We are only a few days away from Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season. This season can cause havoc with your diet and your weight loss or weight maintenance plan. Don’t worry, you are not by yourself. You want to enjoy the holidays and not feel like you can’t enjoy holiday food and traditions. So, let me share some strategies that may be helpful.
Since Thanksgiving is only a few days away, let’s use that as an example of how to deal with holiday eating. First of all, a little advance planning will help. Holidays are an important time to spend with family and friends. Enjoy the time and use it as a time to reconnect and relax. That should be your goal. However, don’t derail all of the effort you have put into improving your health in a few short weeks. But, it’s okay to splurge just a little.
First of all, get in a morning workout before the festivities begin. Do your normal routine or just go for a long walk. Since you know you’ll splurge a little, prepare for it by burning a few extra calories before you eat your big meal. You’ll feel better after you workout anyway. Basically “workout before you pig out.” It also helps to walk for 15 to 20 minutes after you have eaten a big meal.Workout before you pig out. Click To Tweet
Think of your eating plan in the context of the week, not this one day. You can make up for a little extra on Thanksgiving Day during the remainder of the week.
So, you sit down to eat a Thanksgiving lunch or dinner, what now? People’s traditional meals may be a bit different, but I’ll share what is typical for me. I’ll have turkey with gravy, some cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy (maybe these are sweet potatoes), green bean casserole, a corn dish, and dinner rolls. If it is not your norm, add a leafy green vegetable and/or a green salad. And of course, pumpkin or another kind of pie.
Have one serving of everything, just as you have in the past and enjoy. If you have followed the eating principles presented at Live Healthy, you know that it is the foods that raise your insulin levels that cause you to store fat. These are primarily the refined carbohydrates and sugar, therefore the foods to eat modestly in this meal are the rolls, the dressing, and the pie. I plan to have one small serving of each and savor the taste since these foods are no longer a part of my normal diet. Then, I’ll have more of the turkey and vegetables if I want a seconding serving of anything.
Just for the record, you know it is important to align your carb intake with your goals. Here is the carb guideline graphic I have shared before for your reference. Just FYI I have included the carb content of some of the high glycemic foods that you need to watch:
- Mashed potatoes – 20 grams for a “half” cup serving (without gravy)
- Dinner roll – 20 to 30 grams for one roll
- Dressing – 20 to 40 grams per serving depending on ingredients
- Pumpkin pie – 42 grams per slice (1/8th of pie)
- Alcohol can add many carbs and calories too
I will probably take in 150 to 200 grams of carbs on Thanksgiving Day, even though my normal intake is 50 to 100, but I will have planned for it.
So there you go. Enjoy the day. Go in with a plan, but enjoy the day. Other holidays can be handled in the same manner. Make holidays a special time, with special food. as it is meant to be. Just follow the principles you’ve learned for healthy eating and exercise, and you’ll be just fine. You know what to do.
Enjoy and Live Healthy!