for the nearest truffles or leftover cheesecake. She suggests, "Mix a few tablespoons of cocoa with hot water, cinnamon, some Godiva dark chocolate pearls and/or a small piece of candy cane. Top with steamed milk...this is a decadent low-fat, low-cal, low-sugar treat that won't put on the pounds."

Get your game plan ready

Debi Silber (a.k.a. The Mojo Coach), MS, RD, WHC and author of The Lifestyle Fitness Program: A Six Part Plan So Every Mom Can Look, Feel and Live Her Best recommends having a game plan once you leave your house. It's one thing to be able to get your sensory intake at home, it's quite another to handle it on the road.

For example, Silber advises enjoying the look and scent of treats in a bakery by buying a treat for someone else. "What better gift is it when you give something you absolutely love? You'll be flooding yourself with endorphins as you do something thoughtful, kind and loving." Buyer beware, however. Silber recommends entering the bakery with no extra money, since you might unwittingly convince yourself you need treats as well.

Shop around your trigger times

Silber also recommends going shopping for treats during an off hour and on a full stomach. "If chocolate won't trigger you at 10 in the morning, then go shopping then…and don't go in hungry," she suggests. By going food shopping on a full stomach, you'll keep your judgment intact.

Choose your purse wisely

You can also keep your portions intact when partying it up this holiday season by holding a purse. "I recommend the clutch trick," says Silber. "Bring a clutch bag and you've eliminated one hand." Or even if you use a small purse and hold it, you'll now only be able to drink or eat instead of doing it simultaneously.

Determine portions before dessert

Silber also suggests having a game plan before you head to a Christmas party. After all, watching the waistline goes back to basics. Will you give yourself permission to enjoy three bites of a decadent dessert or will you prefer to eat a roll with butter? Decide ahead of time what you will be able to enjoy and what you will decide to pass up and most importantly, stick to it.

Reach for the goal instead of the Godiva

During moments of temptation this holiday season (or anytime of the year), simply remember to keep your eye on the prize. Bellino says, "Post a picture of your dream body on the refrigerator and your pda's home screen....visualization will keep you focused on your goals and easily help you diss those things that won't help you reach them."

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