Help avoid those holiday pounds

Help avoid those holiday pounds

Fitness Matters

Jay and Heidi Bryan

Question: Last year I gained seven pounds during the holidays. How can I avoid this, especially with all the cakes, cookies and other goodies seemingly everywhere? Help!

Answer: You're not the only one! Assuming you're susceptible to sweets and other treats, you really only have three options - go all-out and worry about the ramifications later, avoid them at all costs, or take a reasoned approach and indulge to a modest degree. I think most people would argue that the third idea is the best one.

After all, why not treat yourself to a few holiday goodies, especially if you can limit yourself to one or two here and there.

Be sure not to forget your workouts during this time as well. It's a busy time, but exercise is more important now than at any other time to help balance your caloric intake and help manage the stress of the season.

Completely restricting foods that you truly enjoy only will increase your cravings for them and make for an unhappy holiday season.

Pick one or two foods that maybe are not worth the calories to just avoid or cut back this year, along with increasing your exercise.

Bottom line - it comes down to choice, and you can choose to make healthy decisions or not, but you have to be realistic. Keep variety, moderation and balance in mind and reward yourself for being active all year long!

Question: Boot camps seem to be a pretty popular form of exercise these days. What do you think of these workouts - worth a try?

Answer: You're right: Boot camps are really taking the country by storm. These "group training" sessions have become quite popular at our facility and they offer a great value at a fraction of the cost of personal training.

I personally like the boot camp workouts because they're different. They get you out of your fitness comfort zone. When workouts become stagnant, results and motivation tend to suffer.

Boot camp workouts also tend to focus on multi-joint, full-body movements with both cardio and strength components, which often produce greater fitness benefits or at least more functional, transferable fitness benefits.

But that's not even the best part! Boot camps are a lot of fun, and we all know you're more likely to participate in something that you find enjoyable.

Remember, you always can design your own personalized boot-camp-type workout, too. If you need some help figuring out what to incorporate, talk to a personal trainer at your local gym.

Question: Lately, I've become much more aware of my carbohydrate intake, specifically focusing on sugars. I watch sweets and limit refined grains, but what about fruit? It obviously has a lot of sugar, so should I limit that too?

Answer: Fruit does contain sugar but it also has lots of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. Because of this, there is usually no reason to limit or avoid fruit. In fact, most people could probably use an extra serving or two each day.

The only individuals that may need to moderate their intake a bit would be those dealing with diabetes but even they still can have a few servings daily, as long as they're spaced well throughout the day and combined with other low glycemic foods.

Generally, when we talk about limiting sugar, we're focusing on the added sugars that seem to appear in so many foods as well as junk foods, deserts and candy. Added sugars and high sugar foods contribute significantly to overall carbohydrate and empty calorie intake and are one of the main reasons for the nation's expanding waistlines.

But let's not forget - the nutrient-dense carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables are an important energy source for the brain, red blood cells and our muscles.

About the authors: Jay and Heidi Bryan have more than 30 years combined experience and education in the health and fitness industry. They own Anytime Fitness in Sequim. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the authors at

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