Thanksgiving is almost here

  • Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013 12:51 a.m.

Thanksgiving is only a few days away, with family and friends getting together and yes, lots of “forbidden” foods. Sometimes a nightmare to people who finally have started to eat sensibly or to people who know they can’t control their urges to overeat.

I love Thanksgiving food. I love getting together with family and friends; I too have to watch the urge to try everything. Especially all those wonderful desserts...

I do believe I have figured out a way that works for me to still enjoy all the wonderful foods but not be so miserable that you have to unbutton your pants and take a nap after a meal. In the December edition of Runners World, they have some interesting information on how long you would have to run to burn off the calories you eat on a typical Thanksgiving day:

4 ounces (size of a smart phone) of roast turkey light and dark meat: 1.7 miles

¾ cup mashed potatoes (size of a tennis ball): 1.8 miles

½ cup of homemade gravy (half a baseball): 0.7 miles

½ cup of sweet potato casserole (half a baseball): 1.4 miles

1 cup of green bean casserole with crispy onion topping (size of a baseball): 1.4 miles

1 ounce roll with 1 tsp of butter (computer mouse size bun with thumb tip of butter: 1.7 miles

1/8 of a 9-inch pie (pair of thin socks): 4.1 miles

For a total of 1,272 calories or 12.8 miles, based on a 150-pound person at a 9 minute per mile pace

Before you get discouraged (I did..especially the pie — my slice is a lot bigger than a pair of thin socks!), be prepared and aware. I am not planning to run 12.8 miles (close to half a marathon). However, my husband and I are running the Butterball 5K (3.1 miles) Run/Walk hosted by the Forum of Salisbury. Each year it is growing and I love the atmosphere of doing something physical and raise funds where the proceeds go to the Prevent Child Abuse Rowan and The Terrie Hess house. I won’t be even burning off my slice of apple pie (even if it was the size of a pair of thin socks), but it will be a great start to a wonderful day and at least burn 300 to 500 calories. For more information or register online go to and click on events. I hope to see you there.

Other tips that help me when going to a Thanksgiving dinner:

Pick one dinner — too many people have two sometimes three “dinners” to go to. If it can not be helped, have appetizers at one place, dinner at another, and dessert at the last place. Make sure you are not hungry when you go. Your eyes will be so much bigger than your stomach and that miserable feeling will follow soon from overeating.

Be aware what goes in your mouth, mentally check the serving sizes. As the info from RW gave in the above information, 1 cup of sweet potato casserole takes 2.8 miles to burn off.

• Eat slower — the food will still be there if you don’t load your plate up to maximum capacity. Use a small or smaller plate. This way, you can only load it up so much.

Wait at least 20 minutes before you go back for seconds — that’s about how long it takes for your brain to figure out that you are full.

If you don’t go for the Butterball 5K that morning, go for a family walk that afternoon. If you want to run after, wait at least 2 hours (if not, you might see that Thanksgiving food again!) But all in all, be sensible but enjoy the wonderful foods, enjoy your family friends and if exercise doesn’t happen that day, the YMCA opens again at 5 a.m. on Friday morning. Happy Thanksgiving!

Ester H Marsh ACSM Cpt

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