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Moe Johnson | Running With Moe

Methods to keep from gaining weight during Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 19, 2022

This is the start of the great weight gain season.  Halloween was the appetizer and now the main meals will be served.  For people trying to lose weight, or even not gain weight, Thanksgiving is a difficult time.  It seems tradition has a big meal this Thursday with a big turkey or a ham followed by side dishes of sweet potatoes, dressing, vegetables, and dessert.  Both pumpkin and pecan pie will add calories to the waist line.  For some reason the pounds gained in one day at one meal take several days or longer to lose them.  There are a few methods to follow on Thanksgiving to give you an even chance at not putting on few extra pounds.

The two most common methods to not gain weight are exercise and common sense.  The exercise method has two avenues to follow. The human body has a basic metabolism that burns calories.  Some individuals have a faster metabolism then others but each person can change metabolism slightly.  When you exercise the body temperature is elevated and burns more calories.  Two types of exercise have different levels of metabolism speed. The first form of exercise is running.  Walking will help some but running increases the metabolic rate more.  The type of running is not as easy as it sounds.  Short, slow running burns less calories than longer and faster pace running.  Try to get out for at least an hour of brisk walking or running.  The benefits of burning calories from running is that the metabolism stays elevated for almost a long as the bout of running.  If you run for an hour the metabolism stays elevated for an hour or more.  That is the good news.  The bad news is that even an hour of running does not equal the calories from a big meal and dessert that you eat on Thanksgiving.  The benefit is that when you are consuming the food your metabolism is elevated and will burn more calories than if you went into the meal after a sedentary pre-meal.

The second form of exercise is weight lifting.  It may seem strange but a hard workout lifting weights will burn quite a few calories.  Another side benefit from lifting weights is that it seems that the metabolism of the body stays elevated for as long as 24 hours afterward.  The harder the workout the longer the calories are burned after the workout.  A light workout will burn fewer calories and last a shorter period of time than a harder workout lasting a longer time of metabolic increase.  This is the good news.  The bad news is that Thanksgiving is a National holiday and most businesses and gyms are closed for the day.  Finding a gym to workout will be the hard part.  As an alternate resistance program is the standby of calisthenics.  Remember those warm up periods in physical education class or before practice for a sport?  Everybody remembers push ups, sit ups, side straddle hop, burpees, squats or vertical jumps, toe touches, and running in place.  It may have been more than a few years since the last time you were on the floor doing push ups or sit ups so the days when these exercises were an easy effort may now be downright hard to do.  Modifications may have to be made.  Push ups on a few steps up on a flight of stairs may be easier.  And several trips up a flight of stairs can be a good substitute for squats.

The other method of limiting the weight gain is common sense.  The common statement that the eyes see more than the stomach can comfortably hold is often true.  Common sense means keeping the size of each helping of turkey, sweet potatoes, dressing, corn, beans, and pie to smaller size.  It is very easy to misjudge how much a person puts on their plate when there is a large serving of food for a family gathering.  The temptation to put on that large helping of whipped cream or ice cream on the large slice of pie needs to be down-sized.  Even without a bout of exercise before a meal the common sense method works very well.  And as difficult as it may be after a big meal going for a walk afterward will help with digestion.  Sitting down and watching a football game is a tough habit to give up but it does help.  If you limited the serving sizes the after meal walk is much easier.

This is only the beginning of the weight gain season.  Pre-Christmas parties, office parties, and people mailing you fruit cake all lead up to another big get together meal next month.  If after Christmas meals, New Year’s meals, and Super Bowl meals, you can always hope for a cool spring to go for runs.

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