Thanksgiving Food Coma? Maybe We Should Rethink That...


        Here I am, mentally preparing myself for the classic "food coma" I go into after Thanksgiving...  How after dinner each year my sisters and I lay on the floor until we can basically breathe again. For the first time I thought about how much each person eats every year, and then I came across an article explaining that the average calorie intake for ONE person at Thanksgiving dinner is 4,500 calories! Sure that includes the drinks, appetizers, and the dessert... But 4,500 calories? That makes me sick to my stomach!

        As well as calories, it is also said that about 229 grams of fat is taken in, "the equivalent of around three sticks of butter." All I can think about is what I can do to not intake all of that garbage. Even though it is one time of year, that is definitely unhealthy considering that only includes dinner and the average calorie intake for women "over age the of 20 is around 1,700 per day." That means 2,800 more calories than one should have in a day is being consumed in just one meal! What can we do about this? How can we just not eat all that turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, veggies, bread, desserts, cranberries, etc.?

         The only advice I can come across is "serving water with the meal instead of soft drinks... throw the football around during half time instead of sitting on the couch." Truthfully, the obvious solution is to just not eat all the food on your plate, and to stop when you're full... But let's be real, it's Thanksgiving... I suggest just working out extremely hard the week of Thanksgiving, and definitely in the morning and, if you can move afterwards, then exercise after dinner too. However, I read that a "160 lb. person would have to run at a moderate pace for four hours, swim for five hours, or walk 30 miles to burn off a Thanksgiving Day meal." So pretty much, exercise cannot even save you from this dinner. 


         It's been said that winter is the "hibernation" season, and it's been proven that "the average person gains 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years." There is a combination of factors to weight gain in this period of time; holiday food, depression, less activity to do outdoors due to the cold weather, stress, etc. I do not know if it is fair to say that "the average person" gains that much, but it is possible that people do. Why do we gain wait, and why do we overeat even after we're full, anyway? Of course, especially over the holidays the food is just delicious and you want to eat as much as possible... But why not save some for later or even the next day? There is actually a term called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that effects people mostly during the winter because of the colder and darker surroundings. When stressing over the holidays, or not feeling as well as usual, food is used as a comfort food- their thought process of how eating will make them feel better. 


         So is this holiday season really worth the food comas and weight gain? My stomach says yes, but my mind says "you are so dumb, just do not do it." I am certain that food coma is the correct term to use after all of the research I have done for this, considering after all that butter and fat you can probably go into an actual coma after it. They key to surviving this season skinny and fit is to do your best to maintain a calm, relaxed, and happy outlook on everything to avoid depression and stress. As well, try to avoid overeating especially on the holidays. Finally, exercise and activity is a must this season, no matter how cold the temperatures are or if the weather is just not cooperating. What are some other ways you could relieve your stress and avoid depression in the winter besides eating? What can we do to help others we see gaining weight and becoming lazier during the season?

Works Cited:

"The Thanksgiving Dinner Diet Bust! How the Average American Will Eat 4,500 Calories and 229 Grams of Fat on Turkey Day." Mail Online. 26 Nov. 2013. <>.

"Thanksgiving Survival Guide." SparkPeople. 27 Nov. 2013. <>.

"Hard to Believe: Average Thanksgiving Meal Equals 3,000 Calories and 229 Grams of Fat." ACE Fitness. 27 Nov. 2013. <>.

"Average Daily Calorie Intake." Healthy Eating. 27 Nov. 2013. <>.


I actually tend to eat dinner each day to the point where I feel stuffed. So for me, Thanksgiving is just another meal. The same goes for Christmas. So I wonder then, why do I still feel that I gain extra weight over the holidays? It could be because I get less exercise (I tend not to go to the gym on holidays or the days after). But I feel like I at least make up for some lost time at the gym by being more active (running around the house, helping to prepare the meal, being busy in general). I wonder if there are certain foods that are particularly high in calories in a turkey meal compared to what I normally eat. Doing some research, I found this article ( I think I found my weakness. Sure, the green bean casserole has more calories (375 per cup) than I thought. However, I can't believe I forgot the real problem: dessert! Pecan pie, a family favorite, can have up to 850 calories in one slice! I usually have two! I never eat such hefty desserts normally. Now I see where I get the fuel to pack on those extra holiday pounds. If anyone is interested, here is an official list of tips on how to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner responsibly from the American Diabetes Association... Nice blog post!

I am currently in that "food coma" after polishing off my third helping of apple pie. I found it useful to drink water with my meal rather than soda but i still feel horrible. It's also pretty difficult to get exercise now that it is freezing out. Overall, this Thanksgiving break turned into a major speed bump in my exercise routine and diet I try to maintain while in school. It makes a lot of sense that people gain so much weight during the holidays and it is something that could be avoided but it almost seems inevitable to me.

I have absolutely experienced the Thanksgiving Food Coma before, however this year was different. I was able to come across a website that helps cut back the calories with our cutting back the entire meal. I found that yes, I was full, but I wasn't absolutely sick to my stomach as I was in previous years. Most of the problem on Thanksgiving is there are a lot of delicious options, and you should absolutely try them all but consider your serving sizes. First, try and cut back on the amount of turkey you grab. For example; grab 3 ounces of meat. Next, reach for a scoop of the sweet potatoes rather than the regular. Then focus on your vegetables. The biggest problem with Thanksgiving Dinner is that most people find this day to be a guilt free day. If you don't think that it's worth all the calories, then you have options to make your meal equally as incredible, however it will take a little bit of thinking. Instead of throwing a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream onto your apple pie, try a scoop of low fat ice cream instead. The substitutes are amazing. I know that this may be difficult for people who go to their relatives house for dinner, however there is nothing wrong with bringing your favorite vegetable and some low fat ice cream with you on the trip. I highly doubt people will be judging you for trying to make healthy decisions. Let everyone else get fat and you stay skinny.

What an interesting article! I have read one previously on the class blog that seemed to tackle the same issue of post Thanksgiving "food coma", however they focused primarily on turkey and its affects with lethargy. So I guess Thanksgiving is a Holiday that has more affects than just family bonding and being thankful. I cannot believe that it is 4,500 calories of food intake in just one meal! Exercise is always an option, but I agree with your conclusion that winter really becomes a time of hibernation. The days are shorter and the weather is gloomy-making you feel more tired anyways! Coming back to your research on Thanksgiving's adverse affects, it seemed as though my family and I wondered the same thing before engulfing our plate. My mother did research and found that most studies suggest each person gets 1-2 lbs of turkey for the Thanksgiving meal. 1-2 POUNDS OF TURKEY?! That's over 1,000 calories! So no wonder the average human being intakes 4,500 calories each Thanksgiving meal, because 1/4 of it is from strictly turkey. I dug deeper into the goodies served for the holiday meal and the calories they entail. To check them out, look at this website!

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