So you think you’re going gain 5lbs of fat over Thanksgiving weekend?
Most of us go into the belief that we are going to turn into the Marshmellow Puff Man after our Thanksgiving feasts. Uncle Pats buttery stuffing to Aunt Margies pecan pie may make you feel like it gave you an extra dimple in your butt, but really, it just made you retain some extra water in that gut of yours. Of course it contributes to your extra calorie intake for the day, but it’s not going to NOT make you look good in your polka dot bikini after a day of eating it. Here’s why:
A study done by researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) found that the average weight gain over the course of the holidays (Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day) was only about a pound. However, this doesn’t mean it’s time to over indulge in those chocolate peanutbutter bars your Great Aunt Coral made to try to make the myth come true. Researchers found that the weight gain over the holidays (a course from Thanksgiving day to New Year’s Day), was not lost over the course of a year. Even though this COULD show that weight gain is contributed to the holidays, it’s not something to overly stress about, however, a good fact to keep in mind. If you are active, and already eat healthy, one meal isn’t going to hurt you. But if you are obese, struggling with health/weight gain problems, then this Thanksgiving binge should not be on your mind. What the NICHD and NIDDK found was that the subjects they followed over the course of the year, individuals who were obese had gained about 3 pounds over the holidays AND they did not lose that weight (the 3 lbs) the following year. So as you can see, this BINGE could contribute possible weight gain risks for individuals who are obese.
If you hear others protest that “the average American weight gain from Thanksgiving is about 5lbs”, slap them in the face. Well, not literally, but think about it. 😉 Though this may be true to an extent, but let me explain. Let’s look at the math: depending on the individual, we burn about 2000 calories a day (8% of what you eat goes right to your body for energy). Thanksgiving weekend is four days, right? So that’s a burn of 8000 calories. Ok, great. So 1lb of fat is 3500 calories. Over the course of 4 days that would be 17,500 calories. So now you’re thinking, well, Uncle Bob’s mashed potatoes have a bazillion calories in one sitting so I can match that no problem. Think again, while you may be able to eat that much, you will be burning calories as well. Even while just sitting there. (And if you’re active, you’ll burn more calories as your metabolism is faster). The calories you burn are put to use to make your heart beat, lungs breathe, brain to function, etc. When looking at the average metabolism, you would have to eat an extra 17,500 calories to actually see the weight gain so that would make it 25,000 calories over the course of a 4 day weekend. That’s 6,250 calories/day! According to the American Council of Exercise, the average American eats 4,500 calories during Thanksgiving Day (now this is the average; everyone’s bodies are different and will respond differently depending on their intake, so please keep that in mind). When looking at that intake for Thanksgiving, that’s nowhere near the 6,250 calories/day it would take to gain 5lbs.
Ok, now you’re thinking, “Well, I stepped on the scale that Sunday after Thanksgiving, and it says differently.” Well, DUH! You ate a buttload of food that makes you bloat. When you combine sweets to wheat to wine to meat to fat intake with lack of exercise, of course that scale will jump up. You’re retaining water. Remember, scale measures weight, not fat, so do keep that in mind. While you may gain weight on the scale (some may even retain MORE depending on your body type), it doesn’t mean that it’s pure fat gained. Basically, it’s pretty much impossible to gain 5lbs of fat in 4 days.
Now, I’m not saying that you won’t gain weight over the weekend. You may, but it sure is easy and simple to avoid. If you over indulge on one meal, it’s ok. Just get back on track the following day. Stay active and eat healthy over the weekend and you won’t see that scale tip up on that Sunday after Thanksgiving. For individuals who are obese or have weight gaining/health issues, it’s best to stick with your healthy food plan. I always tell clients to allow themselves three food choices: a veggie, a fruit, and of course some turkey. If you don’t like turkey, then double up on a veggie or double up on a fruit. Keep portion sizes to ½ cup (about the size of your hand, NOT INCLUDING FINGERS) and steer clear of gravies, butters, jams, and sugar toppings. If Aunt Patty insists you try her rhubarb pie (which you know if she cuts you a piece it’s half the pie), just kindly say, “No, thank you.” If she keeps trying or thinks you’re not eating it in fear it may taste bad, just let her know that it was very nice of her to offer, but you are content with what you already ate. Trust me, it’s not going to hurt her feelings.
For most of you who know me, you may also know that I am a ‘bad food’ nazi. I smack my clients’ hands when I hear of their few day indulgences. However, this is Thanksgiving. It’s a time to be with family and to enjoy a few good recipes. Just don’t run to me stating you gained 5lbs. I’ll just say, “I told you so.”
Have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!