Linda Melone
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5 ways to get back on track after a day of calorie overload

Pop quiz time! Sharpen your No. 2 pencils and fire up your thinking caps.

Today’s challenge is a little different from my usual tests in that I want you to guess which of the following, seemingly ridiculous, scenarios I did NOT do last week…

Only one is correct, believe it or not. Which one is it, out of these four options:

1. I used a public restroom with see-through doors
2. I showed up on the wrong day for a live business event
3. I took a surfing lesson in Laguna Beach
4. I met more people waiting in line for a bathroom than I’ve done all year long

Can you guess it? It’s a toughie because all of them sound like the antics of a mad woman.

I’ll go through them one at a time below. But the winner is the one choice most likely to be true for normal people… #3! Because: sharks. No amount of waterproof mascara can fix having a chunk of your leg gnawed off by a sea creature.

Now to explain the others. (WARNING! Potty talk ahead.) 

Yes, as cray cray as it sounds, the first one is actually true. I attended a live event at a venue with a very unusual, shall we say, bathroom “decor”? The doors were “frosted” but totally see-through. 

Yes, seriously. I don’t know who thought of this. Actually, yes, I do: some voyeuristic architect.

Those of us waiting in line were forced to look at the person behind us and smile uncomfortably to avoid seeing the person sitting on the throne with their pants down around their ankles.

Embarrassing for both the looker and the lookee.

To top it off, the event took place in a hall that regularly hosts weddings for a couple hundred people. Over 200 people attended this meeting, and there were only a total of four bathroom stalls between two restrooms for all of us. This made for much line-waiting and looking-not looking.

Truly mysterious, creepy and weird at the same time. Shy bladders need not apply. 

This brings me to #4…

The upside to forced public urination? Those of us waiting in line had no choice but to start a conversation with the person behind us to avoid looking straight ahead. Like surviving any other type of uncomfortable or painful situation together, we bonded. I made friends I’ll have forever and all because of a shady restroom situation.

That leaves #2. Yup, I showed up for this event on the completely wrong day.

You know when you do something that makes you question whether or not you should see a doctor, psychiatrist, or voodoo priestess to ward off evil spirits that have invaded your brain?

That was me last Tuesday.

I don’t know what happened, but for some reason I thought this event began on Tuesday. It was on my calendar for Wednesday through Friday. I had the correct days in hand, yet I still showed up on Tuesday.

On the upside, I had a lovely conversation with the janitor, who was about one second away from phoning the police when I told him I was there for a “big event with a couple hundred people.” He paused to look around the room, as if I was seeing something he was not. I left before he had a chance to  pull the emergency ripcord.

Thankfully, the venue was only a half hour from my house so I made a U-turn and went home. Honestly, I was happy I showed up early than to have missed the event entirely.

But then I thought about it. Have I truly lost it? I wondered. I literally went home and looked up “how to know you’re losing your mind,” and other pertinent questions like “symptoms of dementia,” in an effort to figure out what the heck I was thinking.

I did not find any answers other than the fact I may need to slow down a bit and focus.

So what does this have to do with recovering from Thanksgiving dinner? Not a lot, admittedly… except for ONE MAJOR THING:

You can’t always control your environment, whether it’s peeing in view of a crowd of people or having access to only rich food for a couple of days.

So when you’re presented with piles of stuffing, yards of pies, and no access to any other activity aside from raising your fork to your mouth, you simply plan for it.

Don’t stress, just move forward.

And follow these steps to get back on track ASAP…

1. LOOK AHEAD 
Don’t spend the day wallowing in regret over eating and drinking too much. It does not good (unless you’ve invented a time machine, in which case we need to talk) and may, in fact, stress you out so much you end up doing the same the next day out of guilt. Just vow to move forward and put it behind you. Start right now.

2. BEHAVE
Drink plenty of water the following day and skip sweets, chips and all junk food. Focus instead on fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and other good stuff. If you are surrounded by leftovers you find hard to resist, abide by the next rule. Because once you let another day go by without some semblance of self-control, that day leads to another and another and… you get the idea. Nip it in the bud now before you end up shopping in the seasonal tent department for pants.

