The holiday season is upon us and for many, this means overeating to the point of making yourself feel bloated and sick. It is not fun and it is definitely not worth it.
Did you know the average weight gain from October 31st to January 1st is 15-20lbs? People start the bad eating train on Halloween and it doesn’t seem to end until the first of the year! Don’t be the average statistic. Make this the time that you actually maintain or even lose weight! Wouldn’t that be amazing to start the New Year thinner than you were before Halloween? Now is the time to get your mind right and make it happen!
With Thanksgiving just a few days away, consider 10 healthy eating tips to follow that will leave you feeling good and set you on your way to a healthy holiday season!
1. The morning of Thanksgiving get in a high-intense, calorie-burning workout to start out your day. This will rev the metabolism to be in fat burning mode by the time the feast comes around! There are a lot of 5k’s and half marathons on Thanksgiving. And most gyms are open half day to accommodate people who want to get that workout in before they feast!
2. Eat Breakfast! Everyone tries to starve themselves before the big feast so that they can eat whatever they want – don’t do this! The problem with this is it puts your body in starvation mode so whatever you eat at that meal is going to be stored as fat reserves. If you eat breakfast and get your body burning, you will set yourself up for success. Eat a healthy breakfast, have a mid-morning snack, and another snack before you sit down to eat. This way you go into the meal slightly hungry rather than ravenous and you will be less apt to over- do it at meal time.
3. Lighten up some of your traditional recipes. You can find all kinds of low-fat and low-sugar recipes for many of the traditional Thanksgiving recipes on Sparkspeople.com. Here are a few quick ideas:
. Use fat-free chicken broth for basting the turkey and making the gravy
. Use stevia or agave nectar in place of sugars for deserts
. Reduce oil and butter whenever possible
. Try plain yogurt or low fat sour cream for dips, mashed potatoes and casserole
4. When you sit down to eat, take small amounts of everything. Be mindful of your portions. You can enjoy everything at the table as long as you don’t overdo it! As a rule of thumb, use the size of your palm or clenched fist as a guide for what is considered a normal portion size. Anything larger than that is too much.
5. Start with a nice size salad so that you get the fiber and greens in first. This will help begin to fill your stomach up with healthy foods, not they heavy and starchy carbs that make you fat like mashed potatoes and dinner roles. Remember, the goal is to enjoy the feast without over-doing it.
6. Skip the Seconds! If you stick to one plate you will save yourself from really over doing it only to regret it while you lay on the couch feeling sick and bloated. And eat slowly so you know when you are full and then stop! Try not to feel absolutely stuffed by the time you are done. Just pleasantly satisfied! If you really want seconds, prepare a plate for a few hours later on when your body naturally begins to feel hungry again.
7. Have only a small piece of dessert and eat slowly. Or make your own individual gram cracker crust pumpkin pie or banana cream pie using healthy ingredients. Remember, by dessert time, you’ve already eaten your meal so your body is not looking for more food. Dessert is for the taste and enjoyment of something sweet and delicious. Just have a few bites and enjoy every single one. Eating slowly is key.
8. Go for a walk right after dinner to continue the calorie burning process. This will aid in digestion as well. Try not to go directly to the couch to watch football and go into food coma! Stay active in an effort to get your metabolism going. Falling a sleep in a state of inactivity only slows things down.
9. Plan a great workout the following morning to continue burning the excess calories that you took in that day! Better yet, make it intense and really work hard. High intensity interval training is a great way to get your heart rate up for the ultimate calorie-burning workout. It can be as simple as walking for a minute and then running as fast as you can for another minute then walking again, repeated for just 20 or 30 minutes.
10. The next day is the day to get right back on track, do not wait until Monday only to give yourself the rest of the weekend to put it off while you binge! If you go home with left overs, try not to continue to feast the rest of the weekend. Be mindful of your serving sizes. Try to pair your turkey with 1-2 carbohydrates max instead of having your own mini-Thanksgiving meal after meal.
Thanksgiving only comes around once a year so enjoy it! But you will enjoy it so much better if you work out before, portion out your meals, and avoid finishing the day with that stuffed sick feeling. I promise you it will be such a better way to end your holiday by enjoying everything in moderation. You will feel so proud of yourself and know that you can stay on track during the holidays!
Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!
Jessica Janc, Director of Nutrition, Premier Fitness Camp
Jessica Janc has been a part of the Fitness Industry for 20 years. She attended the University of Utah where she studied Exercise Sports Science with an emphasis on Nutrition. She has been an ACE certified Aerobic Instructor and Personal trainer for nineteen years. She studied under the Stott Pilates Method, is Bosu Certified, Madd Dogg Spin certified and teaches many other fitness classes at Purefitness Sports Center in Carlsbad. Jessica is Ace Certified in Lifestyle and Weight Management and is a Sports Nutritionist certified through the National Association of Sports Nutrition (NASN).