Thanksgiving is upon us! This is the one holiday where the entire day is centered around the act of eating. If you are reading this, I’m so happy that you are working on getting through Thanksgiving with your health goals in mind! I’m not here to tell you not to indulge today or make you feel bad for wanting to enjoy the mashed potatoes and gravy…and pie and more pie. But I do want to offer you some support if you are struggling with weight loss.
According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American will consume anywhere from 3,000 to 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat by the time Thanksgiving dinner is said and done.
And lets be honest here, most people are going to be lounging around all day in a food coma watching football, or maybe online shopping before and after their thanksgiving meal. With a lack of physical activity, those 3,000 to 4,500 calories can quickly become converted into fat cells and stored as body fat. Thanksgiving is kind of like the opening party for all of the other holiday parties between now and New Year’s Eve.
It’s safe to say that most people gain about 1 to 3 pounds during the holidays.
You may think that a day of overeating won’t hurt you in the long run, right? Oh, but it can because for most people it’s the start of a six-week holiday eating binge. The problem is that since most of the weight gain happens so quickly, it becomes extremely stubborn and most people have difficulty burning it off come January 1st.
Okay, okay…I think I’ve made my point about the dark side of overeating on Thanksgiving. Now, let’s talk about some strategies to help you come out of Thanksgiving and the holidays looking and feeling amazing about yourself.
1. Don’t Skip Your Usual Meals. Today is the one day where you don’t want to skip your usual healthy breakfast or usual healthy lunch. Don’t think that by skipping these meals, you’ll save some extra calories for your big holiday dinner. When you skip breakfast and/or lunch, you’re going to be famished and will devour everything in sight at dinner. Okay…maybe not everything. But, research shows that when you are hungry you make poor food choices, crave starchy carb rich foods and tend to overfill your plate with food. This is because when you are famished your “hunger hormone” ghrelin is elevated and your “satisfaction” hormone leptin is lowered.
2. Go in With a Plan. Start your holiday meal with a good plan. Take a few minutes to decide what you are going to indulge in. What are some of those foods that you’ve waited all year to eat? Do you have a childhood favorite side dish? Or moms famous pie? Make a conscious choice to indulge in 1-2 of your favorite not-so-healthy (heal-thy), decadent dishes. These are your must-haves! Take 3-4 bites, savor the taste and feel great about your choices.
3. Portion Control. If you learn how to master portion control then you can survive any holiday shindig! First things first, pick the smallest plate available to automatically reduce your portions. Only fill your plate once. No second servings for this meal. Fill your plate with the veggie based side dishes and salad first. Next, add a palm-sized portion of turkey. As mentioned in tip #2, only pick 1-2 of your fav must-haves and take only 2 tablespoons of each to indulge in. This will help keep the rest of your plate green and lean! If you are going to take home any leftovers, only take some lean turkey breast and some greens.
4. Hydrate. Today, sip on water as much as possible. Remember that mixed beverages also contain unwanted calories. So, your best bet is to stay with water to keep your metabolism up and help with flushing out toxins and fat. Avoid heavy calorie rich drinks like eggnog and match each glass of wine with a glass of water.
If you do all of these, I can almost guarantee that your efforts will add up and you will see the difference!
I want you to enjoy your Thanksgiving and enjoy the pleasures of eating. Continue to keep these healthy habits in the forefront of your mind and hope you have a healthy Thanksgiving.
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