By Staff Sgt. Nestor Cruz
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Tis the season for family get-togethers, office holiday parties and cookie drives. What do these events have in common? Food…lots of food. As people load their plates with cakes and pies, getting a good workout drops on the priority list.
Why do people fall into this annual holiday trap?
“People are so busy that they don’t take time to stay with their fitness program,” said Jeffery Vaughn, 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron exercise physiologist. “The other thing is all the wrong foods are readily available. People stop watching portion control and get away from their regular diet.”
Vaughn said people can cut calories by making wiser choices before heading out to the next holiday party.
“Even though there is going to be plenty of food and choices, you can still make better choices,” he said. “You’ve got to have a plan. If you don’t have a plan, you fall into a trap and just eat whatever’s out there.”
Indiscriminate binge eating and lack of physical activity make up the perfect recipe for adding on holiday pounds.
“Most people don’t realize one can put on 10-15 pounds in a week,” Vaughn said. “How much is 10 pounds? Well, try grabbing a 10 pound medicine ball and running with it.”
Jill Hinsley, 19th AMDS registered dietician, recommends limiting splurges and choosing healthier foods.
“Fill up on fruit and veggies at your next holiday party,” said Hinsley. “You get the fullness and satisfaction without taking in too many calories and carbs.”
Health and Wellness Center staff members say a little indulgence is acceptable but advise people to have a fitness plan to avoid adding extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
“On the fitness side, a lot of people think that if they don’t spend an hour or more in the gym, then it’s not beneficial,” said Vaughn. “If you have 15-20 minutes and can be consistent, you’ll burn calories and maintain cardiovascular fitness. The bottom line is you can break up your workout however you want to and still have time to spend with the family.”
Some Airmen, like Staff Sgt. Jaclyn Cole, 373rd Training Squadron Detachment 4 hydraulic instructor, know how difficult it is to get back in shape.
“Some people just sit around and get fat and unhealthy while they’re pregnant, which I kind of did with my first pregnancy,” Cole said. “I learned my lesson when I had to recover afterward. I had to work my tail off to get back to where I could score above a 90. I exercised every day to get back in shape.”
Cole said she likes food and sweets as much as anybody but knows she needs to work out that much harder.
“It’s hard, especially during the holidays, because food is more abundant,” she said. “It’s OK to give in a little bit, but that is an even more reason to work out.
“I believe it’s important to stay in shape,” Cole adds. “It’s your body. You have to keep physically fit so you can live longer and healthier.”