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I ate too much turkey. Can a workout help?

The question

I overdid it last night at Thanksgiving dinner. What should I do to offset the damage?

The answer

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First of all, don't feel guilty. Spending quality time with family and friends while enjoying the pleasure of a good meal is one of the best parts of life and is important for your mental health. (In fact, I ate a brownie last night. If a trainer can indulge once in a while and not feel guilty, so can you.)

The trick is to get back on track as soon as possible. Don't let one loss of control turn into a week - or a month - of unhealthy eating. At the same time, don't fall into the trap of doing a monster workout on Monday, or even worse, starving yourself post-turkey.

First, get rid of any unhealthy leftovers, so there is no possibility of temptation.

Next, pay particular attention to your diet for the next few weeks. Fill your fridge with healthy options. Eat a healthy breakfast. Don't eat late at night. Don't eat processed food. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Bring healthy snacks to work, and most importantly be aware of portion sizes.

Finally, don't skip any of your regular workouts. In fact, try to add 15 minutes to three of your regularly scheduled cardio workouts over the next two weeks.

Trainer's tip: Do 10 minutes of cardio at home one or two mornings a week in addition to your regular gym workouts. High-intensity cardio increases your metabolism for a period after your workout. This means you will not only get the added calorie burn from the extra cardio, you will also get that extra spike in your metabolism. Skipping or running are great options for this.

Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail web site. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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