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John Lamb, Published November 22 2011

Shopper-cize: Burn off holiday fat with midnight run

By the time you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, the one thing you won’t be thankful for is having been taunted with how many calories you’ve consumed.

Thanksgiving is a time to indulge in the bounties of family and friends – and all the good food they bring.

Except for that green bean casserole. Gross.

But some bean counters want to squash our habit of Thanks-gorging.

A press release from Widener University in Pennsylvania quoted the Calorie Control Council stating, “The average American will have consumed more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat in one sitting.”

In Lamb terms, that’s three Hardee’s 2/3-pound Monster Thick Burgers and a large order of french fries with about 60 calories left over. Sure, I like that burger, but three? In one sitting? Maybe if I got serious about being a William Howard Taft impersonator.

The release detailed the amount of activity needed to counter such a heavy load. For example, a simple dinner roll has 82 calories and Widener researchers say the baked good could be negated by 30 minutes of vacuuming.

Two questions: Who besides hotel maids vacuum for 30 minutes at a time? And who eats a plain dinner roll? Why not smear an ounce from that cheese ball on it for 110 more calories? Do that and the suggested workout is another 15 minutes of biking, which combined with vacuuming is its own cycling class at the Y.

How realistic are these workouts? Thirty-seven minutes digging in your yard to burn off 386 calories worth of six small stuffed mushrooms? I know Pennsylvania colleges have been trying to bury their messes lately, but I can think of better ways to burn calories: Christmas shopping.

Black Friday is coming earlier this year with a number of stores opening at midnight Thursday. This means a late-night dash to the stores is not only a start to holiday shopping, but also a first step to keeping off unwanted holiday weight.

The Widener release recommended 45 minutes of raking to burn off the 323 calories gained from 4 ounces of dark turkey meat.

Yawn. Raking was so three weeks ago. Retail is the name of the game today. Running a couple of box-store-combines – a sprint from parking spot to the desired department while avoiding shopping carts and fallen shoppers – should tighten up your turkey legs.

Build your core and upper body with trunk twists by ripping goods off the shelves and away from other shoppers. That will cut the 110 calories you consumed with the ¼ cup of jellied cranberry sauce better than the suggested 25 minutes mopping. Heck, you’ll clean the floor with your aggressive shopper-cize.

And that ½ cup of slimy green bean casserole you ate to keep your mom happy? A 15-minute walk would wipe away the 75 calories. But if you’re shopping at midnight, you don’t have time to walk. Chug a choco-mocha-chai-chino-latte to wash down the green blahhs and use that extra caffeine charge to climb shelves and grab those hard-to-reach toys. Then dance atop the aisles like Donkey Kong.

Just remember to wait an hour between eating and shopping; you don’t want to get a cramp – or a heart attack.

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533