Are you worried about surviving Thanksgiving this year?
Worried about losing all your gains or even moving backwards a few steps?
Never fear! With these nine simple tips you’ll safely navigate the Thanksgiving table without missing out on anything.
Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
You awaken to the thundering approach of a 40lb alarm clock.
“Happy Thanksgiving!” screams your 5 year old daughter as she catapults onto your chest.
“Unhhh….” you groan. “Sweetie, you know this isn’t like Christmas? You don’t get presents on Thanksgiving.”
“I know,” she says, “but we get to see Aunt Gwendolyn and Cousin Sarah and we have to get there early!”
You roll out of bed and stagger down the hall. Wobbling towards the kitchen, you start thinking to yourself….
“What’s the gameplan again? Oh, that’s right. Last year was a bit of a trainwreck, but this year I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve.”
You check the fridge. Yep, the Paleo Pumpkin Pie you made is still intact. Your family didn’t get into it last night…..
1st Tip – Bring your own dish: People might not care if what you bring is healthy, but making your own dish ahead of time gives you options. Make something good and nobody will think twice. Plus it never hurts to show up with more food.
You verify that Sophia is getting her clothes on. Then you step out into the garage for some quick pre-game activity.
You pop back in the house, pack up everybody, and scoot out the door.
2nd Tip – Do a little bit of physical activity before you chow down: It can help boost muscle insulin sensitivity. This drives calories into your muscle cells instead of your fat cells. While doing a complete Crossfit Thanksgiving workout would be great, 1-2 minutes of physical activity will help you out.
You roll up the driveway and the kids leap from the car. You grab your pie and some Halloween pictures that you promised to share and head into the house.
The gathering is in full swing. You give Aunt Gwendolyn a peck on the cheek (wow, she really reeks of Ben-gay this year). “You look great!” she says. “Have you been doing that new Zumba stuff?”
“Actually, I got into this thing called Crossfit about 6 months ago” . You spend a couple of minutes trying to explain it to her but only manage to confuse her. Oh well, at least she paid you a compliment…
You place your dish on the table and inspect the Thanksgiving spread in all it’s glory. Wow, it’s pretty impressive this year. You might need to go ahead and loosen your belt now.
Your mother gets everybody together and says a blessing. People eagerly grab plates and utensils and line up to chow down.
3rd Tip – Count your blessings: Reflect on your triumphs, wins, and joys from the past year. It’s good for your soul and will help you get through the next 30 days.
You start with a protein trifecta: turkey, ham, and deviled eggs. Then you fill in w/ green bean casserole, that sweet potato casserole w/ the marshmellows on it, a dinner roll, and some sort of quinoa salad. “Seriously?” you think to yourself. “Is somebody else here trying to eat clean too?”
You guess that one of the teenagers is doing the rebellious vegan thing this year. This is your Aunt Gertrude’s attempt to make them happy.
4th Tip – Protein first: Build your plate around meat and then fill in veggies and starches. Protein is very filling, veggies don’t have that many calories, and both will help you keep from eating too much of that diabetic-coma-inducing sweet potato casserole.
You make sure your kids are squared away at their table and then join the table of grownups in the living room.
You stare in disbelief as Cousin Joey seems to inhale his plate while hardly even moving his jaw. He’s like a human vacuum cleaner. He’s also a hefty 280lbs. You take your time to chew and converse with everybody else while enjoying your meal.
5th Tip – Don’t be a vacuum cleaner: Chew your food thoroughly. Your mouth is the first stage of digestion and your gut is going to need all the help it can get today. Chewing thoroughly will also help you feel fuller more quickly since your brain needs time to catch up with your stomach.
You help yourself to a glass of Chardonnay. You also grab a glass of water since the quinoa salad has 10lbs of salt in it.
6th Tip – Drink plenty of water: It will help limit your alcohol intake (nobody wants a repeat of The Incident of 2007) and will help you stay hydrated.
After a while, people drift away from the table. Uncle Franko and your brother sprawl out on the couch to watch the Cowboy’s game. You decide that you don’t want to pass out just yet so you decide to go for a stroll with Aunt Gwendolyn. She’s 80 and has had double hip replacements. You shouldn’t have trouble keeping up with her.
7th Tip – Go for a walk after dinner: Increases insulin sensitivity (see Tip #2), helps your digestion, and keeps you from feeling like a total slug. “A walk of 100 paces after meals equals a life of 99 years” – Old Chinese proverb
You still manage to fall asleep on the couch after your walk. Fortunately the kids manage not to kill themselves while playing with their cousins. They all seem to be having a good time.
When you wake up, your sister is making to-go plates for everybody. Smart move on her part, otherwise she’ll be stuck with enough food to keep eating turkey through Christmas.
8th Tip – If you’re hosting, give away leftovers: Everybody wants something to snack on later, and you don’t need five pumpkin pies staring at you every time you open the fridge.
You manage to get home at a decent hour and get the kids to bed. You have a light bedtime snack of turkey and devilled eggs. You fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.
The next day, you step on the scale. “Cool, I only gained 2lbs. It’s probably just water weight that I’ll drop once I get back to my normal eating.” You reflect on how awesome your Thanksgiving was this year compared to last year.
9th Tip – Thanksgiving is only on Thursday: Get back to your normal eating starting on Friday. Remember, 3500 calories = 1lb of fat. Since the average Thanksgiving meal is 3000 calories, you’re unlikely to gain 10lbs of fat overnight. Any weight gain can be attributed to water bloat that was pulled in from all the starchy carbs you ate. It will be gone in a couple of days.
Congrats! You’ve safely navigated Thanksiving!
You’re in Control
Don’t let Thanksgiving Day fill you with fear, dread, and feelings of helplessness.
It’s time to enjoy your family, your friends, and your blessings.
Don’t worry about doing all the tips – just pick 1.
And don’t worry about having a perfect day.
Just have fun 😉