Dun dun..dun dun…dun dun dun dun dun dun DUNNNNNNNNNNN (cue Jaws theme song, except instead of a great white shark lurking under the water, its a giant turkey cruising down a buffet table on a puffy bed of mashed potatoes with a boat of gravy on the turkey’s tail. Mmm…gravy….). Thanksgiving is here, officially starting the holiday season that is sure to bring warm memories, good food and maybe a little family dysfunction. Along with overflowing hearts, plates (and wine glasses) tend to overflow in perfect harmony, shaming your skinny jeans into the spring wardrobe and putting your elastic waist banded pants front and center in your wardrobe.
Here’s how to avoid the holiday weight gain:
1). Make a food game plan
In the few days before a large holiday feast and the few days after, plan all of your food options. Prepare and freeze healthy meal options filled with vegetables and healthy carbohydrates (ie- quinoa, lentils, etc.) and lean meats. It is much easier to create a caloric deficit over the course of a week than it is to work off the excess calories via exercise, which leads me to my next point…
2). Plan your workouts and work HARD, but keep your expectations low
Please, please, please plan your workouts. Move more, sit less, and workout hard! But stay realistic about it. The reality is, your Thanksgiving dinner can be upwards of 1,200 calories that are consumed in one sitting (note: this doesn’t include 2nd servings…) Wanna know how to burn off 1,200 calories? If you weigh 150 lbs, that is approximately the equivalent of the following:
160 minutes of HIGH IMPACT aerobics (think: cardio-bootcamps, interval training)
140 minutes of intense Zumba®
110 minutes of running at 6 mph
240 minutes (yes…4 hours) of walking at 3.0 mph
Here’s the point: it is unlikely that you will be motivated enough to workout enough on Thanksgiving to burn off the entire dinner. However, what you can do, is burn enough extra calories throughout the days before and after your feast to create enough of a deficit to break even so you maintain your weight.
Easy on the condiments
It’s no secret, Americans love condiments (and if you’re in the mid-west, cheese). But the truth is, condiments are laden with sugar, salt, chemicals, and empty calories. Choose salt-free seasonings and herbs to flavor your meals, and stay away from the empty calories that condiments offer.
Don’t underestimate the power of a swapportunity
With each plateful, challenge yourself to refrain from one starchy item (ie- a roll, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes) and take one extra helping of vegetables. An average roll has about 100 calories. The average cup of plain green beans has about 31 calories. Those extra calories really can add up (and lead to bloatsville).
Show your body mercy
Finally: you are human. Humans like good food (at least humans I like hanging around with do). You may have good intentions of eating a well balanced Thanksgiving meal, and end up with a straw in the gravy boat. Its ok. Show yourself mercy, go on a walk, and start again tomorrow. Shaming yourself doesn’t do anyone good…plus you’ll need the extra energy to use your elbows as ice picks when you are black Friday shopping.
A very big, “Happy Thanksgiving” to all of my WanderFit followers out there!
Throughout the holiday season, I will be writing simple weight gain prevention articles and tips geared towards helping you maintain your weight. Check back often, and feel free to send me comments about what you would like to see. Helping you succeed is my passion.