Do you belong to a group of Americans who regularly gain 5 to 15 pounds over the holiday season? If you are a victim of seasonal weight gain, the American Heart Association offers a solution.

The educational, "Slim for Life," program begins a new session January 14.Classes teach nutrition behavior modification and weight control to anyone who wants to stop dieting and make a lifestyle change.

Susan Ward, R.D., and Heart Association nutrition director suggested, "Family traditions of cookies after school or hot rolls every night need not be forgotten but can be changed to promote a healthier lifestyle. We need to gain control of the emotions associated with eating habits to gain power over food, rather than allowing food to maintain power over us."

When we eat a bad food and boost our calorie intake for the day, feelings of guilt or depression occur. Discouragement often motivates additional eating.

Ward suggested two ways to combat this attitude trap, "Resist making rigid rules about foods you can or cannot eat, an exact calorie level or an exercise regimen. When you slip, talk to yourself and analyze reasons for your behavior."

Self control, modifying recipes and getting through excuses are some of the topics covered in the 10-week course.

Slim for Life classes meet one hour per week for 10 weeks. The registration fee for the course is $60, which is reduced to $50 if you preregister. Registration can be paid by check, cash or credit card. Visa or Mastercard is accepted for telephone registrations. Please mail registrations to the American Heart Association, Utah Affiliate, 645 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84102.

An additional refund of $10 is given to participants who lose 15 pounds or meet their ideal weight. Another $10 is refunded to those who attend 9 of 10 classes. For further information call the American Heart Association at 322-5601 or 1-800-523-7472.

Classes will be held at YWCA Downtown, First Methodist Church, South Salt Lake Government Building, East High, Highland Cove, Highland High, Sprague Library, Foothill Instacare, East Millcreek Library, Holladay Library, Murray High, Whitmore Library, Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center, Alta Canyon Sports Center, South Jordan Library, Draper City Offices, West Jordan Library, West Valley Library, Park Library, Kearns Library, Woods Cross High School, Cantebury Hall, Bountiful High, Davis High, Layton High, Roy High and Weber County offices.