7 Steps to Enjoying your Thanksgiving without ruining your Diet

7 Steps to Enjoying your Thanksgiving without ruining your Diet

The holidays are a time to spend time with friends and family, enjoying each other’s company, catching up and giving thanks and eating lots and lots of delicious food. It can seem impossible for a combat athlete or fitness minded individual to maintain their eating regime. Temptations are everywhere and keep coming at you ALL day long. We can all remember a past Thanksgiving where we got so bloated and full it seemed to take days to get back in the swing of things Armed with these 7 Tips you will successfully navigate the holidays and still stay in shape.

1. Make a plan. You would never go into a fight, competition, or even a workout without a plan. Going into your holiday meal unprepared is just as foolhardy.  Making a battle plan will help you succeed at having a dinner that fits your meal plan. Figure out what your day will look like and follow your normal daily routine. Set realistic goals. The holidays can be a difficult time to lose weight, but with a little preparation you can easily maintain your weight. Think about what your favorite holiday foods are and enjoy them so don’t feel like you’ve missed out. Before you go to your meal take time for some imaging (visualization) picturing how you want the day to unfold. This will prepare you to face your holiday challenges.

2. Know what healthy portion looks like. Many people might know a health portion by weight or serving size but do you know what that looks like?  Knowing what a an actual portion size looks like is a key to portion control success. Each type of food has a different portion size and knowing what that looks like is key to eating healthy. As a general rule for a balance diet (not keto, or any other extreme diet) your protein should be about the size of your fist, your carbohydrates about the amount you could hold in both your hands cupped and your fat the size of your thumb.  This will vary depending on your personal diet , so adjust accordingly.  You can check out a WebMD’s handy portion visual guide, 

Also remember, you cannot choose a healthy portion of everything! Stick to one plate of food and not one piled up to the sky with food falling off as you head back to your seat.

3. Exercise that day. Exercising on the day of Thanksgiving will help to burn extra calories before the meal, and also if you do high intensity exercise like Martial Arts  will give you a good one to two hour after burn where you metabolism is revved up and you are burning calories at a faster rate. also, will leave you feeling energized. And usually you feel good about working out and don’t want to ruin that.  Getting out and getting moving typically leads to an improved mood, and higher energy.

 If you are feeling good about yourself on Thanksgiving, it will be easier to stick to your eating plan.  Exercise also reduces stress; which come in boat loads during the holidays.  Workout can do a lot to help keep your stress levels in check decreasing cortical which is a catabolic steroid (the muscle destroying fat building kind).

Incorporating a group walk or hike into your holiday tradition gives family and friends another opportunity to socialize and reduces the time spent near appetizers and booze.

4. Drink plenty of water. Drinking plenty of water will both keep you hydrated and also help you to feel fuller.  Experts say that drinking about 2 glasses of water, 20-30 minutes before meal time, will reduce caloric intake. The water in your stomach will make you to feel fuller, you will eat less.

5. Socialize. The whole point of holidays is to spend time with loved ones and get a break from the day-to-day grind. Make good conversation the centerpiece at dinners and holiday events. Make time to catch up with old friends and family. Watch the game or plan a game in the yard.  Find creative ways to switch the focus from the food and move it back to the people.

6. Eat what you enjoy. Select only the foods you love will help minimize any post Thanksgiving day hangovers, Unless you only eat pie and Ice cream. There is always a ton of different dishes at any Thanksgiving Day meal.

First, skip any snacks that are set up all day long before dinner is served. Then think about what foods you MOST enjoy before you put anything on your plate. Which is it for you? Love turkey? Take a little more of that. Cranberry sauce your childhood fav? Or maybe like me it is the green bean or sweet potato and marshmallow casserole. Focus on the foods you crave, and that alone can save calories.  Also, unless it is some amazing home-made bread skip the rolls, bread.

7. Eat slowlyOne of the best tips in general for eating less and getting the full nutritional value out of a mean is to EAT SLOWLY.  When you really check you food (Experts say each bite should be chewed 20 times) If you gulp down your food, your body doesn’t have the time to catch up and notify your brain that you’ve had enough. Eating slower help you feel fuller with the same amount of food, leading to intake less calories, and actually savor your delicious Thanksgiving feast.

If you keep these tips in mind you can keep from derailing, you fitness regime and still enjoy the holidays.  

Happy Thanksgivng!!!


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