Avoid Gaining Weight This Holiday — Do the Cooking

Santa Claus Run, Michendorf
About 900 Santa Claus participants compete at the 4th Nikolauslauf (Santa Claus Run) in the village of Michendorf, Germany, December 9, 2012. Photo credit: © Action Press/ZUMAPRESS.com

There seems to have been rare bipartisan agreement in the year’s final months — that there’s no such thing as too much butter, all coffee should be “venti,” flavored, and creamed, and that one extra sugar cookie isn’t going to kill you.

Or is it? And what can be done to ensure your waistline doesn’t expand exponentially?

Rest easy, friends. The answer may not necessarily have to lie at the gym or inside a pair of running shoes. If you’re the person running about in the kitchen preparing all the food — or if you’re in charge of decking the halls — you may be able to treat yourself to that extra cookie after all.

A “report” by British paper the Mirror has put a positive spin on all the effort involved in preparing for the holidays. It says that all the extra movement in the kitchen and fetching the boxes of decorations down the attic stairs burns more calories than a usual night in front of the TV.

A rather tenuous excuse for gluttony? Or a reminder to pop your favorite seasonal music on in the kitchen and bop around some more? You decide.

The report says that lugging boxes of decorations around the house and detangling those frustrating strings of lights can burn 350 calories an hour — the equivalent of a slice of pie à la mode.

It goes on to say that an hour of wrapping gifts can burn 120 calories which is the equivalent of a glass of champagne, and that every hour spent on your feet in the kitchen can burn 70 calories, which is worth topping off your glass at least.

What about the rest of the dinner? A festive turkey meal with all the trimmings can rack up 1,600 calories, without taking into account all the rest — the appetizers, the cocktails, the wine, the eggnog. It would take over four and a half hours of striking those streamers and lights and packing them away again to work off the food alone, and not many people live in houses large enough to accommodate that level of decoration.

It seems that rigorous exercise is really the only way to eschew the seasonal six pounds, but not to worry — there are events to counter any midwinter overindulgence: turkey trots and jingle-bell runs aplenty. If you need inspiration, watch this fun clip from Michendorf, Germany, where runners of all ages dress in Santa suits. It was started to promote exercising among the townsfolk in the colder, darker months, and it’s one of our video stars this week.

The second video is from a Colorado TV station that has its viewers’ best interests at heart. It invited a local gym into the studio to show how to exercise all those seasonal calories away.

A word of warning to our readers, however — these are obviously trained professionals, and anyone wanting to take up this high intensity stuff should probably consult a doctor beforehand — not just leap up from the dinner table.

Happy holidays!


Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from exercising santas (Roel van Deursen – Spijkenisse / Nissewaard – Nederla / Flickr – CC BY 2.0).

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