Have a Healthy Happy Thanksgiving
Most holidays have strong associations to foods but Thanksgiving takes the cake in being a food centered day and the only holiday literally represented with images of a big fat turkey and expansive spread. It's not surprising that a well intentioned boot-camper keeping an eye on calories may have some concerns about this day...but before you launch into a full panic attack, here are some tips to keep you on track and give you a little perspective.
1. Thanksgiving is only one day, seriously look at any calendar! However, food centered events might start as early as the weekend prior and last well into the weekend after Thanksgiving. Do not use Thanksgiving Day as an excuse to write off a healthy week. Instead use Thanksgiving Day as a motivator to stay on track the days surrounding the holiday by having consistent workouts and leaner days.
2. Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items: high fat food items can be found in fried and creamy dishes as well as cheese-filled casseroles in a traditional Thanksgiving meal. For instance, mashed potatoes are usually made with butter and milk; green bean casseroles are often prepared with cream of mushroom soup, cheese and milk and topped with fried onions; candied yams are loaded with cream, sugar and marshmallows. If you cannot control the ingredients that go in to a dish, simply limit yourself to a smaller helping size. Again moderation is the key. Check out Hungrygirl.com for some great recipes.
3. Work out especially hard this week, this includes Thanksgiving day and try to remember your efforts, hard work and pain during those tempting moments. For example, where you might have previously heard a little voice saying "you worked out hard, you deserve this girl, go ahead and have more"...take control and reframe and say "you woke up at crack of dawn this morning, got yelled at, pushed beyond your comfort and worked hard...is this really worth it?" The answer is usually no.
4. Don't go to the Thanksgiving dinner hungry: we often eat faster and more when we are hungry. Eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day to avoid overeating at dinner time. Having a small snack or light lunch prior is also a good idea. The worst thing you could do is not eat all day to "save up" the calories for dinner.
5. Drink like a fish...no not alcohol (the most common social lubricant) drink water! Remember, alcohol and coffee can dehydrate your body, drink water in between these beverages. Water is calorie-free so drink it to help fill up your stomach and keep you hydrated. Drink at least 8oz of water 15 min. prior to eating and remember to stay super hydrated during the day and during any event.
6. Thanksgiving dinner is not an all-you-can-eat buffet: Fill your plate half with vegetables, one quarter with a lean meat and the rest with a starch of your choice. Eat slowly and stop when you are full. Your Turkey - should be skinless. In fact choose a 4-oz turkey portion, without the skin, to slash away some fat and cholesterol. Go for the light colored meat and avoid the dark meat with a heavier fat content.
7. Save your appetite for the side dishes and desserts. Watch your portion size with side dishes and go for smaller portions. This way you can sample all the different foods. Moderation is always the key. Remember if you have dessert eat it within 30 min after eating, so it doesn't spike your blood sugar. Choose a small portion or share with a friend.
8. The average Thanksgiving dinner is 2,000-3,000 calories! Your goal should obviously be to not consume all these calories....however, if you have such an unfortunate lapse in self control don't dwell or make judgments about yourself and what this might say about your overall character...it means nothing. Seriously, guilt is counter productive and an ineffective way to get re-motivated...move on girl. Do so by doing the math...if your calorie range for weight loss is 1200/day to loss 2 pounds a week...a 2000 calorie day splurge requires you to create a deficit of approximately 135 calories the other 6 days of the week. You know what this means either eat 135 calories less the other days or burn off 135 calories more via more exercise.
9. Lastly, be thankful! Seriously, we all have so much to be thankful for on a daily basis. Take this coming week to reflect no matter what your circumstances in life might be, but especially if they are less then ideal. Times are hard right now for so many people for many different reasons. But if you read this you have eye sight to see, a brain to process the information, a memory to retrieve it later (hopefully) and a consciousness that might have identified with the contents....be thankful, these are gifts not held by all. And while this article speaks about cutting calories, there are many counting pennies during these economic times so just be thankful, be mindful and be inspired to spread your joy and your resources the best you can! Happy Thanksgiving.