Fitness Expert: Avoid the urge to splurge on holiday food

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Thanksgiving marked the official start of the holiday season, and that also meant the official start of holiday eating.

The Calorie Control Council says the average American consumes 4500 calories on Thanksgiving Day, and Columbia wellness expert Jamie Scott says that number may be even higher. "If you just over eat, which 80 percent of the people do in the U.S. on Thanksgiving, it's anywhere between 4,000 and 6,000 calories," says Scott.

Scott says overeating has a lot to do portion perspective. "You just can't have a whole container of dressing," he adds. "A fist, balled up, that's usually a good healthy serving size."

So what if you didn't follow the fist-sized serving portion and you consumed 4500 calories on Thanksgiving? Scott says you probably still haven't burned off the meal. "Walking three times a week, it will take you two weeks to burn that off."

In the midst of the holiday season, you're likely to attend another holiday party before that, so Scott has three tips.

  1. Never go to a holiday party on an empty stomach. (Scott says that will help reduce calorie intake and unintentional food grazing. He says make the party about the people, not the food.)
  2. Always drink water before drinking alcohol. "Don't just have a beer because you're thirsty. Drink water because you're thirsty, and then if you choose to consume alcohol then do so after that."
  3. If you mess up one day, get back on track the next. "Don't wallow in it!"

Scott says staying active is also essential, and that doesn't have to mean a trip to the gym. "You can park on the other side of the parking lot and walk to the grocery store versus everybody trying to find a parking space right beside the door," he adds.

Scott says if you follow these simple tips, they just may lighten the holiday food overload. He adds if you want to put a dent in your Thanksgiving dinner, you can also join him at his new location at Cross Hill Market at 8:15 am this Saturday for the 'JS Challenge Tri.' Scott says he's opening his new facility during the holiday season on purpose and kicking things off with a mini-triathlon of sorts. It will include a 50-minute boot camp class, a 50-minute spin class and a 3.5 mile run. For more information on the event visit and click on 'JSF Class Schedules.'