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Avoid mindless eating this season

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Avoid mindless eating this season
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It’s easy to fall off the diet wagon during the holidays, with food and fun going hand in hand. Because of that, the American Heart Association is urging people to avoid mindless eating. Our Elyse Mickalonis has more on what experts say you can do to stay fit and healthy.

VESTAL, N.Y. -- The holidays can be a time of celebration, entertainment and relaxation, three things experts say can really pack on the pounds.

"You do things more out of the norm, more dinners out, more dinners with family. So it's really easy to get taken off track from when you'd usually be moving to a more sedentary lifestyle,” said Jessica Surdey, American Heart Association Volunteer and BU Lecturer.

The American Heart Association wants people to avoid mindless eating this holiday season. They say you don't have to deny yourself some of your favorite treats, just don't go overboard.

"Don't deprive yourself, because you'll have the tendency to crash and burn and eat more of it,” said Surdey.

Experts say it’s important to pay attention to your body. Don’t just reach in the fridge, because the clock says noon. Instead, wait until you actually feel hungry, but don’t starve yourself, because that can have some negative impacts too.

"People have a tendency to drink more caffeine during times of stress, skip meals, more alcohol and skipping meals is the worst thing, because you slow down your metabolism even more,” said Surdey.

"A lot of people around the holidays rush, rush, rush and they tend to not eat for a long time and then they overeat,” said Traci Meier, Inspire Fitness Co-owner.

Surdey says people need to plan meals, slow down and pay attention when you’re eating.

"Texting, watching TV, even something as simple as a cocktail party, you get caught up in conversation and you keep eating,” said Surdey.

Another way to burn off those holiday calories is exercise, but you don't always have to hit the gym.

"Go outside and shovel, when the family is in town take the dogs for a walk especially after a big meal,” said Meier.

The American Heart Association says more than 80 percent of heart disease can be prevented by easy lifestyle changes, ones you can start over the holidays and maintain beyond.

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