Here’s an unpleasant reality check: The traditional American Thanksgiving meal packs an average of 3000 calories. Considering that the recommended daily caloric intake for women ranges from 2000 (over age 25) to 1850 (over age 50) this puts one meal at approximately a third more than a full day’s requirement. And that’s just one meal; most of us at least eat breakfast on Thanksgiving, not to mention that time-honored late-night turkey sandwich.
Then there are those scary statistics about the average weight gain over the holidays, which is often put at between 7 and 10 pounds, though one study found that that’s largely a myth.
According to the Calorie Control Council, the true average weight gain is 1 to 3 pounds, which doesn’t sound like that much until you realize that we’re talking about a four-week period, which means many people are packing on almost a pound a week. Also, research shows people who are already overweight gain considerably more, on average 5 pounds. The other problem, the CCC says, is that most people fail to get those pounds off after the holidays.