3. DEAR DIARY
Start right back journaling your food, regardless of whether it’s stuffing or pumpkin pie. Writing it down automatically helps you rein in your calories.  

4. SHHH….
Take time to de-stress. If you spent the holiday with family, stress may have played a role in comfort eating, especially if you’re an introvert like me and had to be “on” all day. Or if your family enjoys reminiscing about every mistake you’ve ever made in life starting when you threw a toy at your sister’s head when you were five — and you’re now 60. Take a solitary walk, read a book, meditate, stretch, do yoga, whatever helps you get your head back in the game.

5. MOVE IT
Avoid doing your best imitation of Jabba the Hutt the next day. Do a light workout, go for an extended walk (far away from the refrigerator and leftovers) or do some other cardio to get your blood pumping and calories burning.

To help motivate you, here’s a chart of the most popular Thanksgiving foods and ways to burn it off:

FOOD                                    AMT                 CALORIES

TURKEY 6 OZ 340
STUFFING 1/2 CUP 180
CRANBERRY SAUCE 1/2 CUP 90
GRAVY 1/2 CUP 150
GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE 1/2 CUP 225
EGGNOG 1 CUP 343
CANDIED SWEET POTATOES 1/2 CUP 150
MASHED POTATOES 1/2 CUP 150
PUMPKIN PIE 1/8 PIE 180
PECAN PIE 1/8 PIE 480
APPLE PIE 1/8 PIE 410


ACTIVITY*                     
CAL BURNED/HOUR

BOWLING 215
CIRCUIT TRAINING 573
CROSS COUNTRY SKI 573
DANCING 344
GROUP AEROBICS 465
RUNNING 5 MPH 573
SHOVELING SNOW 430
STATIONARY CYCLING 501
STRENGTH TRAINING 215
WALKING 4 MPH (BRISK) 358
WATCHING SPORTS 107
YOGA/STRETCHING 179

*Based on a 150 lb person

YOUR TURN… What’s your tactic for coming back after a day or two of overindulging? Let’s chat below!

Other posts you may enjoy:

How to create a minimalist workout plan

How to get motivated exercising at home

How to burn more calories all day long

QUESTIONS? Email me at linda@lindamelone.com and I’ll be sure to get back to you!

Your Ageless Body Coach,

About the Author Linda Melone

Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.

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Leave a Comment:

Patricia Scott says

Hi Linda,
I like that you posted the calories AND the chart for calories burned through activities. I didn’t know Circuit burned 573. Cool!
I plan to do the brisk walk at 4.1 or if the weather doesn’t permit I’ll do my stationery bike. Either way I should do ok. I am trying to project success for me today instead of me wallowing in pumpkin pie. Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Reply
    Linda Melone says

    Sounds like a plan, Pat!

    Reply
Josephine Duckett says

Hi Linda
I love your posts, feel like I’m listening to one of my sisters side of a chat – would love to be able to meet up for regular exercise. I try and get my friends (we have all hit 60 in the last couple of years) to do stuff but invariably they fall away from it all except our walks in the morning.

Reply
    Linda Melone says

    Thanks, Josephine! 🙂 I only WISH I knew how to keep people committed to a regular exercise routine. Maybe try alternating the exercises each week, and everyone in the group gets a chance to pick. That sometimes works. Otherwise, keep walking! 🙂

    Reply
Joy says

Thanks for the strategy. I really needed this as Thanksgiving at my bro’s included all of the traditional high-carb foods – mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing and really good dinner rolls from a bakery which were my assigned food due to me being kitchen-less since February 6th due a remodel. The kicker though was that my niece’s new boyfriend joined the large family gathering and she made his family’s fav – homemade mac & cheese instead of desserts which I can take to go and eat the next day! Anyway, I am writing this email and sipping on warm lemon water with cinnamon as I am thankfully not hungry though the 2 rolls I bought home are calling me by name! I have lunch scheduled with a friend today but gonna see if we can do a walk instead! Happy holidays!

Reply
    Linda Melone says

    Hi Joy! I’m glad you found my tips helpful. The key lies in not making a single day of overindulging another day… then another. Enjoy it, then get back on track as soon as possible :). I’ll be posting a video on my Facebook page with a few more tips, too! 🙂

    Reply
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