Do NOT fall into the Turkey Slump!

We are quickly approaching Thanksgiving and the holiday events that come with this season. You might be starting to feel the air getting colder so the sweat pants feel necessary. According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories just on Thanksgiving Day alone. During Thanksgiving Day alone means you will be gaining 1.28 lbs just by consuming food. That does not consider all the turkey leftovers to be eaten throughout the next few weeks.

Top 3 Ways to avoid the “Stuffing” of calories and kicking weight gain of the holidays

  1. Increase physical activity

According to the American Heart Association, by just taking 40 minutes to go to the gym or go outside to enjoy a jog or run you can release endorphins in your body to reduce the stress of the holidays and expend those extra calories that are consuming or will consume. Don’t do this activity alone. Take family members with you and make it a new healthy tradition to go on a walk around the neighborhood or in the park before or following the heavy meals

2. Reduce your fat intake and decrease serving sizes

There are a few ways to avoid the significant increase of caloric intake by simply eating lower-fat and reduced-calorie foods throughout the day. According to the American Heart Association, it is important to prepare for the holidays to be able to handle the worst temptation of having all of the bad foods. One other simple modification that can be made to avoid increased unnecessary caloric intake is taking smaller portions. Instead of getting a serving of the pecan pie and a full serving of the pumpkin pie, take a small slice of each to enhance your portion control.  Lastly, if you are cooking then prepare the food using low-fat options to make the recipe both tasty and better for everyone to consume.

3.  Plan ahead

Knowing how many calories and nutrients are in the meal your are going to have before you eat it will help keep you accountable and help you to control over eating and avoiding the weight gain. According to a recent study performed in Indianapolis by ACSM, getting pre-holiday screenings can also help you plan ahead. The subjects in their study were screened for weight, cholesterol and other factors before and after the holiday season. They were also required to log their nutritional intake. Lead researcher Sukho Lee, Ph.D., believed that this would help them with motivation to watch their weight and make better decisions. Sukho Lee stated, “Instead of telling people what they already know—diet and exercise—we asked them to check their body weight and record what they eat.” This lead to a subconscious effect of knowing someone else will be checking your diet and then checking your weight gain at the end.

At the end of the holiday season, no one will be checking your weight or judging you based on your choices. You are the only person who controls how you feel, what you eat, and how active you are. Make a new holiday tradition this year by taking a holiday walk or incorporating some physical activity throughout the day to keep your endorphins up to avoid the turkey slump that can come with the holiday season.

References:

AHA|ASA Massachusetts. (2014). Heart healthy thanksgiving tips. Retrieved from:             https://massachusetts.heart.org/heart-healthy-thanksgiving-tips/

Calorie Control Council. (2017). Stuff the bird, not yourself: how to deal with the 3,000 calorie   thanksgiving meal. Healthy Eating and Exercise for Life. Retrieved from:             https://caloriecontrol.org/stuff-the-bird-not-yourself-how-to-deal-with-the-3000-calorie-       thanksgiving-meal/

ACSM. (2017). Pre-holiday health screening may help fight weight gain. Retrieved from:             http://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/news-releases/2011/08/01/pre-holiday-         health-screening-may-help-fight-weight-gain

 

 

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Assistant Professor, Kinesiology and Health Studies department