Thanksgiving is a holiday that revolves completely around food and is the beginning of a whole SEASON focused around eating. Are you worried about your jeans not fitting in January? I know I am with all the extra food, treats, dessert, and holiday festivities over the next few months. Most people gain between 1 to 4 pounds during the holidays, but what if that didn’t have to happen this year? Wouldn’t it feel great to slip into your normal jeans on January 1? With a little bit of strategic planning you can actually make it happen this year. You can enjoy your holidays with friends and family and not gain a single pound.
Set the Right Expectations
The first thing you need to do is let go of trying to lose weight during the holidays. Make your goal instead to just maintain your current weight. You can focus on weight loss in January. Trying to lose weight right now will just increase your stress level, which increases cortisol (the stress hormone) and makes you store fat. It can also make you over eat, as the more you try to control your food intake the more your body fights against the restriction. So, just realize you are not going to be 100% successful with any diet and let that expectation, and the stress that comes with it, go.
On Thanksgiving Day, consider doing something active to burn off a few of the calories you plan on eating later on. Many cities host 5K races on Thanksgiving morning to get people active. Your exercise doesn’t even need to be that formal, just 30 minutes of activity will help you burn some extra calories. Challenge your family to a game of football or ask them to join you on a pre-Thanksgiving day bike ride before you sit down for your meal.
Next give yourself permission to enjoy certain foods that are only available during this special time. If your grandmother only makes her famous pumpkin pie once a year, be sure to have some! But, stay away from other items, let’s say cheese and crackers off the appetizer platter that you can eat any time. There is no need to sample everything, try to stick to your personal favorites or “special” holiday foods.
Fill Up on Veggies
One food you should always include on your Thanksgiving plate are vegetables. If you fill half your plate with vegetables, salads or cooked veggies, this will leave less room for the higher calorie items. Vegetables fill you up without adding a ton of extra calories, since they are high in fiber and water, neither of which contain calories.
During the meal, watch the amount of alcohol you consume. Excessive drinking during the holidays can lead to too many calories and lowered inhibitions. Avoid drinks with sugary mixers such as sodas or juice. A glass of wine or a light beer are your best choices. Drink one glass of water per alcoholic drink to slow down your consumption and prevent dehydration.
Let’s Not Forget
Finally, remember that Thanksgiving Day is only one day, so even if you do indulge, just get back on track the next day. Be sure to get rid of any leftovers so you won’t be tempted and get some exercise in the next morning. With these easy tips, you can definitely get through Thanksgiving without the extra pounds.