Let’s talk Thanksgiving Day! Too often, I hear how much anxiety a day like Thanksgiving brings to my clients. A holiday that is basically centered around how much food we can stuff into our face in one sitting terrifies many people who are on a weight loss, or health and fitness journey. I put together a quick list of my favorite strategies to help you relax and enjoy the day!
1) Be Active During The Day.
Avoid sitting around for extended periods of time. Come up with ideas ahead of time as to how to be active and get your family involved! Maybe it’s playing with younger cousins, helping in the kitchen, taking a walk with a grandparent or another family member you want to catch up with, or serving at a homeless shelter for lunch. It may even be as simple and fun as a game of charades, Twister, or Wii Sports! But, find a way to NOT be sedentary all day.
2) Pregame With Plenty of Water.
If you are hydrated properly and consistently drinking water the day before and day of Thanksgiving, you will be a lot less likely to overeat. Fill up some of that empty room in your stomach with a constant supply of water and watch as your ability to stuff yourself goes down. Proper hydration will also offset some of the excess sugar and salt that may be ingested and will make you feel better the next morning.
3) Don’t Deprive Yourself.
Do not fall into the trap of not eating all day and waiting until Thanksgiving dinner to stuff your face. When you are overly hungry, it is much easier to overeat at a meal because your “fullness” cues are slightly delayed. A better strategy? Eat your normal breakfast and lunch, and treat dinner as “just another meal” (filled with your favorites of course!)
4) The “One Plate” (plus one) Method.
I always recommend this strategy for any kind of potluck, gathering, buffet style meal. It especially applies to Thanksgiving which is almost always a buffet style meal of only the best stuff on earth! Fill a plate. Fill it with your favorites, your less than macro friendly, best meal of the year, only get it that one time of year when I see Aunt Sue, favorites. But after that one plate, you are then allowed ONE more scoop of your BEST pick from the meal. This is plenty of food. I promise you. Refer to #5.
5) Enjoy The Company.
I understand Thanksgiving is often all about the food, but have something planned as a light discussion topic for dinner. Focus your energy on the company – catching up, remember whens, learning more about a loved ones current life. Invest in the people around you and really listen and engage with them. Coming up with these topics on the spot doesn’t always work well. Start thinking about what you want to learn, ask, and conversate about ahead of time. Saving these topics for dinner will shift your focus to the REAL joy of Thanksgiving while keeping you from solely focusing on the plate in front of you.
6) Eat Dessert.
No catch here. Just enjoy it! Pick your favorite dessert from the options available and have that. Thanksgiving, the holidays, and family time, are just as much about enjoying things that make you happy, and lets be honest – Grandma’s pie makes us happy! By having dessert, ONE dessert, and moving on, we are eating responsibly and enjoying the moment.
7) Get Back On Track The Next Day.
Don’t let Thanksgiving open up the door to “eat mindlessly until Christmas, hashtag holiday season”. There are 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Get back into your routine for another month, and then follow these simple guidelines once again!
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