August 16, 2012

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

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 https://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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