Thanksgiving: How to Stay on Track with Food and Fitness
Suggestions from our West Hartford Connecticut Personal Trainer
Our West Hartford Connecticut personal trainer suggests, “The first thing to do is to acknowledge that the holiday is coming up, take a deep breath, and then decide to plan for success!”
Trying to be active, increase your fitness and stay on a healthy eating track is challenging enough during the year. Throw a holiday into the mix, like Thanksgiving (a holiday that is centered around eating, and, oh yeah, being thankful for all we have) can really insert a monkey wrench into your healthy living momentum.
He said that many of his clients will say, “Hey, I’m going to splurge. After all it’s just once a year, right?”
Well, yes. Thanksgiving is just once a year, and so is Christmas and New Year’s and Superbowl Sunday and Easter and Independence Day and your birthday and National Nachos Day…. You get the idea.
“You can have fun, eat different foods and still do little or no damage to your healthy regimen,” our West Hartford Connecticut personal trainer told us. “Do these things:
- Plan ahead of time what you can do to the least amount of damage, and
- Accept that you will be eating a bit more than usual, but
- Resign yourself to the fact that it does not have to be an all-or-nothing, go-hog-wild, eating frenzy.”
Our personal trainer in West Hartford Connecticut went on to say, “In your plans before the holiday comes, write out what you expect you will do, and stick to it.” Such as the following:
- Ensure you are keeping up your fitness and exercise plans prior to the big day. Don’t slack off your exercise at all. In fact, go harder at it if you can, before Thanksgiving Day, and make sure you exercise the day(s) afterward, too.
This means exercising the morning of Thanksgiving. In fact, enlist a friend or family member to exercise with you. Creating a calorie deficit on your turkey day holiday isn’t so that you can eat whatever you want, but it will definitely help you to even things out a little bit.
“You can always get some exercise advice from your training professional,” our West Hartford Connecticut personal trainer says with a grin.
- Be sure to eat breakfast.
It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s really not. If you have a smaller, but nutritious breakfast with protein, like eggs, and some fiber, like in oatmeal, fruit or whole grain toast, you are bound to feel less starved, than if you were to eat nothing to “save up your calories.” As a result of being less hungry, you will be less likely to overeat, and you will choose the foods you really want to eat, instead of loading things on your plate, willy-nilly.
“Furthermore,” our West Hartford Connecticut personal trainer says, “choose those foods wisely.”
- If you are hosting, reduce calories, fat, and sugar where you can. He suggests you go online and find recipes to lighten things up.
If you can’t do that, or if you are simply bringing something to someone else’s gathering, then try to make one or two items that you really like and that you know are healthy. You can assume that there will be turkey, and if you like turkey, you’re in luck! Aside from the dark meat, turkey is high in lean protein and low in fat.
- Case the food options before you eat.
“Decide on what you want to put on your plate that you enjoy: in your mind, determine what is healthy (think turkey and minimally processed veggies), and what is not healthy, but what you simply must have,” says our personal trainer in West Hartford Connecticut. “Having a plan, and making some concessions and compromises should leave you satisfied.”
- Portion sizes and “One Plate only” rule
Divide your plate into imaginary quarters. Decide that half of the plate will be veggies: tossed salad, green beans, squash, etc. The other half of your plate, assign protein to one quarter and carbohydrates to the last quarter. You do not have to have your plate piled high. Aim for your belt and clothes to still remain comfortable, when you are done eating.
“I have a rule during holidays like Thanksgiving,” says our personal trainer in West Hartford Connecticut. “Whatever I put on my plate, I resign myself to the fact that I will not go back for seconds.”
He also suggests you drink water in between each bite, which will help fill you up, and eat slowly. We often gobble down (pardon the pun) our food on these holidays.
Put your fork down between bites, and count to 10 before you pick it up again to take another bite.
It’s ok to have a cocktail, but monitor your intake. Allow yourself one glass of wine or one beer. Avoid sugary cocktails like daiquiris and mojitos. Opt for a wine spritzer instead, which combines wine and club soda. Ensure you are drinking water before, during and after your cocktail.
Remember that having “one too many” isn’t just a calorie issue. When we imbibe alcohol, our inhibitions go down, meaning you may be more likely to throw caution to the wind and overeat.
To stay in control, observe this alcohol recommendation.
You can have dessert, if you want. Just allow yourself a small piece of pie or cake, OR one or two cookies. Again, eat slowly and savor the taste.
A wise person once said, “Just because an unhealthy eater has a salad one day, does not mean that person will suddenly be healthy. And, so it is with the opposite scenario; if you are a healthy eater, one or two items that are ‘off your plan’ will not suddenly undo all the good that you have worked towards.”
Furthermore, our West Hartford Connecticut personal trainer suggests this: “Try to consider it from the mindset that you are in ‘maintenance mode’ for this one holiday, versus weight loss mode.”
The important thing to remember is do not freak out. You’ve got this! Kids can even follow this to a point as well. We do amazing things to fight childhood obesity!