Thanksgiving!! It’s pretty much the superbowl of eating. Every year, millions of Americans gather around a dinner table with family and friends to share some laughs and of course break some freaking delicious bread.
Thanksgiving is by far one of my favorite holidays of the year – Most years I get to enjoy a pre-meal lift in an almost empty gym, I get to spend some quality time with my family, and (if you know me and how much I love food) I get to bring my A+ eating game to the table.
While the holiday itself is great, it does present some pitfalls for those trying to stay regimented and keep as close as possible to your diet. The term “holiday weight” is a a term for a reason. Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season and we are all bombarded with delicious food – that is hard to resist. Below is a list of tips and tricks to navigate Thanksgiving with minimal effects on the waistline.
Everyone’s circumstances are different on Thanksgiving. Some of us have to travel far distances, have to worry about the little ones or perhaps just hungover from a Thanksgiving Eve night out (lol).
However, if your schedule permits, I would advise getting a good, intense workout in the morning. Even if traveling to the gym is out of the question, a quick high intensity 30 minute workout at home can do the trick (contact us if you need tips or a plan). Few things will prime your body better for the upcoming surplus in calories than a good workout.
When it comes to the post workout meal, keeping it lite would work best. Maybe just a protein shake or some eggs and veggies. The real meal comes later 😉
Drink Water – Lots of It!
Sure there will be some adult beverages flying around. And by all means, INDULGE! However, drinking plenty of water will not only keep you hydrated but it will also keep you full. Half the time when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. So go ahead and down a couple of glasses of high quality H2O.
Be Active Throughout the Day
This is different than working out. Most of us are inclined to sit around all day, chit chat and count down the minutes till the feast is served.
Going to be spending some time with your nieces and nephews? Why not play a game of tag, hide n seek or capture the flag? This will get you moving and keep that calorie burn going.
Have dogs in the family? Get a few people together and go out for a short 10 – 20 minute walk. Minimal investment considering the amount of time we spend on the couch on this day.
Eat Dessert First
Crazy isn’t?! Well if you happen to have read Luisa’s post yesterday, this could do more good than harm.
If you’re part of team sugar/sweets (as I proudly am), you know that no matter how full you are after your meal … there is no stopping you from dessert. You dig deep, find room and shove that slice of pie down your throat. Even if you’re not team sugar/sweets, chances are that on Thanksgiving, you’ll still want that piece of pie (science proves that dessert on Thanksgiving is made with extra love).
What if you just go for dessert right off the bat? It will create a level of satiety and perhaps limit your over-consumption. Perhaps not a strategy for everyone, but one to certainly consider for you rebels out there
I’m a big believer in Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT). We underestimate the value of burning calories outside of the gym. Everything we do in our day to day life requires energy expenditure. From walking to answering emails to tapping your finger on a desk. It all requires calories to be burned (obviously some more than others).
Thanksgiving presents us with a wonderful opportunity to crank up our NEAT expenditure. Our initial inclination is to crawl over to the couch and cry about our food coma. However, there are countless tasks that I’m sure can be accomplished. From washing dishes or loading the dish washer, taking out the trash or sweeping the floor. Every little bit can help!
The Day After
Chances are that the day after Thanksgiving, most of us will hate ourselves. We most likely went up for seconds (if you’re like me, you went up for thirds). On average, we consume anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 calories on Turkey-day. Whoa!
This more than likely guarantees that we have a ton of stored energy (calories) to get us through the following day. My advice would be to do a 14+ hour fast starting from the last hour you ingested food. Only allowing for water or coffee intake. Perhaps also even go for a workout solely on the fuel from the previous day. The longer you can drag out the fast, the better (Luisa and I have done a 24 hour fast and have felt more than fine).
This will ensure that you’re body is only burning the surplus calories you have stored from the previous day.
At its core, Thanksgiving is a day to rejoice, spend time with loved ones and give thanks. It’s only one day so don’t stress too much over anything. Be in the moment, enjoy your day and don’t worry about having to log everything into your food tracker app. Get back on the grind the day after.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!