Watch portion sizes this holiday

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By Kent Pegg

Here come the holidays! That great time of year that’s filled with fun, family, and festivities. Unfortunately, it can also be filled with food, fat, and failed exercise programs.The next few weeks will, undoubtedly, be the toughest weeks of the year to maintain your regular exercise and nutrition habits. Many challenges will come between now and the end of the year, and you’ll need to work hard to stay in shape or, at least, prevent falling too out of shape.Possibly the biggest holiday pitfall is portion size. So much focus is placed on our holiday meals that it’s almost impossible to prevent overeating. Try your best to limit your portions of heavy sauces and gravies and eat a variety of foods. Enjoy several smaller meals and you’ll limit your total calorie intake and feel better about the day.Holiday parties and get-togethers also pose potential disasters. Potlucks mean pigging out. Buffets are belly busters. And cookie parties are calorie catastrophes.You’ll need to summon all your inner health strength if you’re going to stay on track. Again, don’t try to totally abstain from all the goodies available, just limit your intake.And look ahead to know when potential nutritional dangers are coming. For instance, if you have two parties coming up on the weekend, try to eat well during the week to minimize the impact.It’s also good to pay close attention to exactly what you’re eating during this time of year. Some of those potluck choices may look healthy and inviting but things are often not what they appear. Don’t be afraid to ask what went into preparing the food and adjust your intake as needed.That goes for snacking at work as well. More cookies and cakes will be appearing around the office. Pick and choose to avoid the higher fat and calorie options. And consider making your own goodies to take in and share. That way you’ll know for sure what you’re getting and your coworkers may appreciate it too.Gym workouts will often suffer this time of year as well. Whatever you do, don’t take a few weeks off from your regular workout program. Not only will your body suffer during the time off but it’ll also struggle for a few weeks after you get back to working out.Avoid the muscle loss and fat gain by continuing your regular workout schedule when possible. And, since your regular schedule may be thrown off a bit by other activities, try to add in a workout any other time you get a chance.By picking up an occasional hour in the gym on the weekend or in the evening, when you might not normally work out, your body will be in good shape and ready to hit it hard after the holiday season is over.So go off and enjoy all that life has to offer this holiday season. But do it in moderation. A little self control and discipline will go a long way to ensuring that, come the first of the year, you’re as fit and healthy as ever.

NOTE: As part of the LAFC Monthly Health Series, Los Alamos Fitness Center is offering a special class on Staying Healthy and Fit through the Holidays. Classes will be held on Mondays at 1 p.m. These classes are free to the public and everyone is welcome to attend. For more information call 662-5232.

Kent Pegg is a certified personal trainer and the owner of the Los Alamos Fitness Center. If you have any questions about the information or exercises in this story, you can call him at 662-5232.