I have generally had two thought patterns about Thanksgiving and eating: when I am thin and health-conscious I choose to eat whatever I want for Thanksgiving dinner and maintain my normal eating and exercise routine otherwise … and when I am neither thin nor health-conscious I choose to eat whatever I want for Thanksgiving dinner because – well, just because.
Based on my weight and general eating habits, my portions and servings will vary, but regardless I have certainly never really considered my real-world servings compared to ‘single serving portions’. Over at Greatist, they take a pictorial look at the correctly sized servings of popular Thanksgiving foods next to similarly sized objects. Let’s check out a few:
Which quite honestly doesn’t look much different from in size from the whole thigh I plop on my plate most years … yikes!
On the upside, as noted at Popular Science, no matter how much you eat the net weight you can possibly gain from a single meal is pretty small. Well, when you first eat you gain EXACTLY what you consume – which might be a couple of pounds based on intake.
But almost immediately your body goes to work processing everything into active energy (for whatever you are doing at the moment), stored energy (fat cells), and waste. And while the entire trip through your system can take 20 – 60 hours, you are immediately and constantly burning off whatever you ate. Of course, bring active by cleaning up, going for a walk, playing around with family, friends and pets all help you burn off even more of that dinner … and get you ready for pie!
In the end, as a 2010 NPR report noted:
“People tend to gain maybe three-quarters of a pound to a pound over the holiday period,” says Roger Cone, chairman of the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Bottom line: Taking off weight gained over a period of years is tough, but the occasional holiday overindulgence just isn’t that big of a deal.
“You certainly don’t gain appreciable weight after one or two meals,” says Edward Saltzman, a scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.
Have you ever tried to stick to a ‘normal’ portion control plan for Thanksgiving? Are you going to try tomorrow?