November 25, 2008

Running away from Thanksgiving

Ah, the holidays. A time of shopping and tinsel, when being a big guy in a red outfit giving away goodies to children will probably not get you arrested.

A time to get together with family and indulge in the usual family occupations: food, watching The Game, and revisiting old memories -- like the time cousin Joe got into a fight with aunt Susan over who really was supposed to have inherited Grandma Mary's lamborghini.

Sorry -- a bit of Christmas fantasy crept into that last paragraph. I'll try to stick to the basics.

Adding insult to insulin...

The truth is, love 'em or loathe 'em, family can be hard to take. Lots of hugs, laughter, and old times revisited. Also usually some snippy remarks, poisonous as mistletoe and just as traditional. And to add insult to insulin, just at a time when you're emotionally wound up, there's humoungous spread of comfort food spread out in front of you.

Running away from my problems

I've taken to developing new traditions.

Running away from my problems is one of them. Literally. On Thanksgiving morning, I've signed up for a Turkey Trot at the Zoo. Apparently you don't need to be an actual turkey to participate. Not the kind with wings, anyway.

I like the idea of working off all the calories before the feast. And even if you're stuck in the kitchen hoping that dang bird cooks, why not let the non-cooks tackle the dishes, while you take aunt Margaret for a walk? Work off that gravy by pounding the pavement rather than ending up face down in the pecan pie.

Are there any Canadians who have helpful tips they could share about their T-Day experiences in the trencherman trenches?

Does anyone have clever exercise plans for T-day? Or are you going to try to go low cal on this traditional day of gustatory excesses? Or are you going to simply chalk it up as a high-calorie day and work off the calories by fighting the crowds on Black Friday?

A couple of blogs had some helpful suggestions:
Journeying to lose 200 pounds: Top 10 Healthy Thanksgiving Strategies.
Almost Vegetarian: Finds to make Thanksgiving Easier.

Photos courtesy of jblyberg.


  1. Turkey trot is genius for whoever clever minded individual started that! I like the idea of burning before indulging, but, somehow I just can't be bothered. It's thanksgiving and for me, that means sitting on a couch, ignoring relatives and stuffing my face. I'll worry about the calories in my early morning rides in the days to come!

  2. thanksgiving is my day off for sure.

    because I burn so many calories running (away from all the family questions about what the hell a blog is and when Im getting a real career)

    xo xo,


  3. Same as MizFit only instead of running away from questions about my career I'm running away from questions about my love life and when I'm going to get married.

  4. Aha.... it's always about the food isn't it???? Well we've started a new tradition - we FIRST discuss what fun things we're going to 'do' (like have a treasure hunt, or play 'pin the feather on the turkey' etc....) before we're allowed to discuss what we're going to 'eat.' So the whole emphasis has changed.

    And even when it comes to the eating, here are some great tips for how to go about that:

  5. I will be in Alexandria, VA running the 5-mile Turkey Trot - it's become a tradition for me and my sister. It's sponsored by a wonderful charity (you have to bring two non-perishable items of food on race day).
    It actually is fun - really!

  6. In my grandparents' day, it was traditional to go for a walk after the dishes were done. This was mostly at my grandmother's instigation. She walked every day that she wasn't too sick to get out of bed, and she had the best legs I've ever seen on an eighty year old except for Sally Rand.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  7. I'll probably be escaping with my ipod and one of the dogs.

    And I'll be running from questions about my career and defending bk to my parents.

  8. The after meal verbal assault followed closely with the physical altercation with loving family will come in handy for calorie burning after another great feast.

    I think it was Ann Landers that said that visiting family is like fish, after 3 days they really begin to stink.
    Happy Thanksgiving. :)

  9. I just don't worry about what I eat on thanksgiving, figure its one day, and I'm usually a healthy eater. My family's tradition is to eat, go to a movie, and then eat again. We do get up early and fight our way through the crowded stores the next day though.

    As for the family, well I love them, but there is a reason I live 1200 miles away.

