As wonderful as it is to get together with family during Thanksgiving, no one likes feeling like a stuffed turkey afterwards. Especially if you’re trying to lose weight or just stay healthy- overeating can lead to a guilty conscience and mentally beating yourself up.
Instead of the normal eat/guilt routine, try something new this year! Here’s a strategy that can keep you out of the annual turkey hangover.
Healthy Thanksgiving Tips
- Get mindful. How many times have you feel guilty after Thanksgiving? Sit down while you’re getting ready and take the time to think through your goals and desires. Then write it out! Just having a conscious plan of how you’re going to avoid the carb coma and still enjoy the day will help you.
- Skip the appetizers. Why eat an appetizer right before a huge meal of all your favorite foods? As yummy as they might sound, it’s just more food that leads to the guilt cycle. This is especially true with appetizers because they aren’t on your plate while you’re dishing up for Thanksgiving dinner. You might even forget about those bites you ate while the dinner was cooking!
- Limit the alcohol. I’ve discussed this before, but alcohol consumption inhibits fat burning because your body burns all the alcohol calories first before actually using food for energy. Abstaining also helps you make better choices. We all know the wonderful effects of the social lubricant, but in addition to easing social interactions, alcohol makes you less aware of how full you feel and decreases your aptitude to stick to hard decisions (like forgoing a second helping of mashed potatoes).
- Drink water like crazy. Downing a couple glasses before the meal can fill your stomach and help you eat less during the actual meal. Being hydrated also helps your body digest the carb overload of the Thanksgiving meal.
- Choose protein. Turkey helps you feel more full and satiated than carbs because protein takes longer to digest. Instead of being hungry a few short hours later after your carb coma, you’ll likely still feel full. I fill half my plate with meat and encourage you to do the same.
- Go for a walk. Just moving around will help you feel better and it’ll get you out of the kitchen. Sometimes taking quick break can help you refocus on your goals instead of the immediate gratification that eating can bring.
- Enjoy the day. You get one day a year like this. One day dedicated solely to spending a lovely meal with your family or friends. Don’t feel the pressure to “get your workout in” or skip your favorite grandma’s pie. Your health is important but so is your family! If stepping away to workout is what you want, that’s a different story, but there’s no harm in waiting until tomorrow.
- Plan a big workout for tomorrow. Put that extra glycogen to good use and plan for a big workout. Whether it’s a long run, sprints, or leg day, you’ll have more carbs stored up in your body than usual which can make for an epic workout!