How Much Damage Control Do I Need To Burn Off Thanksgiving Dinner?

Posted by Beth Hartman

Well, it’s just about here, the Holiday Eating Season is about to envelop us, with Thanksgiving leading the charge. That is if you don’t count Halloween. After all, you probably couldn’t resist sampling all those sweet, sugary candies, glazed popcorn balls, all sitting in that bowl by the front door. And you might have gotten thirsty so you took advantage of a cup or two of the sweet-hot-apple cider and hot cocoa that was simmering on the stove. You know, with those little sugary marshmallows floating on top? After all, its hard work waiting with that bowl full of candy that you may consume while waiting for those trick or treaters to ring your doorbell, right?

But Thanksgiving, tomorrow, is the big day for most of us to kick off the start of eating all those long-awaited favorites that you may only get at this time of year. When the dishes you’ve been craving for all season long, are finally passed around the table, and before you know it your plate is piled up to your head with turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, with all of them smothered with a heaping portion of gravy, (maybe even homemade gravy).

For most of us, It’s a Norman Rockwell masterpiece, yes. But it’s also a meal that can total anywhere from 2,500 to 4,500 calories (nearly twice the calories recommended daily). While there’s no need to skip your favorite feast in the name of fitness, we recommend keeping a mental note on just how much you’re ingesting during the day. It’s not all bad news, though. If you take part in one of the many physical events that crop around this holiday tradition. Like a “Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot”.  If you make the effort to take part in these physical activities that you've been working/training for during the year, you can feel better about having that delicious slice of Mom’s pumpkin pie. But you just might think twice about the gravy: A quarter-cup will cost you 50 burpees! Find out how much you have to work for each Turkey Day dish here below:

Slice of Apple Pie 5-6 oz = 411 Calories
Exercise: A 5K Turkey Trot or brisk walk or jog for 35 mins

Slice Pumpkin Pie 5-6 oz 316 Calories
Exercise: Yoga 60 mins

Buttered Roll (1) 210 Calories
Exercise: Flag Football 20 mins

Sweet Potato Casserole (1/2) Cup 200 Cal.
Exercise: Spinning 20 mins

Turkey Breast 6 oz. (no Skin) 195 Calories
Exercise: Skating, ice or rink 50 mins

Egg Nog 1/2 cup 190 Cal.
Exercise: Cross-fit 13 mins

Stuffing 1/2 cup 180 Cal
Exercise: Stair Running 10 mins

Corn Bread 2 oz. 160 Cal
Exercise: Swimming 15 laps Oh My!

Red Wine 6 oz. 150 Cal.
Exercise: Walking 35 mins Keep that in mind!

Mashed Potatoes 1/2 cup 120 Cal Without toppings!!!
Exercise: Weight Training 35 mins

Green Bean Casserole 1/2 cup 70 Cal
Exercise: Brisk Dancing 14 mins

Gravy 1/4 cup 45 Calories
Exercise: 50 Burpees

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that you should be keeping track of your time, and energy expelled while doing all of the above and a Garmin Vivosmart Wireless Heart Rate Activity Monitor. The Vivosmart has a 3-dimensional accelerometer which is used to count steps (compared to a pedometer which uses a 1-dimensional accelerometer). It uses the user’s height from their profile to calculate their stride length. And if you find yourself breathing a little faster and heavier, it means that you’re pushing your body a bit more than usual, which is good as long as you’re in good physical shape. The Garmin Vivosmart HR has a wrist-based heart rate monitor that can provide you with your heart rate at a glance. So, with the Vivosmart, you will be able to keep track of all those calorie busting routines you’re going to be doing to wean your way off those calories you enjoyed during the holiday meal. And for what you get the Vivosmart is at a reasonable price point. So check it out and strap one on.

Remember!  This is a time to celebrate and give thanks, so don’t forget to keep things in perspective. (A little stuffing never hurt anybody!) And the holidays do come around only once a year. So go ahead and enjoy the day as well as those holiday favorites that you’ve been looking forward to. Just keep your commitment to being healthy during this festive season on point, after all the holidays seem to whiz by this time of year. So go ahead and treat yourself within bounds. Because if you don’t, research has found that NOT treating yourself to your favorites this time of year usually results in you over indulging in something else, usually as bad or worse than if you took a small helping of your favorite holiday fare.

It’s also not a bad idea to keep your food and workout journal close by, so that you can use these as reminders, of what you need to do in order to get yourself back in bounds of your physical and nutrition regimen. And with family and friends gathering around your tables this time of year. You can get everyone involved with some kind of outside activities that will help you get your bodies engines moving so it can turn all those carbs from sugar and fat into energy.

Try getting down with a family football or even volleyball game, weather permitting. There’s always a fun way to stay active and in control of your health and wellness throughout the holiday season. So go ahead and pass that gravy boat around the table, but remember, only ¼ cup for you, and you might want to pass along some of these calorie shortfalls as you pass that gravy around the table. But please remind everyone that moderation is the “Word of the Day” and a little post-holiday meal group activity is well advised!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Turkey Trotters here at

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