  10. When I started living a fit life years ago, I dropped the food centered holiday mind set.

    Wishing all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

  11. Love that Turkey Trot idea! I definitely like to go for a long walk beforehand.

    Also remember how tasty leftovers are. Eat slowly so that you can have extras for tomorrow:)

  12. My husband and I run a turkey trot every year. I love it, it gets us up in the morning, our workout is done early and we go home to cook our turkey. Otherwise, I din't think I would exercise at all. But we do freeze our butts off each year, stupid new england weather.

  13. Every year, the doctor who masterminded (forced me) to diet down the pounds years ago, leads a 5 mile hike every Thanksgiving, which at first, was daunting. It's really fun to participate in this event. Most of our meal is cooked ahead and we just rewarm the hot items. Everybody helps out at home after the stumble/walk/hike -it seems to get better each year, and even some family members have joined in! Have great runs all!

  14. We all go for a walk after the things outside. Otherwise we sit...and busrtingly nibble our way into oblivion.
    I usually try and lose 5 Lb before hte holidays so I'm free to indulge a bit and not I'm not really a vicor of restraint. It's more walks and less "oh I'll just have one's" to keep it all together...

  15. Woo hoo! You go, Merry! Good luck in the Turkey Trot.

    How sad is it that half the reason I wish I were in the states to celebrate Thanksgiving is to run in a Turkey Trot? I think perhaps this is a good sign. ;)

  16. Sounds like the turkey trot is a brilliant idea!

    The Bag Lady is usually so exhausted from cooking the "big meal" that she can't even eat it......

  17. Wish they did a turkey trot at Christmas! I'll miss all the Thanksgiving stodge being a Brit but I'm sure I'll make up for it by eating my bodyweight in festive goodies in December...

    TA x

  18. What an excellent idea to do a Turkey Trot!

    I usually try to get a little extra exercise and then I say "screw it." I figure lots of what's on offer is actually at least a little bit healthy (turkey, yams, cranberry sauce, green beans) and I try not to totally pork out on the other stuff.

    This year we're going easy and not even making a bunch of the traditional stuff, so it will be more like a regular dinner.

    Great post! (But boy it feels so weird for me to be on west coast time again and show up so late to the party!)

  19. Crabby, we're not as early-bird productive as them easterners, but it's civilized to get up late ;)

  20. My stepsister ran a marathon this past Saturday, and she's on strict non-exercise for the next two weeks. I think that's the perfect set-up. You run 26 miles (ouchee), then sit and eat eat eat for Thanksgiving. Mmm.

    Me? I normally teach on Thursdays, but given the holiday, I have Thursday, Friday and Saturday off from the gym. No exercise for me on Thursday. I might hit the gym on Friday, though I'm going to IKEA with a friend, so maybe I'll just count that as walking and lifting exercise...

  21. Actually, I find that the best way to avoid eating too much at Thanksgiving is to cook the food. Seriously: at first everything smells so good, but after I've been preparing various dishes for a day or two, the thought of eating it makes me want to gag.

    By Saturday I'm all over the turkey sandwiches, though. :)

  22. Well, this week's WW mtg was a trial run so to speak where they handed us a list of typical tTurkey day foods and listed off the points for each item while we checked off the list of what our typical dinner turkey day dinner might be.

    I decided on 6 margaritas and 1 oz of turkey which is about 26 points for the day. If I add a slice of pumpkin pie after I jog for 3 hours, the 12 point pie won't be as bad.
    No whipped cream.

    Seriously, we are a small group and we will cook a turkey and skip a lot of the typical junk that seems to be required by larger groups. Veg, turkey, potatoes, about 2 oz max of any one item. One piece of pie divided by 3 people shouldn't be too bad.

  23. Some great ideas here, and POD, after 6 Margaritas, you won't miss the mashed potatoes at all!

    (Too funny).

  24. Ah, Marste, you're a better cook than I am. More confident, anyway.

    I keep worrying -- is this dish okay? I should taste it to make sure. And that dish. And that dish too. By the time the meal is prepared, I'm feeling pretty full.

