Last week I published an article on how to strategize your eating around the holidays so as to not gain the typical 10-15 pounds that Americans do during this time of year. I’ve mentioned “budgeting” no diet days over the last 6 weeks of the year, but what if you have some serious goals and really don’t want to derail your progress?
I’ve been in the industry for 15+ years and have made some incredible friends along the way. One of the coaches that I respect very much put a list together and I had expand and elaborate on it. Here are 7 tools to help you better deal with the upcoming Thanksgiving meal & holiday.
1. Eat the food, just not all of it. Eat 1 plate of food, mostly filled with protein i.e. turkey, fish, lean beef, pork, vegetables and “healthy” carbs (sweet potato, mashed potatoes, rice).
2. Garnish by adding small servings of guilty pleasures (if you’re able and this doesn’t trigger binge eating). Think of things like stuffing or whatever floats your boat here 🙂
3. Limit alcohol if possible. This is a hard one, but if you’ve got a goal – it’s worth it. Have seltzer with a lime. If alcohol is part of your family tradition stick to the highest ABV (liquor then wine then beer). For each drink, match it with a glass of water to stave of dehydration. Speaking of…
4. Drink a ton of water. This will keep you full and dilute the sodium found in many holiday foods.
5. Remember why you’re there. You’re there for the company, for the memories, for the good times. None of these things require over eating or drinking. Eat slowly, chew your food well and enjoy every bite. Most importantly enjoy the time with family and friends.
6. If you’re going to have dessert make sure it’s something worthwhile. If it’s your favorite (I love Pumpkin Pie) then enjoy it. Don’t go back for seconds. If you’re going somewhere consider bringing a delicious fruit platter. Or in the best case scenario you can skip it altogether.
7. Protein up! Drink a protein shake 60-90 minutes before meal time. This will bring you into the meal already satiated and not ravenous. I used to make the mistake of fasting all day and wow was that a bad idea. Be smart and intentional about your choices.
One final thing to consider is to stop when you’re full. One way of figuring this out is by eating slowly, chewing your food and waiting at least 15 minutes before going back for seconds. This is a hard one for me, but so long as you’re being intentional, and not mindlessly eating your body will send you the right signals.
Either way please don’t feel any guilt or shame around holiday eating. It should be a time for fun and relaxation, not stress. I’m wishing you and your family a very healthy and happy Thanksgiving.