It’s that time of year again, On your mark, get set, EAT!!!
According to research, the average American gobbles down between 2,000 and 4,000 calories during his or her Thanksgiving Day meal! That doesn’t include seconds either.
This is the time of year when caution is thrown to the wind in regards to dietary choices. Our Thanksgiving meal is already planned and we‘re on to what kind of cookies we’ll bake for Christmas. You can make it through the feeding festivities without gaining weight. Truth is, you could actually drop a pound or two if you make wise decisions. I’m not going to suggest that you eat a bunch of low-fat, sorry substitutions for your holiday favorites, but keep in mind that there are ways to scale down most traditional recipes and make healthier, tasty versions of them.
What I do suggest is that you have small portions of your favorites and load up on the foods that really kick-start your metabolism. Now I know the term small portions is relative. But we all know that a small portion of sweet potato pie is not ¼ of the pie.
Let’s get back to the feast. The big meal will be whatever your traditional family meal is for that day. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and lest I forget, desserts. If you choose not to modify the recipes, fix them as usual and watch your portion sizes. Include lots of fibrous fruits and vegetables, the more colorful the better. Lose the “one more little bite won’t hurt mantra“. Little bites add up to pounds and inches gained. Practice mindful eating. Remember the old school rules about putting your fork down between bites? It really does slow down the eating process. Here’s a few more survival tips:
Is it worth the guilt and bloat that will come later if you eat all of the desserts on the buffet? Pick one, or two at most and call it a day. If Aunt Thelma only makes her triple chocolate cheesecake once a year and it’s your fave, have it.
Don’t arrive at the big dinner, starving. Stoke your metabolism and fend off the feeding frenzy with a mini meal. Low-fat yogurt with fruit and a scant handful of almonds, or a piece of fruit with string cheese. Banking calories for later often backfires.
Try to get in some cardio activity, if only for 10-15 minutes. It helps to keep you in the fitness mindset.
Holidays don’t always bring out the best in us and when families gather there’s always the possibility of stress, tension, and old wounds being opened. These conditions can be triggers for emotional eating. Accept that these people no matter how kooky they may seem are your family and the holiday doesn’t last forever. If someone is being exceptionally rude and critical, realize that it’s them with the problem not you. And this too shall pass.
This brings me to the point about alcohol. Sometimes you feel you need a drink or two to deal with those crazy relatives. Alcohol relaxes your body and your judgment. With a couple of stiff drinks under your belt it’s easy to sit down in front of Aunt Thelma’s cheesecake and forget just how much you’ve eaten. One glass of heart healthy red wine won’t hurt though.
Remember what the day is all about, being thankful. Count your blessings, express gratitude for the wonderful meal and being able to come together with your family. Give yourself permission to relax and enjoy the day. Take care be well and have a peaceful holiday.
Here’s a Little Extra Food for Thought
It only takes 100 extra calories per day to gain ten pounds in a year… That’s thirty pounds in only three years.
Just wanted you wanted to hear the day before the holiday, right?