Are you someone how pays close attention to your calorie intake and makes sure to exercise on on regular basis?  I'm like that most of the time too, but I think everyone deserves to let loose on Thanksgiving.  Eat away, drink what you love, and loosen the belt as you fall asleep on the couch watching football!  Besides, there are several easy ways you can burn off those calories throughout the day.

First, I should probably share with you how many calories you're likely to consume on Thanksgiving.  According to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories and a hefty 229 grams of fat during a typical holiday gathering from snacking and eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and all the trimmings.  This also includes appetizers and drinks before and after a meal.

Okay, that sure sounds like a lot, but I'm not going to worry about it and neither should you.  Instead, take a look at these 5 things you can do to shed some of those calories on Thanksgiving:

  1.  First, according to, most experts (and lots of studies) suggest that a person of average weight burns about 100 calories in a mile of running. That number goes up slightly if you weigh more or if you’re a less efficient runner—both of which require that you use more energy to cover the same distance. Running faster doesn't burn more calories.  Every year, members of my family and I participate in the Gobble Gallop, which is a fun Thanksgiving morning 5K in downtown Duluth.  We jog 3.1 miles with thousands of others and you should join us!  Just think, you'll have burned off over 300 calories before you even begin your feast.
  2.  As you prepare for your meal, and whoever may come over, volunteer to go and get the extra chairs, table extension or anything that will have you walking and climbing stairs.  Experts say that you burn about 0.17 calories for every step you climb, so you burn roughly a calorie and a half for every 10 upward steps.  You also burn calories going downstairs, so think of how fast that can all add up.  Check out these 20 amazing stair climbing facts.
  3. Engage in funny conversation while you are eating and spending time with those you love!  Vanderbilt University Medical Center says that if you can laugh for 10 to 15 minutes a day, you'll burn up to 40 calories.  Sit next to the funny one in the family because the more and harder you laugh, the more calories you'll burn.  Laugh off that pumpkin pie!
  4.  Don't race to the couch after you're done eating, instead offer to help put those extra chairs and things away.  Again, more stairs and more calories burned.  Also, just by walking around the kitchen and dining room and by simply standing, you'll burn more calories than you will passing out on the couch right away.   Not only that, but your family will be amazed at how helpful you are!  They don't need to know you're just trying to burn some calories before you crack open another beer.
  5. Finally, if the weather permits, why not offer to go on a walk?  Kids can get crazy, dogs who have been hidden away need to get outside, and your Aunt Lucy from Minong would love to see which neighbors already have been working on Christmas lights.  Get outside for awhile and get easy exercise while having fun family time.

The are many ways you can soften the blow of Thanksgiving calories. Notice that I didn't offer fat free ways to prepare meals?  Who wants to eat a Thanksgiving meal without real butter and other real ingredients?

To me, Thanksgiving is a time to feast with family and friends and by doing little things throughout the day you can also burn calories along the way.  Then, you can sit down with a beer and a turkey sandwich to watch the final football game at night without a care.

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