I love Thanksgiving. Just like the Fourth of July, it’s a 100% all-American holiday with no gifts required. What makes this day so special is the opportunity to pause and give thanks for the blessings in our lives. What better way to slow down than to sit down and enjoy some quality time with family and friends? Of course, that time ends up being stuffed with food and drink, and maybe a little football, too.
Since this is an abbreviated work week for many of my repeat readers, I wanted to get these annual survival tips posted in time for the calorie-loaded holiday ahead.
- Get moving: Don’t skimp on getting some activity into your daily routine this week. Ten minutes are always better than nothing, and mentally, you’ll feel good knowing you made an effort prior to the Turkey Day feast. On Thursday, even if you’re hosting the holiday fun and can’t leave the house, you can pop in an exercise DVD or bang out a Tabata first thing in the morning. If you can get some fresh air, take a brisk power walk or abbreviated run. Your gym is open? Great! Try a morning group exercise class or attack some cardio and core work. A few solid planks can make you feel strong before filling belly up with yummy food!
- Do NOT skip breakfast: Be sure to eat something sensible on Thanksgiving morning to get your metabolism going. If you’re not feasting until late afternoon, make sure to follow breakfast with a small lunch or sensible snack so you don’t go overboard later. Two ideas: non-fat plain Greek yogurt with a serving of almonds mixed in or a piece of toasted Ezekiel bread topped with a sliced hard-boiled egg and salsa. These protein-rich snacks will keep you full longer.
- Size DOES matter: Use a salad or other small dish for your meal. Start with salad or veggies and then add the turkey. Use the remaining space for the potatoes, stuffing and other starches. There simply won’t be as much room left as you’d have on a regular dinner plate.
- Savor the flavor: Eat slowly! If you do clean your plate, wait about 10 minutes before going back for round two. This will help you decide if you’re really hungry. If you aren’t, you’ll feel good knowing you had one helping – before moving on to dessert, of course!
- Mind the libations: This is a good day to follow the every-other-drink-is-alcohol plan. Enjoy a glass of wine, beer or cocktail then have a glass of water of diet soda before moving on to the next cocktail.
- Give away leftovers: Hosting the holiday feast? Don’t be shy about giving some of the uneaten turkey and trimmings to your guests.
I close with a heartfelt wish for you to enjoy a Happy and healthy Thanksgiving! On this holiday, I give thanks for so many things including my family, my friends, my health and for the support I receive from my “fitfam,” which includes you loyal readers. Remember, a few extra calories are worth it if it means spending time with the people you love. Laughter, good food and even good wine can be good for the heart and the soul as part of our ongoing journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!