Thanksgiving is a holiday that is literally centered around the dinner table, topped with a tremendous feast. What we need to keep in mind however, is that the holiday is more about giving thanks and spending time with friends and family than it is about stuffing ourselves with calories.
Taste everything that you want, but remember not to overload your plate. And be sure to keep your plate colorful to ensure that you are getting plenty of variety and nutrients.
Also remember, Thanksgiving is a single meal, not a food marathon that lasts an entire week. If you are hosting the holiday, try to cook only enough that your guests will eat and send leftovers home in plastic ware. And give yourself a pat on the back for every extra nibble you avoid or leftover you send home with someone, you need to remember to celebrate small successes.
Just to put some of the Thanksgiving foods in perspective, below are some examples of typical dishes and the calories they pack on:
• 6 oz. of cured ham 300 calories
• 6 oz. of white and dark turkey: 340 calories
• ½ a cup of mash potatoes: 150 calories
• ½ a cup of gravy: 150 calories
• ½ a cup of green bean casserole: 225 calories
• 1 slice of apple pie: 410 calories
• 1 slice of pecan pie: 480 calories
• 1 slice of pumpkin pie: 180 calories
If you want to add up your entire meal, try out this Thanksgiving Calorie Counter.
Now, just to put an even bigger twist on this calorie perspective, here are the numbers of calories a 150 lb. person burns doing the following activities for 30 minutes straight:
• Lifting weights 117 calories
• Jogging 238 calories
• Jumping jacks – vigorous 274 calories
• Pushups – vigorous 288 calories
• Bicycling / cycling 14-16 mph 360 calories
• Step aerobics – high impact 360 calories
• Elliptical trainer 387 calories
If you want to add up your own daily calorie expenditure, check out this Calorie Burn Calculator.
Keep in mind if you are trying to discourage yourself from going ‘crazy’ with food and demotivating yourself for the week: is a slice of pie worth doing push-ups for over 30 minutes straight?
Finally, keep in mind: this is a single meal and it’s not going to make or break your weight loss as long as you don’t let it make or break your mindset..
Your goal is always to eat 6 small meals a day so even if this meal is ‘bad’ then remember that the other 41 good meals over the rest of the week should easily balance out one ‘bad’ meal. In fact, changing things up for a single meal can even help to ‘shake up’ your metabolism and keep you burning even more calories the rest of the week!
Above all, just don’t let Thanksgiving get you discouraged about your dieting efforts. Enjoy your loved ones, enjoy the food and then get right back on track the next day.
Besides, you could always go out and face the holiday traffic and crowds on Black Friday to burn off those extra calories…now THAT’s a workout!