Don't want to pack on the pounds this holiday season? You don't have to! Here, readers reveal their favorite ways to tone up, trim down, and feel great.

By Julie Knapp
October 05, 2005

Write On

I'm a registered dietitian, but I still have trouble eating well with two kids in the house. So I started a food journal with a running calorie count. I never realized how much I was eating until I put it on paper. The summer I started the journal, I lost a pound a week.Althea Zanecosky; Lafayette Hill, Pa.

Schedule In Some FitnessI made a commitment to do sit-ups, push-ups, and stretches first thing after work each day. That way, it's built into my day, and I can't make excuses later on. Plus, I bond with my son, Zack. I make him laugh with funny faces after each set or sing songs to him as I go.Jennifer Levine; Marlboro, N.J.

Babysitters' ClubI got together with a group of other moms who agreed to take turns watching one another's kids while the rest of us went to the gym. I've become so dedicated to getting fit that I've even started training for my first triathlon!Kris Murphy; Flower Mound, Tex.

Bike It!I usually drive my son, Julius, home from day care, but twice a week I pick him up on my bike-an eight-mile round-trip trek. We put on our helmets, I strap him into the child's seat, and off we go. He loves the ride, and I love the exercise. We use the bike when we go on quick errands too.Anette Breindl; San Diego, Calif.

Take-Along TreatsBetween meeting clients for work and caring for my 9-month-old, I'm always on the go. My trick is to never leave home without a small cooler packed with fresh fruit, bottled water, and trail mix. This way, when hunger hits, I'm not tempted to hit the drive-through.Debra Wein; Boston, Mass.

Buddy SystemMy friends and I started what we call our "Body Beautiful-In Progress" group. Each week, nine of us e-mail goals and tips to each other. The inspiring stories keep us on track. I lost 15 pounds in three months!Teranne Keogh; Dallas, Tex.

Breakfast BoostMy secret diet treat is high-fiber cereal. It helps me feel full all morning so I don't splurge on sugary snacks or get so hungry that I eat a big lunch. To sweeten it up a bit, I toss in a handful of raisins.Eileen Donnelly; Chicago, Ill.

Let's Make a DealBoth my husband and I want to lose weight, so we made a pact. If I lost 30 pounds, he'd buy me a sofa. If he lost 20 pounds, I'd let him golf once a month for a year. Whenever temptation hits, I just think doughnut or sofa-then reach for the fruit.Sarah Smiley; Pace, Fla.

Every Step CountsI hate exercise, but I don't mind walking. So I bought a pedometer, and I give myself daily goals like 9,000 steps. That way, if I see I've only gone 5,000 steps by lunchtime, I know I need to take a walk when I get home. Without the counter, I'd never get motivated to move.Kris Brown; Scottsdale, Ariz.

Sweet PopsI have a huge sweet tooth, so I found a healthy snack to satisfy my cravings. I throw fruit and fat-free yogurt into the blender, then freeze the mixture in molds for fun frozen treats. The best part is that I can make enough for the whole week in just a few minutes.Melissa Boyd; Sachse, Tex.

Soccer MomI've been coaching my daughter Madi's soccer team for years. You wouldn't believe how much energy it takes to chase the ball up and down the field. Even better than keeping fit, I'm setting a healthy example for my daughter and her friends.Loni Land; Hillsboro, Ore.

Kitchen CurfewI realized I was doing the most snacking right before bed. Once I identified when my cravings kicked in, I made the fridge off-limits after 7 p.m. If I'm hungry, I have some fruit or a slice of toast with peanut butter on it, and that's all. Now I love hitting the sack without feeling stuffed.Cindy Evans, Orlando, Fla.

Copyright © December 2003, Julie Knapp. Reprinted from December 2003 issue with permission of Parents Magazine.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

Parents Magazine