Thanksgiving is about spending quality time with family and friends, but we all know that it’s really about the food. Most people look forward to gorging on the delectable spread, watching football, and sinking into the inevitable post-meal hibernation. Some people go into the Thanksgiving meal with zero dietary restrictions and disregard any health goals, deeming it the ultimate cheat day of all cheat days. Others have the intention of being healthy and not overeating, but a primal hunger overcomes them and any health plans go out the window. We are here to tell you that Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a day when you lose control.
Food For Thought: The average American consumes about 3,000-5,000 calories during the Thanksgiving meal. That doesn’t even account for any other calories consumed throughout the day.
Most people gain an average of one pound on Thanksgiving. This weight gain has a snowball effect through the rest of the holiday season, given that sweets, rich foods, and never-ending food advertisements are attacking you from all angles. The holidays should be enjoyed, but you don’t want to go off the rails and lose all self-control and self-respect. Have some decency, people! To help you stay a little healthier this Thanksgiving, follow the tips below.
While you should enjoy your day off, it is important to avoid laziness, especially in the beginning of the day. Use the free time to take a walk, jog, or bike ride around the neighborhood. If you have a lot of family together, head to a local park, participate in a Turkey Trot, play a game of flag football, or go on a group bike ride. If you don’t have time to go outside, try a high-intensity home circuit workout for about 20 minutes. Exercising lowers the amount of ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, and increases the amount of peptide YY, which suppresses appetite. No laziness!
Eat Before You Eat
Make sure you eat breakfast to avoid binge eating at dinner. Start your day with a fruit and vegetable smoothie or a cup of old-fashioned oats, sliced bananas, blueberries, and grade A pure maple syrup. It is recommended to eat a salad about an hour before you sit down for the main meal. This can prevent overeating and you will have already consumed a wide variety of essential nutrients like chlorophyll, iron, magnesium, vitamin K, potassium, and more.
Hydrate Before You Eat
Did you know that people commonly mistake thirst for hunger? When you don’t drink water, your body feels the need to go nuts on calories, thus the overeating problem at Thanksgiving. Hydration is the answer, and you should try to drink about 16 ounces of filtered water before the meal. Don’t forget to hydrate while you eat, and no, wine does not count as hydrating.
Pick Smarter Options & Skip Seconds
Eating the right amount of food is difficult when you pile anything and everything on your plate. Choosing healthier options and being conscious of how much you are eating is half the battle. Instead of loading up on dinner rolls and excess carbs, try to focus on as many green vegetables as you can and don’t go back for seconds. Take small portions of what you want and leave it at that. Don’t refill your plate immediately after you finish eating your first plate. Sit for 20 minutes (standard time it takes to feel full) and you’ll see that you don’t need another plate.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Let’s say you abandon every health measure you set in place when you gazed upon the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and all the desserts. There’s no reason to give yourself the guilt trip. What’s done is done and you can’t take back what you did, but you should be proud that you are health conscious enough to realize your eating behaviors. Lay the groundwork for a healthier holiday season and start planning your New Year’s health goals. Maybe you want to take part in the Dherbs 180 Challenge???