As a healthy lifestyle coach and a lover of many different forms of exercise and movement, I follow a lot of gyms and fitness professionals online. Lately, with the holidays coming up, I have seen a quite a few posts that make me sometimes cringe, due to the use of fear as a tactic for getting clients or new members.
Ugh! That is just so wrong in my book.
The last couple of weeks my newsfeed had been filled with posts, challenges, and memes about burning off the turkey or showing infographics about how many reps of an exercise you need to do to burn off a particular food you ate. See the examples I googled below.
These types of posts infuriate me because I used to play into that. I would spend the week before Thanksgiving working my ass off in the gym. And then try to work out even more after. I was also carrying my food to holiday meals and scared to eat because I was terrified to gain a single pound.
The holidays are supposed to be about enjoying time with your family and savoring things that you normally do not get to enjoy, other than a couple of times of the year. These gyms and health and fitness professionals have people scared to eat because of how many burpees or sit-ups they will have to do to burn off that piece of pie or the stuffing. Or they are letting people think it is okay to stuff themselves till they are miserable because they either ran than 5K before eating or will be going to a class or whatever the next day to “burn it off.” All of that is just bullshit!
We do NOT have to earn our food. We should run the Turkey Trot because we enjoy running, for the fun of the race or the cause if the race is to raise money, not because we need to EARN our dinner. Exercise is NOT a punishment and movement is a PRIVILEGE. We should move and exercise because we enjoy it and it makes us feel good inside and out; NOT because we want to either EARN our supper or because we feel guilty and need to burn the calories we have eaten.
If you want to get right down to it, we are not likely to burn enough calories to EARN the average turkey dinner anyway. Truth be known, the average person who runs a 5k in under 30 minutes will burn approx 250-275 calories. The average runner who can finish a 5k in under 23 minutes may burn 300 calories, and someone who walks a 5k may burn 150-200 calories. Unfortunately, many people eat so much on Thanksgiving that the average meal is, 2,500 to 4,000 calories. I do not think that the 5K is quite going to cut it in the burn the turkey department, will it? It is kind of shocking to think that in 1 meal, most people eat more calories than they normally would in an entire day when you look at it in print, isn’t it?
Also, many of us have more than one Thanksgiving meal to go to every year, and we usually end up freaking miserable afterward because we have the BUFFET MENTALITY. You know, we see all these great gobs of food, it is ALL YOU CAN EAT, and that becomes kind of a challenge to see HOW MUCH we can eat instead, of a way to pick and choose only the best of the best.
So, instead of trying to BURN OFF THE TURKEY or EARN THE THANKSGIVING DINNER, why don’t we try a different approach this year? Many of us will probably have a larger variety of foods than we would at a regular meal, so maybe we take smaller portions than we normally would. What about only putting the MOST DELECTABLE foods on our plate and saying no thank you to the ones we get on a regular basis. After all, we only get these foods a couple of times a year. What about eating slowly and putting our forks down in-between bites or even stopping before we are full.
The practices above, while not as glorious sounding as burning off the meal or earning it by doing a long ass workout that exhausts us, (unless that is your jam) is something that is way less likely to leave us being miserably full and feeling guilty for eating all of it afterward. These actions contribute to feeling better while reducing our calorie intake by at least several hundred because let’s face it, we ARE going to eat more dessert than we normally would.
Hopefully, if you use these methods, you will not be in the food coma or passed out in front of the television. Also, if you still feel you just NEED to work off some of those calories. Why not opt outside for Black Friday and go on a hike with the family.
Now enjoy your Thanksgiving meal…mindfully but without feeling like you have to earn it, or burn it.
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