Restraint key in holiday feasting

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

Restraint.

It is a word, and a concept, horridly out of place during the holiday season, especially around Thanksgiving. It is possible, however, to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving feast without causing irreparable damage to the waistline, according to local fitness experts.

“The entire holiday season is the season of gluttony,” said Gym X Fitness and Exercise Specialist and Pain Management Therapist Kenneth White. “But it’s not one Thanksgiving that will kill you. It’s the culmination of being 30 years old and having 30 bad Thanksgivings.”

With a little common sense, White said, individuals can avoid gaining extra pounds, and a guilty conscience, during the holidays. Here are some words of wisdom from White, as well as a few tips from other local fitness experts:

Examine your plate and your cup. Extra calories are packed on not only through food, but through drinks, White said. “You can consume as many calories from what you drink as from what you eat,” the fitness expert said. Alcoholic beverages are especially detrimental to weight watchers, he said. Beer, wine, and other liquor contain lots of empty calories, which serve no purpose in the body, unlike calories from protein rich or fatty foods, White said. Soda and other beverages can be substituted with water, which aids in digestion, said “OC” Cleare, owner of a local gym called Bodies in Motion, and Bodies in Motion Personal Fitness Coach Rob Ward.

Moderation, moderation, moderation. No Thanksgiving would be complete without sweet treats and second helpings, even fitness experts understand this. Simply watch portion sizes and eat in moderation, they said. “It’s OK to have some cake. But you don’t have to eat five pieces to show grandma, and everybody else, that you liked what they cooked,” White said. Also, eat a small snack before your main meal, and eat slowly, said Ward. This, he said, will help cut down on the amount you consume.

Get up. The key to being healthy is exercise, fitness experts stressed. That doesn’t mean running a marathon after eating four slices of turkey; it does mean moving around, White said. “Try to get a little natural exercise. Talk a walk and look at Christmas lights. Rake the leaves. Walk the dog. Do something that requires movement,” White said.