How to Work off Your Thanksgiving Meal

By Temma Ehrenfeld @temmaehrenfeld
November 22, 2017

Worried about binge eating this holiday season? Just exercise after a big meal: Walking briskly could help you keep extra pounds away.

Thanksgiving is America’s official binge eating day. It’s not your fault — we all tend to match the eating of the people at the table. We eat more in big groups. The bigger the group, the more we eat. You also probably eat less with friends than with your family. If the holidays make you anxious, that could be a factor, too. When the tension seems about to rise, you pass around the pumpkin pie.

You’re lucky if your family also has a tradition of going for a walk after those big holiday meals. But in some families, the rule is to wait a half hour or even an hour.


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The theory goes like this: blood surges in your digestive tract to help manage all that food, and you won’t have enough left over.

The truth: your body does supply extra blood to aid digestion but not so much you don’t have enough to walk (or swim, for that matter).

In fact, a brisk walk could help you manage your blood sugar and even lose weight, according to some research. Blood sugar normally goes up and down after eating — peaking from 30 to 60 minutes after the meal before it drops in the next hour or two. Insulin goes up as well and triggers changes that can lead to weight gain. Big spikes can raise cardiovascular risk and signal diabetes.


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April 08, 2020

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN