We talked with Monica Vazquez, the trainer in charge of the “Don’t Be a Butterball” project, and got her answers to some possible questions.
I’m doing a turkey trot. So I can eat anything I want, right?
You know how many people think, “I did a turkey trot; I’ve earned the food”? You burn about 100 calories when you run a mile. Most of these races are 5Ks to five-milers, which is barely a piece of pie. There are 3,000 calories in a typical Thanksgiving meal. It’s okay to have something extra, but there’s a difference between a small slice of pie and an entire pie.
What if I starve myself all day until dinner?
Absolutely not. If you’re ravenous, you’ll stuff your face. It takes the body time to recognize that you’re full. You’ll end up eating more than you would have, and you won’t feel well.
I’m stuck in the kitchen all day. Are there any exercises I can do while I cook?
Put a lot of things you’ll need on top of the fridge, and put a step stool there, so you’re climbing up and down. That can get your heart rate up. Grab cans of cranberry sauce to do biceps curls and lateral raises. Find a kitchen chair and do squats sitting onto it, but just barely grazing the seat. You definitely have a kitchen timer. Tell yourself you’re going to do it nonstop for one minute three times. I’ve also seen my husband do push-ups off the counter.
I’m traveling in a car/plane/train for a long time to get to my family for the holiday. What are your suggestions for stretches to do along the way?
Sitting wreaks havoc on the hip flexors. They wrap around the lower back and so it gets tight. If you get up — say, to go to the bathroom — put one leg in front of the other. It’s a small step you can do it in a tight space. Then, keeping the back leg straight, lean over with only your hips. You’ll feel a wonderful stretch on your hip. Hold for 30 seconds and then do the other leg. The other thing is the figure-four stretch, which I’ve done on planes. Put your right ankle over your left knee. Then put your right hand on your right knee, push down and lean your torso away from the knee you’re pressing. It stretches the lower back. Then lace your fingers together, lift your arms overhead and reach left and then right. You won’t be distracting your neighbors more than adjusting the air.
My family tends to just sit around on the couch after we eat. Any ideas for a more active family tradition?