THANKSGIVING: How fast those calories add up - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

THANKSGIVING: How fast those calories add up

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The calories add up fast on Thanksgiving! The calories add up fast on Thanksgiving!
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SPOKANE, Wash. - A plan of attack. It's imperative to have one when going into any battle. You must know what you're getting into and how you are going to come out of it victorious. You must know your enemy. So as we all prepare to take up arms, or in this case utensils, for battle on Thursday, let us get to know our enemy: Thanksgiving dinner. 

Many of us will jam our bellies to the max on Thanksgiving. The average stomach is about the size of the average human fist. I'll pause for a second while you hold up your fist and stare at it. 

{Pause}

Pretty impressive, eh? We take something the size of that fist and cram it full of so much food on Thanksgiving that most of us will think ahead and wear loose-fitting pants (because apparently it's "unacceptable" to wear sweatpants to a "family function."). In fact, your stomach has the ability to expand to 40 times its normal size to accommodate your gluttonous intake of food and beverages. Uh oh. 

I'll admit that as the weather has become colder and my breath has become visible, I've been less active than I normally am. I ran a half-marathon in June and October this year. Even then I wasn't ready to strap on my roller blades and carve through crowds of Riverfront Park shirtless with Matthew McConaughey (yes, I had to look up how to spell his last name). But during these winter months, my beard gets a little bigger, my belly protrudes a little more. I pack on some pounds. But I want to avoid that this year. I want to stay in shape, and these next few weeks are big tests of my discipline and determination, one that I have failed many times in the past. 

So how do I win this battle? My plan of attack is to not jam my face full of every piece of food that happens to be within arms reach. Sounds easy, right? It's not. 

This year I've made the mistake of looking up the calorie count of each little piece of food, but hey, it goes along with my battle plan. Perhaps act as a deterrent? I know they are all bad, but on Thanksgiving especially, we have the tendency to "graze" all day like happy Hindu cows without a care in the world. But when you begin to add up all of those calories - like really keep track and add them up - it's easy to see how my extra winter weight rears its ugly head every year.

So let me just put on my prognostication hat and see how Thursday goes down for me. Remember, Thanksgiving experiences vary from person to person, but this is usually mine. 

I'll wake up at 7:30 am for the annual Turkey Trot in Manito Park. It's a great event that raises money for the 2nd Harvest Food Bank. It's free, starts at 9:00am and you're bound to see the guys from the Flying Irish wearing nothing but headdresses and speedos. So a win for everybody. It's about a three mile jog, so I expect to burn about 400 calories. 

So, I'm already negative 400 calories for the day! I'm winning! So far. 

Next I will go home. The Bears and Lions will be on the TV at that time, and I will tune them in for some background noise while I get ready for the day. My wife will be cooking some deviled eggs to brings as an appetizer to her mother's house, along with a pie to bring to my mother's house later in the day. Two Thanksgivings! This is going to be tough. 

So after I shower, I'll mosey on into the kitchen, grab a couple of deviled eggs while Heather isn't looking and head into the living to watch some football. Each egg is about 60 calories. I'll have three of them now, slip one to the dog (and we'll both be sleeping on the couch later). So math says I am now -400 + 180 calories. I'm still -220 calories for the day! 

The Bears and Lions game should be about wrapping up when we decide to get going to my mother-in-law's house, where we will watch my beloved Eagles beat up on the Cowboys. 

We get to my mother-in-law's house and look! There's already turkey sitting out. Better grab a piece or two. That's about 430 calories. Shoot. I'm now sitting at + 210 calories for the day. 

"Oh, why yes, I will have a glass of wine. Nothing fancier than watching football and drinking wine, right?" 210 + 120 calories = 330 calories. 

Wait, touchdown Cowboys? "Mother-in-law Linda, can I get a beer? I'm sad now." 

"Sure, Cory. There's another 140 calories because you like Newcastle Brown Ale and not light beer." 

330+ 140= 470 calories. And dinner hasn't even been served. 

Wait, touchdown Eagles! "Linda, celebratory beer for the Eagles scoring! I'm happy now." ("Fly, Eagles fly..." I sing just to annoy Vince, the Cowboys fan who somehow managed an invite to dinner despite that fact.)

470+140 = 610 calories. 

Halftime means time for dinner. Here we go. 

Three slices of turkey: 430 calories

One cup of stuffing: 320 calories

A heaping scoop of green bean casserole: 160 calories. 

Two cups of mashed potatoes and 1/2 of gravy: 890 calories

Two slices of ham: 600 calories

Another glass of wine (don't judge, the Eagles are winning!): 120 calories. 

Total calories in this plate: 2,520 calories!

Add that to my previous accumulated calorie count and for the day I'm sitting at 3,130 calories! That morning run seems like a distant memory. I'm already over 1,130 calories of my daily recommended intake! 

Now, normally at this point, I'd pass on pie. I'm not a pie guy. But let's just say, hypothetical of course, that I have to eat half a piece of pie because my wife insists and because she "can't eat a whole piece" and will only have one if "we share." This will actually add about 1/4 of a piece of pie to my total because even though she ate 3/4 of it, it was still only "half"  (girl logic), which is about 100 calories with light whipped cream.

So there you have you have it. I'm sitting at 3,230 calories for the day and we haven't even gone to my mothe.. WAIT! TOUCHDOWN EAGLES! THEY WIN! Let's just add another celebratory beer to that (if this goes the other way and they lose, which they most certainly will not, this beer will still get consumed). 

3,370 calories. Wow. 

Now that the Eagles game is over and they've won. Time to head down to my mother's house for yet another Thanksgiving meal. Ugh. Bye Linda!

"Heather, you take the keys. You're driving." (There are extra DUI patrols out there this time of year kids! Get yourself a Designated Driver!)

45 minutes later we are arriving at my mother's house where she greets us on the porch with a glass of wine. 

"Happy Thanksgiving!" she says with a grin on her face and sloshing glasses in her hands.

The food coma from before begins to set in, but it would be uncivil to not accept her glass of wine, right? Okay. Plus the Seahawks and 49ers are playing!

I'll just save myself the trouble of writing this a few more times. Let's just say a total of four glasses of wine will be consumed at my mother's house through the course of the evening (where we will spend the night). 120 x 4= 480. 

3,370 + 480 = 3850 calories. Thanksgiving! Yeah!

Even though it's only been a couple of hours since I last ate, it would be rude to not treat myself to more food that my mother worked so hard on. But let's just say that this time, I take half the proportions of the previous dinner. My stomach is most assuredly already reaching it's maximum stretch potential. 

2,520/2 = 1260 calories. 

1260 calories + 3850 calories = 5,110 calories. 

Wow. I'm speechless. And not just because of all the wine and beer. That's A LOT of calories! 

How long would it take to burn off those calories? Well each half marathon I did this year, I burned around 1800 calories. I'm basically looking at running three half marathons to burn off this year's Thanksgiving. 

So this is good. This preview of Thanksgiving has allowed me to come up with a battle plan. Eat and drink less? Nope. Sign up for three half marathons? Yep! 

Wait. There's more. We get to do this again in a month at Christmas. Ok! The diet starts on January 1, 2015!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Be safe!

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