  25. Gazelle! Cool! Look for the short fat chick who's panting a lot ;)

  26. No running for me and my hip, but I'm signed up for a Friday morning spin. And the trainer's set up in the basement in case I need to escape from all the dish washing that's going to start happening here soon...

  27. I too am running TG morning, a lovely 5K through the park with 2000 of my closest friends! As for the calories, it's just one of those days, I just watch to make sure it's ONE of those days and not a WEEK of those days. :)

  28. I usually do a long run or long spin session on Thanksgiving morning, or some combination of the two. As for food, I indulge, but modestly. Go easy on the fattening stuff, take double helpings of the lower-cal fare.

    The hubby and I will be doing Thanksgiving sans famille for the second year in a row, and we're beyond excited! Low-stress! Foods we like! Great company-just us and the critters!

  29. That’s why my Thanksgiving dinner will be relatively light, lots of veggies and only fruit for dessert. We will have wine, I think that’s enough sugar!

  30. What a good idea about burning off the calories before you start. I completed a race the weekend before Thanksgiving to get all of mine in. And then we didn't have a traditional fest, we did seafood because its lower cal.

  31. Yummm, seafood. We have that for Christmas eve dinner.

    I'd love to do a Turkey Trot. Too bad we're always traveling by car (for at least 3 hrs) on Thanksgiving morning.

  32. By eating Thanksgiving dinner early (1pm), no one's full of snacks - or ravenous enough to eat three dinners. We have all healthy options on the table (except for the crescent rolls that are a white trash tradition in my family :).

    And at dinner time? A piece of pie w/ some coffee or tea. Makes for a much more enjoyable holiday for everyone. Between 'dinner' and dessert, depending on weather it's either a bike ride or play in the snow.

  33. the boy and i signed up for a 4-mile (!!!) turkey trot that morning. it's supposed to be rainy and we've not been on the right track in terms of running lately, so we're going to take it slow and stick together.

    regardless of how we do, it's better than sleeping in a lot and sitting on the couch, right?

  34. "Adding insult to insulin" is my new fave catch phrase. I'm going to see how many times I can throw that baby in this week!! And also - you know I love running away from my problems. both literally and metaphorically!

  35. I might go take a Crossfit class on Thanksgiving morning. Or just take Hubby, kids, and dogs on a hike. I'm also just going to take a bit of everything that I like, enjoy it, and not stuff myself.
    After dinner, I'll get plenty of exercise chasing said children up and down the 3 flights of stairs at my in-laws' house, and grabbing for anything they pick up with the intention of throwing it on the floor.

  36. Despite the fact that every Wednesday before Turkey Day my friends' tradition is to get obliterated, I'm running Thursday morning and then eating until I'm full. Not stuffed, but a little extra full. :)

  37. Happy to see you back too, Crabby.
    I know everyone has said that but they aren't me.


  38. I definitely work out on Tday, but beyond that my focus is on having left overs!! I want to enjoy that food for days, not gobble it all up at once.

  39. First, yes, I am running a 6k "Cold Turkey Trot" that morning, but I also feel it's okay to let go for a day. Don't eat 5 servings of everything but some of everything you want to have. Then, move on. Literally, then start moving, more.

  40. "Add insult to insulin"!!! My new fave too, LOLOLOL!

    Hi Crabby, missed you, glad you're a"home" safe!

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  42. I'm a big fan of the Turkey Trot as well, but even when I don't race, I love to run on t-giving only if because I can (I have childcare on holidays!)

  43. All my running is going to be from place to place while we're back home for three days. So many people to see!

    I'm really thankful for my family. We always have a great time! Even though we've been, politically speaking, a house divided for the last eight years. We just hardly ever talk about that.

  44. Preparing a lot of vegetable side dishes makes me feel better about my Thanksgiving feast! You can also skip the bread or potatoes.

    I also agree with the long walk but not before the meal because that will only make me more hungry.

  45. I'm a huge fan of running a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. There's just something about getting in a strong workout and then following it up with a good meal. In addition, an end-of-the-day walk has become a Thanksgiving tradition in my family. Every Christmas we also do a morning bike ride.


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