TODAY

TODAY   |  November 25, 2013

How to keep your weight stable during holidays

NBC News health and diet editor Madelyn Fernstrom says you can maintain your weight during the holidays by writing down all the food you eat and being mindful of your emotions when eating.

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>> to help you.

>> she's brought along a couple friends, two viewers who told us they would like madeline 's help as well. madeline , this is kind of an interesting concept. we're trying to stay the same.

>> right. just don't gain is what we're going to do over the next six weeks. this is the time of year you want to put on the stretch pants, the baggy dress, call it a day and say, i'll worry about it in january. if you cut the creep now, you're mindful. you can have a great holiday and indulge if you pay a little attention.

>> how much weight do people usually gain during the holiday?

>> you see different amounts. some gain five, some gain a few, but what you gain you typically don't lose over the next year. you can't go by averages and you know yourself what you gain.

>> you're a new mom. you took off that baby weight . how long did that take you to take that off?

>> i would say probably six months.

>> look what you got for it.

>> oh, my god. are you an eggnog drinker?

>> yes. we couldn't wait until the supermarket started selling it for the season. yes, yes. so almost every night.

>> look at you, poised with your -- stop drinking that!

>> you like to put a little dark rum in there, too, don't you?

>> well, if you're going to drink it, make it count, baby.

>> madeline , those liquid calories can really --

>> she's very honest about it. she does a lot of things right but she knows her challenge. it's the eggnog and the red wine as the season goes on. she can pass desserts, which is not a problem. what i love about what she's doing is she's found a way to moderate this. she adds almond milk and cuts it one to one.

>> you make it yourself, in other words, now?

>> well --

>> you weighed everybody before?

>> yes.

>> so kathie, you love to bake.

>> you have to snack and taste it along the way.

>> it's not only you love it, but when you try not to have it it -- who is your husband?

>> benny. he likes to feed you, doesn't he is this.

>> yes, he's the food del delvil. i call him the food devil.

>> what do you do? how do you not get tempted?

>> it's difficult, but i try to find healthier things to do. bake a little different, add a little less sugar.

>> use splenda or anythisomething like that.

>> i actually don't like things unless they're totally natural .

>> she's a baker and she likes to give food as gifts. she has a very famous carrot cake we're hopefully going to sample, but now she keeps her hands busy so she's not eating. healthier doesn't always mean lower in calories.

>> how much weight do you guys usually gain over the holidays?

>> i would say a few. maybe two or three.

>> i have five.

>> do you?

>> yeah. then i struggle in january to get rid of the sugar also, because i like sweets.

>> you're not alone because that's when all the commercials come out for the weight loss . they all come out in january.

>> the best thing to start heading this off is to learn to barter. say, i'm going to have one item so i don't have that. i'm going to have a roll so i won't have that extra glass of wine. you want to be mindful. think before you eat.

>> they're going to add up. last night i did something i've never, ever done before, the first pre-party for the season. it was a beautiful buffet. they were passing around truffle french fries . i had one bite. i said, i'm going to see if i can do it. i took one bite and put it down and looked at it. i thought, okay, that's a start. i was thinking about cutting the creep.

>> and you had that under your belt. the more you succeed at being the taster. we're all worried we'll take a taste and go crazy.

>> but then you feel so arrogant.

>> you start to feel good.

>> yes. yes. can we have the music one more time? okay. i like that. this is going to be fun.

>> we're going to keep checking in, madeline , is that the deal?

>> we're going to keep checking in, they're going to keep track of their calories and be mindful.

>> thank you. we look forward