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How to offset Thanksgiving meal calories

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Reported by: Brittany Jeffers
Updated: 11/21/2012 5:39 pm Published: 11/21/2012 4:54 pm

Thanksgiving and weight loss are two things that rarely go together.

However, dietitians and physical trainers say there are things you can do to offset the calorie surplus that turkey day can bring.

Totals can vary from person to person but trainers and dietitians suggest the average number of calories in Thanksgiving dinner can span between 2,000 and 4,500 calories.

“In the eleventh hour we are getting down to crunch time,” said owner and physical trainer at Fitness Together in Owasso, Steve Dibbins.

Dibbins says you can combat a rising number on the scale by practicing mindful eating and exercising. Dibbins says a consistent cardio and strength training workout on Thanksgiving and the days following it will help to keep your weight from creeping up.

“A thirty minute circuit training workout is going to burn about three or four hundred calories,” said Dibbins.

Dibbins told FOX23 those who are new to exercise would still benefit from a brisk walk on Thanksgiving.

“It's not the time to go crazy and launch into something that you have never done but if you are working out you can add on to workout time,” said Dibbins.

Dibbins also suggests eating a light snack 45 minutes before the Thanksgiving meal. He says sitting down for the meal extremely hungry could mean that you’ll help yourself to even more of the calories in the Thanksgiving spread.

Clinical Dietitian at Hilcrest Hospital South Stephanie Harris says swapping ingredients in the kitchen can help to curb the calories. Harris suggests substituting fruit puree instead of oil and using a sugar substitute instead of sugar.

“All of the little things tend to add up at the end of the day,” said Harris, “It’s never a bad idea to just reduce the butter or oil amount that the recipe calls for.”

Harris says weight maintenance is a realistic goal during the holiday season. She says practicing portion control during Thanksgiving sets a positive precedent for the rest of the holiday season. She added to be wary about falling into a routine of splurging. “There tends to be a domino effect for the whole holiday season then,” said Harris.

Dibbins and Harris reiterated the importance of portion control and exercising to help keep the holiday’s fun and guilt free.

“Enjoy the day, enjoy yourself and the people there," said Dibbins, " That is what it is all about."

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