Thanksgiving Dinner

A Survivor’s Guide To Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is upon us. And while the holiday season is filled with love, joy, and yuletide glee, it can also be served with a heaping helping of food guilt– a feeling we’ve confirmed is 100% overrated. So how do you get around “food guilt” and continue to foster a healthy relationship with food when the next few months of the year feel like they’re aimed to fatten you up? With gallons of eggnog, tons of turkey, and pie to the sky, how is one to stay fit?!

Glad you asked. There is a way to survive Thanksgiving with little to no damage this year! After all, you don’t want to be the loner off to the side of the dinner table crying into your kale and hummus. So bring on the holidays:

Eat When You’re Hungry

We know how it goes. During this time of year, food is everywhere, all the time. It’s easy to snack yourself into one continuous meal when goodies are right in front of you. And. So. Accessible! But when it comes to snacks, you don’t have to eat it just because it’s there. If you’re not hungry, wait ‘til you are! Just be careful not to wait until you’re absolutely starving, which may cause overeating.

Be aware of your body, and don’t give it more than what it needs. There may even be other reasons why you’re eating when you’re not hungry. Whatever it is, take stock of your appetite levels and shut things down before you’ve eaten the entire plate of cookies your neighbor just dropped off for your family. *Cough, cough.*

Try a Little of Everything, Not Lots of Anything

Portion control ya’ll. Let’s face it- completely cutting yourself off from every holiday indulgence may leave you feeling like Scrooge: angry and alone. Recognize that during the holidays, you are going to have more opportunities to eat festive snacks and desserts. You don’t have to completely deprive yourself but shoot for smaller portions, and less often. You’re going to indulge, and that’s ok! The thing to avoid is OVER-indulgence. You know, that point when you say “I feel sick- Why am I still eating?”

Err on the conservative side of portion sizes on this one, and be vigilant and honest with yourself for your greatest chance of holiday eating success. You can succeed, even with all the temptations!

Thanksgiving Celebration Traditional Dinner Table Setting

Plan an Active Exercise With the Family

So there’s a rumor floating around out there about lots of turkey will make you sleepy…it’s the Tryptophan they say. We just can’t help it. Here’s a crazy notion. Maybe when you feel like taking a Thanksgiving nap after your humongous meal, you and your family can get out and do something active. We sense a new tradition in the works!

Come on, you just consumed 13.7 billion calories and a little walk or hike is good way to level that out while having a great time with the fam! If your naps are sacred, we totally get that. But maybe plan something active in the morning so you can come to the dinner table nice and hungry. If you look it up, most areas have some form of “turkey trot” race, football game, or aerobathon. Do some research on what’s available in your community. You can thank us later. We’re just looking out for your waistline.

Small Plates, Slow Bites

Have you ever noticed that no matter how big your plate is, you’ll generally fill it all the way up? This holiday season, use a smaller plate! Reach for the smallest size available. If only large plates are available, spread your foods out. No need to shove everything you possibly can on there. Again, it’s that portion control thing.

Another tip? Eat sloooooowwwlyyyyy. Don’t scarf your meal. Take your time! Enjoy all the flavors. Take smaller bites, and place your utensils down between bites. When your meal is over too soon, you may feel like you need more. So even if you’re at the kids table again because you’re the only cousin in the family who’s not married, slow down, savor, and listen to your body’s cues.

Enjoy Thanksgiving Classics Your Way

Just because you’re making a focused effort to eat in alignment with your fitness goals doesn’t mean the holiday should be a drag. The classic recipes you love can all be modified to reflect a lighter and healthier lifestyle!

With a little research, you can find substitutes for a lot of the recipes you know and love. The interwebs are loaded with “better for you” versions of classic Thanksgiving recipes. Not even calorie-aware Holiday eating can rain on your holiday parade!

What it all comes down to is this: Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year to be spent with family while reflecting on all the amazing things you’re thankful for.  So enjoy your holidays, listen to your body, and have a safe Thanksgiving. You’ve got an incredible body you’re taking care of and is capable of doing amazing things! And that is something to be thankful for.