Weekly Column_120 / August 16, 2012

Holiday Eating and the Activity Needed To Burn Off What You Just Ate

By Charles Platkin, PhD

One way to determine that is to translate calories into exercise. Knowing the amount of time you need to engage in physical activity to burn off the calories in the foods you consume is a way to help you make conscious and clear food choices. The point is not to tell you which foods you should or shouldn’t be eating or the punishment you’ll receive for eating a particular food. Rather, it’s a tool for deciding what a calorie means and which calories are worth it. In fact, I’ve written an entire book devoted to translating calories into exercise: The Diet Detective’s Count Down (Simon & Schuster, 2007), which lists more than 7,500 foods and the amount of activity (running, walking, swimming, biking, yoga and dance) it would take to burn off their calories.

So, in order to make you more aware about your holiday eating, I’ve taken an excerpt from The Diet Detective’s Count Down and added a few key holiday choices to create a “calorie/activity” cheat sheet. The following are typical holiday foods and the number of minutes required to burn them off after you’ve exhausted your daily caloric budget. You can determine a rough estimate of your own caloric budget by assigning 10 calories per pound for a female and 11 calories per pound for a male, multiplied by your activity level: 1.2 if you’re sedentary up to 1.8 if you are very active. For example, a 130-pound female who is somewhat active would have a budget of 1,300 calories multiplied by 1.5, or 1,950 calories per day. If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to eat fewer calories than you have in your budget. If you eat more than your budget, you’ll gain. For a more exact calculation (or if you’re not a math student), you can go to http://www.dietdetective.com/tools/caloriecalculator.html

 

Holiday food

Amount

Calories

Walk

Run

Bike

Swim

Yoga

Dance

Prime rib

1/2 pound

675

174

96

72

82

230

115

Cheese lasagna with meat sauce

9-ounce slice

490

126

70

52

60

167

83

Honey-glazed ham

6 ounces

210

54

30

22

26

71

36

Bite-sized mini pizza

4 minis

163

42

23

17

20

55

28

Cracker with cheese

1 cracker

71

18

10

8

9

24

12

Christmas cookies

2 cookies

120

31

17

13

15

41

20

Fruitcake

3.5-ounce slice

325

84

46

35

40

111

55

Pecan pie

1 slice (1/8 of a pie)

503

130

71

54

61

171

86

Cocktail peanuts  

3 ounces (90 nuts)  

510

131

72

54

62

173

87

Candy cane

One 1/2-ounce cane

55

14

8

6

7

19

9

Homemade pumpkin pie

1 slice (1/8 of a pie)

316

81

45

34

38

107

54

Beef franks in a blanket

5 pieces (2 3/4 ounces)

290

75

41

31

35

99

49

Mini crab cakes

4 pieces (57 grams)

70

18

10

7

9

24

12

Chicken fingers

2 pieces (1.5 ounces)

240

62

34

26

29

82

41

Cheddar cheese

2 cubes (1 ounce)

110

28

16

12

13

37

19

Dinner roll

1 large (3-1⁄2″ diameter )

136

35

19

14

17

46

23

Ritz crackers

5 crackers

80

21

11

9

10

27

14

Deviled egg

1 egg / 2 halves

145

37

21

15

18

49

25

Gingerbread cookie

1 cookie

145

37

21

15

18

49

25

Regular beer

12 ounces

153

39

22

16

19

52

26

Martini

4 ounces

274

71

39

29

33

93

47

White wine

4 ounces

98

25

14

10

12

33

17

Eggnog

1 cup

343

88

49

37

42

117

58

Hot buttered rum

8 ounces

220

57

31

23

27

75

37

Here are a few suggestions to keep this holiday weight-gain free:

Eat before: Don’t arrive with your stomach rumbling. Instead, try eating enough healthy food beforehand so you’re full before you arrive. Then you’ll have much more self-control around those tempting party treats.

All or nothing: It’s never too late to stop stuffing your face. Avoid the following thought: “I’ve already ruined my diet, so it doesn’t matter what I eat now.”

Plan to eat healthy: You’re probably thinking about what you’re going to eat anyway, so why not make it work for instead of against you? Plan what and how much you’re going to eat at the event before you even get there — set limits and you’ll feel better.

Prepare for food pushers: Learn how to say the following: “Oh, no thanks. I couldn’t eat another thing.” Or, “I’m watching my diet, and that piece of cake will throw me completely off-track.” Have your answer ready for those diet saboteurs.

Stay balanced: Try consuming fewer calories the few days before and after the holiday, and/or you can increase your physical activity during this period.

Bring healthy food: Make a few healthy dishes that you know you will eat, and volunteer to bring them to the party or dinner.

Don’t stuff your face while socializing: We often eat without thinking — we’re so engaged in conversation and socializing that we stuff our faces without even realizing what or how much we’re eating.

Pick right: Don’t just eat anything: Pick and choose only those high-calorie foods that you absolutely love.

Be full: Look for the physical cues signaling that you have eaten enough. Wait 15 to 20 minutes after a meal before requesting seconds or dessert.






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