Road Bump: Thanksgiving

Happy thanksgiving against autumn sceneHappy thanksgiving against autumn scene

Thanksgiving is almost here!

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving dinner. Roasted turkey on holiday table with pumpkins, flowers and wine

Thanksgiving is the holiday of over indulgence.  The cornucopia of plenty is a threat to any diet.   Many surveys indicate that the average weight gain during Thanksgiving is approximately 5 pounds for each American.   The abundance of food and multiple desserts is a a major cause of weight gain.  Just look at the types of food eaten and you can see that Thanksgiving is public enemy number one for obesity.   

Postprandial weight gain is all a matter of timing. In the short term, any food and drink that you put into your body will make you exactly that much heavier. Eat a pound of marshmallows, and you’ll have added one pound to your mass, at least until your body starts to excrete the food or use it for energy. The amount you gain from Thanksgiving dinner depends exactly on the amount you’ve decided to stuff down your gullet.  This is sort of true, but 1 pound of marshmallows only has 1400 calories or about 1/2 pound of fat when stored.  A lot of the weight of marshmallows is air.  

Indulge you Bulge

Indulge you Bulge

So lets looks at a few dishes and see the calorie content:

  1. Turkey:  Breast with skin: 174 calories per serving and most will eat 2-3.  Total 348 calories and 7.2 grams of fat.
  2. Stuffing:  1/2 cup: 350-480 calories per serving.  Total 380 calories and 4 grams of fat.
  3. Gravy:  1/2 cup: 100-150 calories per serving. Total 100 calories and 8 grams of fat.
  4. Mash Potatoes:  1 cup: 300 calories per serving.  Total 300 calories and 10 grams of fat.
  5. Green Bean Casserole: 1 cup: 360 calories per serving.  Total 360 calories and 18 grams of fat.
  6. Sweet Potato Casserole: 1 cup: 400-500 calories per serving.  Total 450 calories and 8 grams of fat.
  7. Cranberry Sauce with berries:  1/4 cup: 110 calories per serving: Total 110 calories and 0 grams of fat.  
  8. Biscuits: 1 piece: 200 calories per biscuit.  Total 200 calories and 14 grams of fat.
  9. Pumpkin Pie:  1/8th of pie: 350 calories per serving.  Total 350 calories and 15 grams of fat.  
  10. Pecan Pie:  1/8th of pie: 460 calories per serving.  Total 460 calories and 19 grams of fat.    

Totals:  3050 calories and 109 grams of fat in one meal.  

Full Homemade Thanksgiving Dinner

Full Homemade Thanksgiving Dinner with Turkey Stuffing Veggies and Potatoes

Portion control is very important for dieters during this day.  If you add two meals and you avoid grazing (eating snacks while waiting for the meal to be done and during football games),  you will still end up with about 4500 calories in 24 hours which will top you out at 2/3 of a pounds gain din 24 hours.  The reason why we gain so much is the smorgasbord of leftovers that we will eat for the next several days while we nap on the couch as our only form of exercise.  

Happy thanksgiving against autumn scene

Happy thanksgiving against autumn scene

Remember moderation is you friend.  Portion control and moderation si the key to avoid the road bump.  Those numbers are a combination of the weight of the food and drink sitting in your belly, plus a bit of extra water weight.  Although most of the weight gain during thanksgiving is water weight and is temporary, an extra two to five pounds staring back to them after their Thanksgiving gluttony can be very discouraging.  

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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