The holidays can be a magical time but unfortunately, they can also come with a lot of stress and anxiety for individuals striving to lose weight or improve their health and fitness. Thanksgiving in particular, a holiday seemingly built around eating as much food as possible, can either lead to feelings of deprivation or guilt, both making it difficult to get back on track the following day.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way! You can go into Thanksgiving with a game plan that allows you to enjoy all the foods you love while also getting back on track with ease the following day without experiencing the fear of missing out or as the cool kids call it, FOMO.
Below are five ways to ensure you will enjoy America’s greatest holiday (my biased opinion of course) without sacrificing your goals or your favorite dishes.
Thanksgiving can be a pretty sedentary holiday, with everyone sitting around the living room watching football and eating loads of food. But, it is imperative to stay active! Be sure to think of some ways to stay moving throughout the day such as outdoor games, helping in the kitchen, playing with your younger family members, setting up charades or Wii Sports in the living room, and/or going for a post-meal afternoon walk. If you are a Central Athlete client, our gym is open 365 days a year, so you can even tell your coach to program a workout for the morning before your big meal.
It is common for people to deprive themselves of food all morning in anticipation for the big Thanksgiving meal. Do! Not! Do! This! Instead, wake up and eat a hearty breakfast full of great protein, fats, and carbohydrates and treat your Thanksgiving meal like any other meal. If you starve yourself before a big afternoon or evening meal, it will be much more difficult to have self-control and it will be easier to use excuses to justify your behavior (“but this is the only meal I am eating today!”) Instead, come hungry but without the feeling of famine!
Our goal for Thanksgiving is not to use sheer will and determination to avoid the delicious food options that are available. Instead, come prepared with a plan that allows you to experience everything you want without losing self-control. How? The one plate method! Fill up a single plate with everything you have been looking forward to eating over the past year. The not so macro-friendly options such as your Aunt’s favorite stuffing, that delicious warm roll with butter, and marshmallow sweet potatoes to name a few. Enjoy whatever your heart desires BUT for one plate only... and don’t forget the protein! Once dinner is served and it is time for dessert, pick your favorite dessert and have that. Enjoy your pick, chew slowly, savor the flavor and then move on!
Once you have consumed a single plate of all your favorite Thanksgiving foods and a slice of grandma’s famous pecan pie, it is time to leave the kitchen and congregate elsewhere. Hanging around the desserts and leftovers will only tempt you to consume more than you have planned, even if you are stuffed to the brim! So, now it's time to go for a walk with your family, play a game of tag football outside, or start a game of charades or Wii sports.
Get Back on Track
It is important not to let Thanksgiving be the start of trashing your health and fitness journey for the remainder of the holiday season. There are 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas and 38 days until the New Year. Choosing the “nothing” part of the “all or nothing” mentality during this time can wreak havoc on all your hard work and progress over the past 12 months leaving you right where you started on January 1st. Instead, get back on track immediately and use these same tips as Christmas and New Years’ quickly approach.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying a not-so-healthy holiday meal with your friends and family. But, the trick is to come with a game-plan, stay in control, and get back on track the following day! If you can do this, you will quickly reach your goals without the feeling of yo-yo dieting or deprivation. If you are looking for more accountability and guidance around your health and nutrition, schedule a strategy with a Central Athlete coach today! We put the pieces together for you, in a collaborative manner, to ensure you walk away feeling empowered with a plan that works!