We are less than an week away from the start of the holiday season and that means the holiday sales, shopping are about to rev up and so are the social gatherings, the eating, and eventually the number of New Year’s resolutions of new fitness goals and promises.
Thanksgiving kicks it off with its beautifully golden turkeys, mashed potatoes, gravies, stuffing, biscuits, and many mouth watering deserts. From some people the thought of that is enough to make our mouths water and our waists expand in anticipation of such a feast! How do you enjoy delicious foods and not pack on pounds like a bear heading into hibernation?
Here a a few guides to help you survive (and enjoy) the holiday feasts:
This week – Continue to follow a steady nutritional plan of 5-6 smaller meals per day. Don’t skip meals and don’t build any cheat meals into your eating for the first half of this week.
Drink plenty of water as you should be doing on a daily basis already.
Stick to your regular training routine this week. If you are going to have to miss a workout on Thursday then try to work it in earlier in the week if possible. If not, the extra rest day isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you can get that workout in then definitely do it.
Don’t use Thanksgiving as an excuse to take the entire weekend off from lifitng and cardio. Resume your training starting on Friday.
On the big day:
Follow your normal smaller meal schedule, but plan ahead to incorporate the Thanksgiving courses as part of that schedule.
Make healthy choices. As you fill your plate, be sure to incorporate veggies, salads, turkey, and other healthy foods. Your Thanksgiving meal does not need to be a cheat meal, especially since most of the foods are healthy on their own, though they may not be part of your usual food routine.
Allow yourself to enjoy your food. If you are following the above guides, there is no reason you can’t put gravy on your potatoes and turkey or eat a few buttered biscuits. At this point you are doing great, so relax and enjoy your food.
Plan on dessert being a reward meal! Let’s be real – there are going to be desserts whether they are pies, cookies, pudding, etc. It’s Thanksgiving. You have eaten well all week, you have planned out your meals for the day so that you are eating mostly good foods still, now it is time to enjoy some desert and not feel guilty.
The day (and days) after:
Have leftovers? Turkey, sweet potatoes, veggies – all make great healthy meals. Enjoy them, just keep your serving sizes within the limits of our normal nutrition plan. All the other goodies can be incorporated into your regular meal plan over the next few days or week as well – just monitor servings and frequency and it will be ok. If you have a lot of deserts and other not so healthy foods, then be sure to send them home with guests!
Get back into the gym. As I mentioned earlier – don’t wait, start right back into your normal fitness routine as soon as you can. Remember Thanksgiving is one day, not the commercialized 5 day crazed spree that is promoted in all the store ads this week! If you missed a workout because of Thanksgiving, now Thanksgiving is over – get back to the gym.
As the holiday gatherings and parties start to fill your calendar you can incorporate the same guides to get through those. Plan on party meals and foods ahead of time so you can already account for them. Then make wise food choices while at these parties, and still allow yourself to indulge in some sweet deserts or other cheat foods now and then.
You can do it.