Fact: The average person eats almost 5,000 calories on Thanksgiving. That includes the 3000 calorie turkey feast, plus other meals and noshes throughout the day. That’s over 2 days worth of calories.
Fact: Eating an excess of 3500 calories (that means 3500 calories more than what your body can burn) equals 1 pound of fat. The average woman naturally burns 1700 calories and the average man burns 2,000 calories everyday without exercising. That’s called metabolism. Those are the calories needed to function. So if you’re eating 5000 calories in one day- 3000 calories beyond your daily need of 2000, that’s almost a 1 pound weight gain in 1 day.
Yet somehow, in the end, studies show that the average person gains just 1 pound total over the holiday season. And while that is obviously not a number that carries enough weight to derail your holiday joy, forcing you to opt for only a sliver of white meat turkey, a tablespoon of stuffing, and passing on the pie all together, you should know that that 1 pound tends to stick… for good. SO, imagine that you gain just 1 pound every year for 30 years. Add it up and that’s a 30 pound weight gain. That favorite holiday dress you like to don year in and year out, not going to fit for long.
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to gain even that 1 pound at all. I’m not about to suggest that you starve yourself of holiday joy (of eating), because we all know that you’re going to likely stuff your face anyway. Just try to make smart choices on what and when to gorge. And try these 7 ways to not gain a pound this holiday season:
1. Stop the “It’s a Special Occasion” Excuse.
It’s easy to rationalize any day as being a special occasion. And while any day might hold significance in your head or heart, that doesn’t mean you have to celebrate it through your stomach. I’m not saying to skip the pie. I’m saying that you don’t need to take the leftovers home and eat it the next day for breakfast. You also don’t need to eat 5 pigs in a blanket at your boss’ cocktail party, or devour an entire artichoke (and cheese) dip (plus the chips) during hors d’oeuvres hour.
2. Workout 6 days a Week for 45-60 minutes.
That doesn’t mean you have to work out for 45-60 consecutive minutes. You can break it up into 2 or even 3 workouts. And that doesn’t mean that you have to hit the gym or go for a run. What that means is that you have to get your heart rate up, get out of breath, sweat, and burn calories- whether on the basketball court, in an aerobics class, or during a quickie in bed. Just do SOMEthing.
3. Take the Stairs.
Take the extra step, go the extra mile, forget the escalator, get up to change the channel on the TV, park far away from the grocery store or mall entrance. Yes, the little things do add up.
4. Drink 8 glasses of Cold Water Daily.
Water aids weight loss, makes you feel full, and the cold temperature causes your body to burn a few more calories to warm it up.
5. Eat Bites with Benefits.
There are lots of bites with benefits for fat burning! Ex: Spicy peppers and ginger are “hot herbs” that help increase the body’s metabolism, citrus fruits like grapefruit help to break down and flush out fats, and fat free yogurt has been shown to discourage the absorption of fat. READ: Fat Burning Foods Shopping List
6. Think Before You Eat.
Are putting that forkful of pecan pie in your mouth because you’re hungry, or because you’re bored/lonely/sad/angry? Avoiding emotional eating can save you from gorging on 100s, even 1000s or calories each day.
7. Don’t be Defeatist.
So what if you ate too much during one meal. Doesn’t mean that you’ve “already ruined your diet so you may as well go all the way!” If your child fell down would you tell her that she may as well not get up? No! If you eat too much during one meal, do your best to be better during the next, and maybe sneak in an additional quickie 15-minute workout or suggest a group walk post dinner.
In the end, it’s not the big holiday dinner that’s going to balloon you. Just like eating just celery for a day isn’t going to suddenly make you skinny. It’s the daily, ongoing decisions. Sure, splurge on Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas if you want to. DON’T splurge during the holidays- as in every day during the holidays. When you do splurge, enjoy every bite of holiday dinner tastiness. I know I will.