The average (sedentary) adult needs between 1,600 (for women) and 2,200 (for men) calories per day. Yet the average Thanksgiving dinner is almost two times that amount!
Don’t believe me? Here are some numbers from, Dr. Cedric Bryant, Chief Science Officer of The American Council on Exercise*:
-Turkey (dark meat with skin): Serving size: Two – three slices (8 oz.), Calories: 430
-Stuffing: Serving size: 1 cup, Calories: 320
-Green bean casserole: Serving size: 1 serving, Calories: 160
-Mashed potatoes and gravy: Serving size: 1 cup + 1/4 cup of gravy, Calories: 240 + 205 (445 total)
-Cranberry sauce: Serving size: 1 slice, Calories: 85
-Cornbread: Serving size: 1 piece, Calories: 175
-Sweet potatoes with marshmallows: Serving size: 1 heaping scoop, Calories: 610
-White wine: Serving size: 1 glass, Calories: 120
-Pecan pie: Serving size: 1 slice, Calories: 505
-Pumpkin pie: Serving size: 1 slice, Calories: 320
Total Calories: 3,170
Now, I would never tell you not to enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner. Get your chow down on! Relax and feast, especially if you limit the feasting to one day. On the other hand, being prepared never hurt anyone. So, here are my five strategies to help you make sure you still fit into your skinny jeans on November 28th:
- Do a pre-game workout – You know that working out can boost your metabolism, so getting in a sweat session before the big meal can help you minimize the damage. Another benefit of a Thanksgiving morning workout? It may help you make better choices and eat less at the big meal. Read this post ’til the end to get your Thanksgiving day workout.
- Keep It Slow and Low – Eat slowly and lower your caloric intake. You stomach can hold about 4 liters of volume – say what? That’s a little over a gallon of milk. Most people reach satiety at 1 -1.5 liters (but perhaps not on Thanksgiving Day). When you eat, chemicals are released as a result of food being in your stomach. These chemicals tell the brain that you’re full, but it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register these chemicals. Eat too fast and you’ll most likely eat too much. Instead of gobbling down your food, slow yourself down. Take time to chew and savor every bite, put your utensils down between bites, TALK to all those relative you don’t get to see the other 364 days of the year. Just please don’t talk with your month full!
3. Walk It Off – by going for a 15 minute post-dinner walk. Research studies have shown that a brief walk of 15 minutes after a big meal can aid digestion and lower blood sugar. Before dessert go for a walk. Yes, it’s cold, but that’s why God made scarves and hats. Bonus points if you take the family dog.
4. Be mindful of your Hunger Signals – We talk about these a lot in our Performance Fitness nutrition program. Think about how you feel when you’re full and then think about how you feel when you’re physically hungry on a scale of 1 to 10. One is FULL or STUFFED, like “Thanksgiving-dinner-I-really-did-eat-3-slices-of-pie-where-are-my-sweatpants?” full (ahem). Ten is head-achy, a tearful rage, I’d eat my left shoe if I could. Now tomorrow (and everyday) try to eat to 80% fullness. We’ll call that a level 2 or 3 on our scale. Sated, but not stuffed.
5. Get Back in the Groove – your workout groove that is. Now, I’m not one who believes in punishment workouts (unless of course you abuse our Performance Fitness workout equipment). The post-meal workout punishment mindset sets you up for the binge-guilt-punishment-restrict-repeat cycle. It’s a useless exercise and a pretty damaging mindset. However, a workout the day after a big meal can recharge you physically and mentally, and be just the metabolic boost you need.
If you’re in town and in need of a post-Thanksgiving workout or if you just need an excuse to get away from your family OR if you really like your family and want to spend some quality time with them, join us for Friday at 9am in Wynnewood for our annual Turkey Buster Workout. The price of admission is one can of food per person for our food drive for Philabundance. Get all the details and register here: www.performancefitnessllc.com/event/turkeybuster
Oh, and here’s your Thanksgiving Pre-Game Workout:
*“How Many Calories You’ll Eat this Thanksgiving” abcnews.go.com. 25 Nov. 2014.