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Walking Off Thanksgiving Calories

Updated on November 25, 2014
Virginia Allain profile image

Eclectic is a good word for the many interests of retired librarian, Virginia Allain. Crafts, gardening, genealogy, travel, and more...

Of course, there's always too much food prepared.
Of course, there's always too much food prepared. | Source
A 1960s family Thanksgiving.
A 1960s family Thanksgiving. | Source

We All Overeat at Thanksgiving

At Thanksgiving, people usually remove all restraints from their eating. Indulging in extra helpings of mashed potatoes, pecan pie and other holiday delights seems okay on that special day.

Here's what you need to know before indulging: how much exercise will it take to compensate for that huge meal?

Look down the page to find the answer. I've included the calorie count for the traditional food served at Thanksgiving and also the calories burned with various activities. Get ready for the Thanksgiving feast by working off some of those calories in advance.


Graphic available from Zazzle:
Taz Thanksgiving Plates by looneytunes

Calculate How Many Calories You Are Likely to Eat

Using the Thanksgiving Calorie Counter

Go to the Thanksgiving Calorie Counter at Browse the list of Thanksgiving foods and click on the ones you expect to eat. Don't forget to click on the drinks and gravy and various trimmings.

At the end of the list, click on DO-THE-MATH. It brings up the total calories you expect to consume and then tells you how many steps it will take to walk those off.

EXAMPLE: "that comes to 1728 calories. You will need to walk 17.28 miles or 34560 steps, assuming you cover one mile in 2,000 steps."

Try Out the Thanksgiving Calorie Calculator


Available from Zazzle: Bless this food by pattycake

Spread Out the Exercise and Opt for Lighter Meals Around the Holiday

Now obviously you aren't likely to take a 17 mile hike on Thanksgiving Day. I'd suggest getting in some extra walking or aerobics at the gym or biking the week leading up to Thanksgiving.

One way to inspire you to walk more before Thanksgiving is to take the camera along. Get some exercise while you have a Fall Photo Walk.

On the day after Thanksgiving, I recommend a hearty bowl of turkey and vegetable soup. It will use up some of the leftovers and give you a lighter meal to recover from the previous day's eating binge. Continue exercising with walks or visits to the gym on this day too.

Video for Making Turkey Soup - Light Eating after the Holiday

Turkey Aerobics

Move your arms and legs to burn off some calories before Thanksgiving.
Move your arms and legs to burn off some calories before Thanksgiving. | Source

Find a Pedometer on Amazon

See, this turkey is exercising before Thanksgiving. You can too!

Fitbit - the One Everyone Is Talking about

Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker, Charcoal
Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker, Charcoal

Over 3,000 5-star reviews on the Fitbit. Everyone loves it!


Give Your Opinion

Have I convinced you to take up walking for Thanksgiving?

Cookbooks for Your Thanksgiving Feast

The Martha Stewart Holiday Collection - Martha's Classic Thanksgiving
The Martha Stewart Holiday Collection - Martha's Classic Thanksgiving

You know that with Martha Stewart you'll get the very best.


Time for a Walk

How can you resist a fall walk enjoying the beauty of the season? The air is crisp, the leaves colorful and it feels so good to get outside and stretch your legs.

Take a Walk Thanksgiving Day

Everyone puts on a jacket or sweatshirt and heads out for a walk each Thanksgiving at my sister's house.
Everyone puts on a jacket or sweatshirt and heads out for a walk each Thanksgiving at my sister's house. | Source

Add Your Tips for Working off Holiday Overeating

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    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      Walking is my exercise of choice. Thankfully, it is supposedly a very good cardio-vascular workout because it engages all the major muscle groups. I'm hoping to take a nice walk to the park with the fam on T-day. Lovely photos.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Life is uncertain, eat dessert first! The poll wouldn't let me send my comment, so I have to tell you here. Some of us can't exercise, and due to that, I just eat smaller portions. And then sometimes I just cheat, and have the things that aren't good for me in place of the things that are, but at my age, I figure I can get away with it. But there are good tips and inspiration here for those who can use them.

    • kerryhrabstock profile image


      6 years ago

      Start walking early to get your metabolism going, even before eating.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      @eccles1: It's one of my favorite holidays too. I'd better start my walking in August to make up for all the calories I'll consume on Thanksgiving.

    • eccles1 profile image


      6 years ago

      I can not wait till Thanksgiving!

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      @Margaret Schindel: You are smart to approach it that way!

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      After many years of eating until I was as uncomfortably stuffed as the turkey itself, I've trained myself to have a slice of turkey without dressing and a taste of the things I enjoy most, rather than a serving of everything offered. I don't miss out on the Thanksgiving foods I love, and I don't end up uncomfortable and with regrets afterward. So much nicer this way! Blessings on this wonderful lens.

    • gamecheathub profile image


      7 years ago

      The food is so good around my house that I used to eat 2-3 plates full. In the last 3 years, I've managed to be a "good boy" and only have 1, but it's hard. We're all chomping at the bit for Thanksgiving & Christmas to arrive because we have annual meals that everyone one of us is waiting for. Great lens and a solid reminder for me heading into Thanksgiving this week. Thanks!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I slacked off a little from my walking routine,but intend to get back to it this afternoon, now that Christmas is over.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Walking is my preferred way to deal with the overeating.

      And also a little bit of weight lifting.



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