Stay fit this Thanksgiving with Turkey Trots, charity runs & portion control


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You’ve been really good sticking with your fitness plans this year and even passed up the leftover Halloween candy. Now, a new challenge arises: Thanksgiving. Enjoy the holiday without the regret with these three healthy tips.


Burn, baby burn

What better way to fire up your metabolism before an onslaught of pumpkin pie, stuffing and gravy hits your face than to join in on a Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot? Sure, you have to wake up a little bit early on your (hopefully) day off, but you are giving back to the community while preparing your body for yummy things to come. Turkey Trots are usually 5k run/walks (3.1 miles long). Some include a 1-mile fun run.

Relatives visiting for the holidays? Bring them along! It may spark a new-found love of fitness for them. Click here for a list of events near you, and here for more tips on how to fire up your metabolism before you feast.


Give back with the gift of fitness

In a previous article, we explained how good deeds make you a healthier person. The holidays are a great time to put your good intentions into action. We recommend getting involved with Back on My Feet, a nonprofit organization that promotes the self-sufficiency of homeless people by engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem. All members — regardless of race, education or socioeconomic status — join together to move their own lives forward, as well as the lives of their teammates.

According to their website, Back on My Feet is a six- to nine-month program that works with people living in homeless facilities. Teams are formed at partner facilities, where the foundation of BoMF is laid through dedication to running. After 30 days in the program, each member who maintains 90% attendance moves to the Next Steps phase. Next Steps enables members to move toward self-sufficiency through educational and job-training opportunities.

Back on My Feet has chapters in Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Dallas; Indianapolis; Atlanta; and New York City.

Volunteer to run with a team at least once a week, and you'll be making a difference in someone's life, as well as your own.


Watch your calorie intake!

It’s tempting to put your diet on hold for a day, open the flood gates and let the fatty foods in, but a day full of eating can put a dent in your weight-loss goals. Click here to download and print a Thanksgiving serving-size infographic — created by experts at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center — to avoid holiday weight gain by learning how to choose healthier food portions.

“Overeating can lead to unhealthy weight gain that, in the long-run, may make it harder for your body to fight off diseases like cancer,” said Mary Ellen Herndon, wellness dietitian at MD Anderson, in a press release.

Most men need about 2,000 calories a day, and most women need about 1,500 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight.

“Your Thanksgiving meal should make up about one-third of your daily calories if you plan on eating three meals for the day,” Herndon said. “Remember, if you do indulge a little on Thanksgiving, make sure you return to eating balanced, healthy meals the next day.”