Holiday Goodies Calorie Count-- See How you Gained those Pounds!
Scare tactics try to tell us that the average person gains 5 ‘+’ pounds over the holiday season. The truth of the matter, however, is that the average weight gain is a mere 1 pound.
But…the problem comes from:
- Already being overweight
- Eating too many rich foods that cause bloating, fluid retention and/or spikes or drops in blood sugar
- Not knowing when to stop (over-indulgence)
- Lack of activity and exercise due to the colder weather limiting your time outdoors and/or lack of time because of all of those holiday parties
So why bother
If one lousy pound is all we’re talking about, then why bother worrying about it…right? No, not right. One pound here, another pound there and pretty soon it’s quite a few pounds. Think about like this…it takes 3,500 calories to equal a pound. So…for every 3, 500 calories you eat but don’t burn off, you add a pound to your weight. And in case you didn’t realize it, it takes a lot less time to put 3,500 calories in your body than it does to burn them off.
What 3,500 calories looks like
The average female needs approx. 2,000 calories a day to maintain a healthy body weight and 1,500 per day if they want to drop a few pounds at the healthy rate of approx. a pound a week. Keeping that in mind, let’s look at a few of the standard holiday goodies we look forward to enjoying whenever we gather with family and friends.
- Eggnog 350 calories per cup
- Pecan pie 500 calories per slice (a regular pie-not deepdish)
- Carrot cake 600 calories per slice of 2-layer cake w/cream cheese icing
- Cranberry salad 275 calories per ½ cup serving
- Cheese ball 400 calories per tablespoon (and who stops with 1 tablespoon)
- Turkey and ham 350 calories per 6 oz. serving (not bad)
- Fudge 70 calories in a 1 inch square piece
- Nuts 375-475 calories per ½ cup depending on the type of nut
- Dips 35-50 calories per teaspoon (again, who stops with a teaspoon)
- Mashed potatoes 200 calories per 1 cup serving (not including gravy)
Times 2...or 3…or….
Okay, so you can probably look at that list and pick and choose and feel like you’re behaving yourself. But…how many times do you do that? And…have you taken into consideration the cookies in the break room at work, the snacks you eat at home and the fast-food meals you’ve consumed because you didn’t have time to go home and cook before you had to be at the party?
Let’s not forget breakfast and lunch
And then there are the other 2 meals of the day you eat-meals you shouldn’t skip. Skipping meals to allow yourself to indulge only makes things worse. You inevitably end up eating more than you would have if you ate two healthy, 400-500 calorie meals prior to the party.
Take it off
Still not convinced you need to pace yourself? Maybe this will do the trick; taking a look at how much time it takes to burn those extra 3,500 calories that took less than an hour (2, tops) to consume….
It takes 30 minutes of walking at a normal to medium pace to burn 100 calories. So…that’s 17 ½ hours of walking.
You burn approx. 10 calories per minute when you jog, so that means you will burn 600 calories in an hour of jogging. In other words, you can burn off 3,500 calories in approx. 6 hours of jogging.
Cycling allows you to burn about 500 calories in an hour (depending on terrain). In seven hours, that 3,500 calories will be eating your dust.
Aerobic workouts vary based on intensity, but the average workout burns 200 calories per 20 minutes of exercise. Pilates and yoga will burn 250 calories per 20 minute session.
Do the math
Gone are the days of extreme exercising--you know, the days when an hour a day in the gym was considered slacking off. We now know that 20-40 minutes of exercise a day 3-5 days a week is better on your body’s skeletal structure and your attitude (you’re not so likely to burn out). And to this I say, thank the Lord! Fitting 20-40 minutes a day of exercise is sooooooooo much more realistic than packing your gym bag, heading to the gym (wearing all the right gear, you know) and then driving back home or wherever else you have to go to continue on with the business of family.
But that leaves us with needing to take a realistic look at what it will take to get rid of your holiday calories.
If you spend 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week (I’m working on averages) in a variety of exercise routines, your average calorie burn due to exercise is going to be approx. 1,500 calories. Hhhmmmm. You can add that to the average calorie burn of 2,000 per day just living and working at life and you burn an average of 2,375 calories a day.
The bottom line is to choose carefully and think small-portions that is. You don’t have to deny yourself the goodies you crave, just take half-portions and compensate by eating less of one thing if you know you won’t be able to resist another. If you think before you eat and are conscious of what it takes to burn off what you eat, you’ll be able to enjoy the holiday festivities and keep your other ‘bottom line’ in the shape you want it to be.