Eat, Play, Love: Five Surprising Facts About Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again when eating increases and exercise decreases. Family get-togethers and company soirees, combined with shorter days and cooler weather, make it hard to fight the “holiday bulge.”

To help us better understand this phenomenon, we commissioned a survey to find out why people have such a hard time keeping up with healthy habits over the holidays. We focused on the long Thanksgiving weekend, knowing it is the official start of the “eating” season.

What did we learn? A lot – especially around the perception vs. reality of eating and exercising. We also found some interesting differences between men and women. Check out the 5 research highlights below and be sure to click on the infographs for details. We’ve also put together seven tips to make your holiday season a healthy one.

Insight #1. The Average American Will Likely Consume Two and a Half Times the Amount of Calories They Expect: On average, Americans expect to consume about 1,700 calories at this year’s Thanksgiving meal.  The true average Thanksgiving meal calorie count is around 4,500.

So you think you can calorie count?

Insight #2. Shop Till You Drop…Those Thanksgiving Pounds: The majority of men and women see walking and shopping as the way to shed pounds over the weekend. However, they are both miiiiiles apart – in fact 40 miles – on the amount of walking it really takes to burn off those pounds versus what they think.

Shop Til You Drop

Insight #3. Men Look to Score in the Bedroom, Not the Football Field to Burn Turkey Day Calories…But They Choose Shopping Over Sex: While almost half of American men plan to do nothing before the Thanksgiving meal, one in five seem to think they’ll burn off those calories in the bedroom afterwards. Men chose a bedroom romp over playing football, running, and biking as their ideal post-Thanksgiving calorie-burning activity.

More men look to score in the bedroom.

Insight #4. Starving, Snacking & Gorging – The Mistakes Most Americans Will Make This Thanksgiving: Seven out of ten Americans do not plan to eat regular meals before this year’s Thanksgiving feast, which can lead to extreme overeating – with your average American consuming 4,500 calories during their turkey dinners.

Staving, snacking & gorging.

Insight #5. Holiday Fitness Habit Denial? Most Americans Say They’ll Keep to Their Regimen During This Stressful and Snack-filled Season: Six out of ten Americans (61%) plan to keep their fitness routine completely unchanged from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, despite the upped intake of calories from feasts and holiday parties.

Who actually ramps up their fitness routine.

What can you do about it?

Knowing the reality is the first step. But here are some helpful tips to keep you on track especially over the long weekend.

Tip #1.  Don’t starve yourself. When you starve yourself or eat light all day, you lower your metabolism considerably. When you sit down to eat, your hunger drives you to gorge and your slow-booting metabolism takes time to catch up. You’ve hit 2,000+ calories before your brain even realizes it.

Tip #2.  Play football vs. just watching football. It is easy to spend Thanksgiving day lounging around watching back-to-back college and pro games. Make sure you get outside and throw the pigskin yourself or do some other aerobic activity. Playing catch for just 30 minutes can burn 112 calories for an average person. Even better, rally your family and friends for a game of touch and you’re looking at up to 298 calories in 30 minutes.

Tip #3.  Don’t stress. The holidays can make some of us pretty anxious. When we stress, we tend to cope by partaking in unhealthy activities, such as excessive eating, drinking alcohol, or cocooning all day. Not only will these tendencies likely contribute to the holiday bulge (and cause you to stress even more), but stress can still cause weight gain because it causes an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. Do yourself a favor, and if you start getting stressed, do some breathing exercises while monitoring your heart rate to get you feeling good again (here’s how, using Basis).

Tip #4.  Keep your sleep regular. It can be easy to sleep away the long weekend especially after loading up on the big feast (and lots of leftovers). However, according to sleep specialists, oversleeping can make you lethargic and actually more sleepy for the rest of the day. This will make you less likely to be active over the weekend. Try to stick to a regular 7-9 hour sleep schedule and start your mornings with some walking, running, or biking to feel fresh for the rest of the day.

Tip #5.  Make it a social outing. The Thanksgiving weekend is a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends. Be sure to get outside and do some fun group activities like hiking or biking. When it is social, it can make the time fly by. A group bike ride can burn up to 600 calories in one hour, and a fun hike over the hills can burn over 450 calories for your average guy.

Tip #6.  Shop til you Drop. With online ordering, it’s so easy now to do all of your holiday shopping right from your desk or couch. But, if you have the time, take an afternoon to get out and shop the “old-fashioned way”. You’ll save on shipping and spend some calories instead! Shopping can burn up to 260 calories in one hour — and who shops for just one hour?? Plus, shopping is engaging, social, and keeps you mentally active, all of which improve your psychological well-being.

Tip #7.  Housework for a Workout. The holiday season brings lots of chores along with it. From raking leaves to shoveling snow to cleaning the house for visitors… there is a lot going on. It can be easy to dread this sort of house/yard work. However, if you change your mentality about it, you could find yourself accomplishing everything on your “to-do list” around the house, and getting a stellar workout in. For instance, 30 minutes of raking leaves burns around 150 calories, while carrying and stacking logs by your fireplace burns around 190 calories in 30 minutes. So get up and start helping (because we’re guessing you don’t have a choice anyway)!

Armed with these Thanksgiving bulge-busting tips, you’re sure to not only enjoy the holiday season but come out of it feeling healthier than ever before. Need a Basis band to help you? Get yours at our store.

Happy Turkey Day!

The Basis Team