Health: Surviving Thanksgiving

Tips for your post-meal workout plan

Ah, Thanksgiving. Time to break out those pants reserved solely for a gut-busting meal such as this one. Not only does Thanksgiving celebrate coming together with loved ones in the kitchen and around your dining room table, but also the glorious celebration of eating — and eating a lot.

Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, maybe some baked macaroni and cheese, corn, pumpkin bread and, of course, the dessert you claim you don’t have any room for, but … you’ll try just one bite — of everything. Your average Thanksgiving meal will run you between 1,500 to 4,000 calories, depending how many times you head back for seconds (and thirds).

So when you’re polishing off almost or double your daily alotment of needed calories in one sitting (on average we’re supposed to chow down about 2,000 a day), it’s easy to see how the pounds suddenly appear around that waistline.

Thought you could count darting from sales rack to sales rack on Black Friday? Dream on, shopaholics. It would take 4 hours of some serious sweating in Spinning class to burn 2000 calories. Walking? Try six hours! I’m sure those paths behind your house aren’t that scenic.

OK, want the good news? You don’t have to kill yourself just so you’ll still fit all your new fall clothes. “People come in after the holidays and go crazy trying to burn it all off,” says Jamil Watson, a personal trainer at LA Fitness in Bala Cynwyd. “They just need to set their own pace and take their time.”

Set a daily goal for yourself to burn 250 more calories than you normally do. For you gym rats, just modify your normal routine by adding on a few extra minutes to your regular workout each day for an extra week. For those of you who don’t frequent the gym as much, take extra caution not to go crazy; injuries are likely to occur if you get on the treadmill running at the speed of light trying to make up for lost time. Your body isn’t used to it and sweating profusely or gasping to catch your breath are not the indicators of a kick-ass workout. Set a daily goal for yourself to burn 250 calories. “Working out after the holidays is kind of like rehab,” Jamil laughs. “You just have to ease back into things.”

So, enjoy your holiday. Soak up those days off from work and go shopping like a mad woman! Just log some treadmill time for zipping around the mall. It will make jumping into that new black dress you just bought — at half-off — even better.