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Holiday Trap!!!

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AAHH!!! yes, Thanksgiving.  The start of the eating season, I mean the holiday season.  But don’t let the temptation of all that food scare you.  Remember you have two options.  The first option is to just forget the commitment you made and pig out and feel like crap for a couple of days.  That was me three years ago.  The second option is to make good food choices, watch your portions and feel great.

This week people have asked me what I was going to eat on Thanksgiving and I told them the truth.  I’m going to eat healthy and make good choices, as always.  You don’t have to give into the temptation, simply plan ahead (I’ll talk about this later) and enjoy watching others stuff there faces and regret it hours later.

Calories Add Up
People ask me why I don’t give in for just one day, “Come on . . its Thanksgiving”.  Here is the reason I don’t.  It takes around 3,500 excess calories to add one pound of fat to your body.  That’s a lot of calories.  The bad news is that many holiday meals are huge.  For instance, a typical Thanksgiving meal of turkey, gravy, sweet potato, cornbread stuffing, rolls, vegetables and pumpkin pie will usually total between 3,000 to 4,000 calories.  Unless you’re eating your dinner on an treadmill, you’re looking at putting on nearly a pound in just one meal.

Damage Control Methods
There are two strategies in holiday damage control.  One is preemptive and the other is reactive.  If you want to keep the damage to a minimum, I would suggest using both methods.

1.) Preemptive Damage Control
The key to preemptive damage control is planning ahead.  During the holiday season you should continue your exercise routine.  For years I would take a break during the holidays and only workout 2 or 3 times a week.  Now, I make sure that I keep pushing play everyday and stick to my workout schedule.  One reason this is a good idea is because its like putting money or “burned calories” in the bank.  If you’re planning on eating a large holiday meal in the 3,500-calorie range, increase your calorie burn by about 500 calories per day for seven days leading up to your meal.  You are in effect, losing the weight before you put it on.

I also suggest that you eat a small meal before the eating frenzy begins.  I will eat a light snack about an hour before I go to any get-together to eat.  By doing this I keep myself from starving and over eating once I get there.  In the old days I would eat very little if any thing before and then stuff my face until I was sick the rest of the night.  It tasted good going in, but I felt like crap afterwords.  I usually do not recommend this. Here’s why, If you skip meals earlier in the day to “prepare” for a big  feast at night, you are thinking only in terms of calories, but skipping  meals is also depriving yourself of protein (amino acids), carbohydrates,  essential fats, vitamins, minerals and other valuable nutrients that come  from healthy food, as well as the small frequent meals which help control  your appetite, stabilize your blood sugar and provide a steady flow of amino  acids to your muscles. Skipping breakfast is especially detrimental.

Not only that, but eating less early in the day in anticipation of  overeating later in the day is much more likely to increase your appetite,  causing you to binge or eat even MORE than you thought you would at night  when the big meal does arrive.

2.) Reactive Damage Control
Your main holiday meal isn’t the only source of excess calories. What about the extra piece of pie or the late night leftover snacks?  Don’t forget about the glasses of eggnog or the chocolate chip cookies you munched on.  These are food items we all end up consuming during the holidays.  They’re hard to resist and we sometimes eat them without even thinking about it.  No worries!  These unplanned “sneaky” calories can be taken care of with a little prior planning.  This is called “reactive damage control.”  Before I leave the house to go to a Thanksgiving gathering I pack a few of my favorite healthy snacks.  This helps me enjoy myself without reaching for the chocolate chip cookies that are loaded with fat and sugar.  It might sound extreme but I’m not the one making New Year’s resolutions about weight loss that I know I’m not going to keep.

In case you needed more reasons not to pig out this Thanksgiving, here is a list of the work you will have to do just to lose the weight you put on during the Holiday season.

The Eggnog Eater
One eight-ounce glass of regular eggnog contains approximately 340 calories.  You must run or walk over three miles on level ground to burn off one serving of eggnog. This knowledge alone may convince you to go easy on the eggnog.

Pumpkin Pie Destroyer
A typical slice of pumpkin pie contains about 320 calories.  That means three miles of running to burn this snack off.

Leftover Gobbler
Is there anyone out there who doesn’t raid the refrigerator for a leftover turkey sandwich?  It’s a holiday tradition.  A turkey sandwich containing three ounces of roast turkey and two slices of whole wheat bread has around 335 calories.  That’s assuming you don’t add any butter, margarine or mayonnaise.  One tablespoon of margarine or mayo will add about 100 calories or one more mile of running to your grand total.  You would have to run at your normal easy run pace for three miles to burn off this holiday tradition.

Sometimes knowing the calorie content in a food isn’t enough of a deterrent to keep us from eating them.  Learning how much we must exercise to burn them off can have more of an effect.  Here’s the distance you must run to burn off some popular holiday fares.

Eight ounces of eggnog – 3.25 miles
– Three ounces of turkey – 1.25 miles
– One slice of pumpkin pie – 3 miles
– One slice of apple pie – 3.75 miles
– One slice of pecan pie – 6 miles
– Three ounces of roast beef – 3 miles
– One cup of mashed potatoes – 3 miles
– One cup of baked sweet potatoes – 2.5 miles
– One cup of bread stuffing – 4 miles
– Two rolls with butter – 3 miles
– One cup of gravy – 2 miles
– One cup of canned cranberry sauce – 4 miles
– One cup of string beans – 1/3 mile
– One cup of carrots – 1/5 mile

I don’t know about you but I’ve worked extremely hard to get the body I’ve always wanted and I don’t want to put my hard work in jeopardy for a couple of disastrous meals that could set me back weeks.

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