Some cheery news on this national day of eating from the American Council On Exercise:
“A 160 lb. person would have to run at a moderate pace for four hours, swim for five hours or walk 30 miles to burn off a 3,000-calorie Thanksgiving Day meal,” said Dr. Cedric Bryant, ACE chief exercise physiologist.
Well, obviously no one in their right mind is going to do anything like that.
But here's some good news:
If you just hang out and eat a bit less than normal in the days around that humongous gorge-fest, your body will gradually burn off the calories all by itself.
(Your body is an engine. It can't run without fuel. You can sit on a couch all day and still burn calories. The key to losing weight is taking in fewer calories than your body burns. Unfortunately, in our age of supersized, delicious, cheap fat and sugar meals, taking in few calories is easier said than done.)
Here are some more tips from ACE:
Tips to Stay Fit
- You can make up for a feast of rich, higher-fat foods with lighter, lower-fat meals for the next couple of days. Plan for the big meal that day with a low-calorie, low-fat breakfast and lunch. Never skip meals, just limit them.
- Look back and assess your diet over the past few days by recording your caloric intake with a food diary. Have you been over-indulging at recent party feasts? Are there additional celebrations looming? Try eating sensibly in order to afford the extra calories come meal time.
- Don’t panic or feel guilty if your diet seems to have gotten out of hand. When you balance your intake over several days, you have ample time to regain control.
- Make physical activity a regular habit. Beyond burning calories, exercise is essential for good health, stress management (oftentimes a challenge during the busy holiday season) and overall well-being.
- Working out consistently will help jump-start your metabolism allowing you to burn more of those calories from your holiday binge.
- Have a salad, light soup or some fruit and veggies before leaving home or prior to your meal. This way you will feel fuller and less likely to overeat.
- Select only your favorite foods at a holiday buffet and let other guests enjoy traditional fare like nuts, rolls and sweet potatoes.
- Practice portion control. A smaller serving of the real thing can be very satisfying and calorie-trimming.
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