Leave the stuffing to the Turkey this Holiday! With Thanksgiving a few days away and Christmas just around the corner, I thought I would dive into a few ways to beat the holiday bulge, stay focused on your goals and still enjoy the festivities!
This is one of the most enjoyed and gluttonous of times, marked by excesses of food and alcohol, so here are a few ways to stay in shape without depriving yourself of home cooked meals and delicious desserts!
1. Plan Ahead
Since you know the traditional food is not the healthiest of choices, plan ahead of time and keep your diet clean weeks before the holiday. You are more apt to not overdo it when you are in a routine of eating healthy. The thought of “undoing” the work or progress that you have made is sometimes reason enough to stick to a plan!
If this is a time that you plan to enjoy yourself, think of it as a cheat meal. A reward for all your hard work! But, the key is to not overdo it. Plan ahead of time WHAT meals you are going to eat, and of course it is important to remember, everything in moderation.
2. Eat A Healthy Breakfast
So the holiday has finally arrived, but that is no excuse to throw in the towel on your diet for the entire day! Choosing a healthy breakfast option to start your day not only keep you full so you don’t eat in excess, but also keeps you mentally focused on your goals.
Also, DO NOT skip breakfast! Skipping meals, especially breakfast can do more harm than good. If you are thinking “well if I don’t eat much the next few days I can enjoy Thanksgiving..” you will have a rude awakening. Skipping meals will cause you to overeat and binge at the holiday function, or even worse, alter your metabolism.
Your metabolism is one of your body’s functions that breaks down food into smaller, usable parts for energy and overall health of the body. The saying, “if you don’t use it, you will lose it”, is similar to how your metabolism works. When you skip meals, your metabolism is at a stand still and does not have to work to break down the food, thus it begins to slow down. Then when you actually do eat that pumpkin pie, your metabolism is not able to break the food down as quickly, and as a result the food is stored as fat.
3. Examine The Spread Of Food
Survey all the food before diving in. Look at everything and ask yourself, “What will I enjoy having the most?” and eat that. It is not necessarily about depriving yourself, but more or less about eating the foods that will bring you the most satisfaction.
4. Take Small Portions
Take small portions of your favorite dishes and avoid seconds and thirds! Fill up on things like veggies, but don’t deprive yourself of the good stuff! Everything in moderation is acceptable.
Keep your plate colorful! Add things like cranberries, green bean casserole, broccoli and salad. Although some of those dishes have butter and cream in them, chances are they still have fewer calories than stuffing or buttery mashed potatoes.
However, listen to your body cues! When you begin to feel full, take notice and stop, this is one way to avoid overeating.
5. Don’t Drink Your Calories
You do not have to abstain from a drink or two, but it is important to realize that alcohol adds to the calorie count for the day. It is important to know where those excess calories are coming from because instead of a sugary margarita you may want a dessert dish instead!
Also, if you are going to drink choose a light beer over a regular-calorie beer and stay away from those heavy, sugar-filled drinks because they are full of calories.
6. Focus On The People, Not The Food
Remember the Holidays are meant to give thanks and to spend time with loved ones and family, not just for the food. When you focus on catching up with a family member or friend, you will be focused less on the food on the table.
7. Take A Walk
Take thirty minutes each day and enjoy the fall weather! Even on Thanksgiving, take a walk in between meals to help you digest and keep you from feeling “stuffed.” This is also a way to take a break from the overwhelming sight and smell of food.
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