SAN DIEGO (Nov. 18, 2008) – The average American will consume 3,000 calories and 229 grams of fat this Thanksgiving, owing in part to a traditional Thanksgiving meal packed with as many calories as 5.5 McDonald’s Big Mac hamburgers or 15 Supreme Tacos from Taco Bell. The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s leading authority on fitness and one of the largest fitness certification, education and training organizations in the world, suggests a balance between limited caloric intake over several days and committing to a fitness regimen to stay healthy and trim through the holidays.
“Many people use Thanksgiving as an excuse to eat whatever they want all day long,” says ACE’s Chief Science Officer Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D. “The most important thing to remember is that all holiday foods can be enjoyed as long as they are eaten in moderation. Additionally, this should not be a time to forgo your fitness regimen.”
Bryant points out that a 160–pound 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. “Working out regularly will help prevent weight gain as you indulge during this festive time.”
According to ACE, another key to keeping healthy and curbing overindulgence is to make the holidays about family and friends, not food. “Family walks, a pickup game of football or basketball or simply throwing the ball around with the kids are great ways to not only burn off those extra calories, but also to make memories,” said Pete McCall, exercise physiologist for ACE. “During your meal, take your time and enjoy the conversation. This will allow the food to digest and allow you to enjoy your time with family and friends.”
More tips and tricks to stay fit this Thanksgiving:
Clean vigorously before guests arrive. Brisk, challenging housework like raking, sweeping or moving things into storage is an effective way to burn calories.
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 are less likely to overeat.
Take a long, hard walk or run about an hour before eating. This will elevate the metabolism to help digest the food more effectively. You can also participate in a Thanksgiving Day 5K run/walk, which various cities offer, or visit your health club for a workout; many will sponsor special Thanksgiving morning workouts.
Practice portion control. A smaller serving of the real thing can be very satisfying and calorie-trimming. Commit to eating one serving of food on your plate without going back for seconds or thirds.
Separate dinner and dessert: Take a walk after dinner to help digest the meal and get some space before indulging in sugary desserts.
If playing football or basketball with the kids, be sure to warm up three to five minutes for every ten years of age. Start with a brisk walk to a light jog and do some agility drills to properly warm up the muscles prior to dynamic activity.
Don’t panic or feel guilty if your diet seems to have gotten out of hand. You can make up for a feast of rich, higher-fat foods with lighter, lower-fat meals for the next couple of days.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s premier certification, education and training organization, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. ACE sponsors university-based exercise science research and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at http://acefitness.org.