The average American eats 3,000+ calories on Thanksgiving Day, that doesn’t include the drinks and snacks.
Here are a few tips on how to make sure you have a joyful, stress free eating experience on Thanksgiving Day. Meaning, you stay sane and you don’t have to unbutton those pants… until the evening at least.
Breath. Start your morning off with 5 minutes of quiet time. If you don’t have time, make it, set your alarm a little earlier. In your 5 minutes, take a few deep belly breaths, sit in the silence, think about 2 positive things that will happen today or 2 things you’re grateful for, smile. There you go, you just started your day with a positive outlook. During the day, if conversations or people start to create tension, do the same thing, step outside, get some fresh air and take 5 minutes to yourself.
Drink! You want to stay hydrated throughout the day and help your digestive tract run smoothly. Start your day off with a glass of water before you indulge in any other beverage, that means water before coffee. Don’t complain, just do it. Throughout the day, make sure you go for liquids before food. A glass of water, tea, or soda water of choice. This will also help keep your hands occupied and away from the snack table. Drink water throughout your Thanksgiving meal. And by all means, if you can drink responsibly, have a glass of wine or beer. You will not ruin your diet or program with one alcoholic beverage. That’s like eating a brownie with ice cream and then passing on the whip cream to “save calories” or try to be “healthy. Seriously!?
Exercise. No excuse here. A lot of boutique gyms will do a Thanksgiving Day workout or you create a Turkey day WOD outside. If you prefer to get outdoors, Thanksgiving Day is now the biggest organized running day of the year, find a turkey trot in your town and get the whole family out. With all these options, you can find something to get yourself moving for at least 30 minutes. Do it. You will feel better and it will help you resist the temptation to eat more. Fill up. Yup, you heard me. Fill your plate with vegetables and proteins. Make sure you get some of the good stuff that will keep you full before you dive into the carb heavens. And when you are ready to take the leap, follow the suggestion below. The last thing you want to do is walk away feeling bloated and miserable.
Start Small. It all looks so good! You’ve been waiting all year for this one day. Casseroles, rolls, potatoes, butter, gravy, you want it all. Analyze the table, put a small portion of everything you want on your plate. Don’t skip it. If it looks good to you and you really want it, eat it. Take your time eating your first plate, savor the food, take a sip of water in between. Remember, it’s your first plate and they are small portions. It takes 15-20 min for your digestive system to let your brain know that you’re satisfied. Take your time. After you are done, sit for a few minutes, what were your favorites? How do you feel? Do you need to save room for pie!? Then make your decision on a second round.
Starve. “Saving up” for the big meal by not eating all day will result in major regrets.Your stomach will cramp, you will feel miserable the rest of the day, and on a day when you will double or triple the amount of calories you normally consume, does it really matter? You already know the day will be filled with lots of food. Instead, experiment with intermittent fasting, drink plenty of water, coffee too. Break the fast with a small breakfast, plate of protein/veggies or even a smoothie. If you are surrounded by snacks most of the day, start with veggies, then pick one of your favorite snacks and go for it. Keyword, one. Don’t ruin your meal because you are bored or stressed hovering around the food table all day, you are better than that.
Obsess. You know what’s worse than feeling stuffed after the holidays, obsessing over what you did or didn’t eat and how it’s going to ruin everything you’ve worked for over the passed few weeks, months, etc. Guess what, it’s not. It’s one meal. How long have you been working hard to change your lifestyle? Did your weight or body composition change after the first day? Nope. Change takes time, one day of going ham on food isn’t going to ruin your weight progress or your new habits.
Stress. When family gets together it can be hard. Especially if there are a lot of people in a one small area. Everyone has an opinion, everyone wants to tell you how you should be living your life, raising your kids, etc. This Thanksgiving, be grateful you get to spend time with loved ones, some people are not so fortunate. When it gets hard, excuse yourself, and DO go outside, breath, take a break. Don’t stress eat, this will create more tension and irritability.
Self Sabotage. Thanksgiving is not an all or nothing day. If you go overboard on your meal, you start telling yourself things like, I ruined it, I have zero self control, I should just give up. You get stuck in this downward spiral through the holidays of repeating the same scenario over and over. The end result, you will put on weight because you’ve convinced yourself you failed and you aren’t strong enough. If you only do one thing on this list, follow this rule. You are worth it, you have worked hard, don’t let one day derail months of progress. Do Not.
Forget. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving Day. Make sure you take time to remember the importance of Thanksgiving. Tell your friends and family how much you appreciate them, be thankful for what you have, and enjoy the chaos of turkey day.
“Count your blessings, not your carbs!” – Unknown