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Ask the Anytime Guy

Posted November 07, 2012 in Advice Column, Norwalk

Q: I’m sure you knew this was coming. How do I manage my food intake during the holidays, especially with all the cakes, cookies and other goodies seemingly everywhere? Help!

A: Interestingly enough, the answer depends almost entirely on you. 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. And don’t forget to continue with your workouts during this time as well. Restricting foods that you truly enjoy will only increase your cravings for them and make for an unhappy holiday season. 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.

Q: I’ve tried numerous diets in the past few years, but for some reason, my attempts always seem to end in failure. Can you explain this?

A: You may have some personal reasons for your lack of success, so I can’t comment on that. However, I think we can safely sum up diet failures in three problematic scenarios. The first is the fact that almost all diet plans are too restrictive. Either there are not enough calories, too few carbohydrates or very little solid food, which ends up leaving people feeling unsatisfied and yearning for more of what their plans are missing. Plus, if you’re getting too little of one thing, you’re probably getting too much of another. Clearly, this is not the way to achieve variety, balance and moderation in your eating plan. Another potential problem is a general lack of monitoring. If you’re not paying attention to how much you’re eating, exercising, sleeping and working, it’s going to become increasingly difficult to be successful. Research has proven this time and time again, but monitoring your progress takes extra work, and many never commit the time and energy needed to keep track of their habits. The last issue, and probably one of the most obvious, is the fact that people always seem to be looking for a quick fix. They simply aren’t interested in — or haven’t fully committed to — changing their behaviors permanently. Any changes made are generally short-lived, which means you’ll probably be back in the same boat in the very near future. Most diets are simply short-terms solutions to a long-term problem. Weight gain doesn’t happen overnight, and because of this, it takes some serious planning and hard work to overcome.

Joe Nguyen is the club owner at Anytime Fitness in Norwalk. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at

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