Tis the season to be jolly, but to let yourself go completely would be an act of folly. How much exercise is enough to work off that Christmas meal and how can we attend to all these busyness without compromising our health?
As much as we want to keep fit and feel less guilty about eating that extra piece of turkey, time might not always permit that. In order to achieve a proportionate exercise to food to time ratio, first, we must look at how many calories we can anticipate in a Christmas meal.
A common source of protein during Christmas would be turkey. Every 100 gram of roasted turkey would set you back 189 calories and 203 calories per chicken wing. Wash your protein down with some coke to add another 140 calories, 125 calories for a glass of red wine or worse, 223 calories for a cup of eggnog. 3 pieces of Ferrero Rocher costs 220 calories and 387 calories for a delectable slice of Christmas log cake.
All these add up to a hefty amount of calories even before including the carbs and alcohol. After tabulating the total calorie count, Christmas meals can have more calories in one sitting than a full day’s recommended calorie intake (around 2000 for females and 2500 for males)!
How much exercise is needed then to work off those extra calories? To give a basic illustration of what it takes to burn those calories, a Hershey’s Kiss of 22 calories would take an estimate of either 2 minutes of swimming, 3 minutes of cycling, 3 minutes of jogging or 6 minutes of walking to burn off. This means that to burn 2000 calories worth of food, you would have to run the likes of a marathon!
The average person might not have the time nor capability to work out with the intensity of a marathon run for each Christmas meal so here are some other ways to keep that balance in check.
Lifestyle habits: With the packed every-day life of a working adult or student, the usual time/intensity allocated for exercise might not be enough to burn off a Christmas meal, so try to incorporate little exercises into your daily life! Take the stairs or opt to walk if possible to your destination. Need to spend quality time with your family/friends? Change the usual meet-up activity from gorging out at a meal to a more physically active program like going through Singapore’s TreeTop walk at Macritchie Reservoir or a bicycle ride along the coast of a beach.
Adequate sleep: Sleeping affects your metabolic rate and appetite so try to sleep on time to maintain healthy metabolic rates and keep your hunger in better control.
Losing weight before Christmas: Some people find this method more assuring as it gives them more leeway to indulge in the Christmas meal. Better to have that weight lost settle back on the scales than to see a net increase in your weight after Christmas 😉
Self-Control: It is extremely hard to out exercise your calories as illustrated in the calculations above, therefore one’s diet is still the biggest factor in weight and health management. Use the amount of exercise needed as a deterrent to eating excessively. Knowing that an extra piece of turkey equates to 6 more minutes on the bicycle tracks might help you to better control yourself.
Diet: As aforementioned, one’s diet is of utmost importance in weight management. Eating more for breakfast helps one to control their appetite throughout the day. If you know you will be having a huge meal later in the evening, lower your calorie count for the day by consuming high fiber, low calorie meals throughout the day.
Having said that, Christmas is a special season to spend time with your friends and families over a hearty meal. With some consideration to your calorie intake and proactive measures taken, it is possible to have your Christmas meal & the log cake you have waited a year for 😉