Hey, it really is possible to get through the holidays or a big celebration without suffering and depriving yourself or over feeding yourself with food. Imagine that? You can eat well. You can enjoy your food, and you can still lose weight. Or at the very least, you can eat well and enjoy your food without gaining weight, which is a really big accomplishment, too.

The easy secret is to be prepared ahead of time with foods you love. For me, that means making myself something with pumpkin in it. Pumpkin is a perennial and popular holiday favorite for many people. All that's required is a slight shift in ingredients so the recipe works better for you. I've conveniently done this for you in the recipe below.

This pumpkin cheesecake merges the fabulous flavor of pumpkin, the satisfying and filling texture of cheesecake, as well as healthier sugar-free and low-fat ingredients all in one convenient, simple and delicious recipe. Try it and you'll have the exquisite experience of heaven on your tongue. This recipe works for everyone no matter what kind of weight loss regime you prefer.

It's almost impossible to find a low-fat, sugar-free recipe in a store or on the internet, but all it takes is about 15 minutes to shop for the ingredients and another 30 minutes to make it for yourself. You are so worth the small 45-minute effort of having healthier, skinnifying foods that taste good and that you can eat without guilt. Now go do it. I'm rooting for you. XXOO KB

Canola oil or canola spray for pan preparation
24 ounces low-fat cream cheese at room temperature
2/3 cup skim or part skim ricotta
5 large eggs
1 ½ cup sugar-free Splenda (sucralose) or sugar-free sweetener of your choice
15 ounce can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons sugar-free vanilla
Freshly grated nutmeg

1/3 cup pecans or hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat bottom and sides of a 10-inch spring form pan with canola oil. Use canola spray or put some canola oil on a paper towel and rub bottom and sides of pan with the oil.

Put cream cheese in large bowl and beat with electric mixer until smooth. Add ricotta, eggs, pumpkin, Splenda, vanilla and all spices except the nutmeg. Beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Grate nutmeg all over the top of batter in pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until cake rises and slightly browns. Turn off heat and leave in oven for 1 more hour. Remove from heat, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Bring cheesecake to room temperature at least 15 minutes before serving. Remove from spring form ring. Sprinkle with toasted nuts. Serve.

Author's Bio: 

Karen Bentley is an award-winning fitness educator and the creator of The Sugar-Free Miracle Diet System, which was developed especially for out-of-control eaters and for everyone who has not had long-term success with low-fat or low-calorie diets. Get the sugar out, put healthy fat back in, and eat yourself thin. For more info go to www.sugarfreemiracle.com.