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Let’s Talk Turkey, and Trimmings and….

iStock_000004795159MediumOn this Motivation Monday, I offer my annual dose of Thanksgiving-infused inspiration to get this particular week started off strong.

I look forward to this all-American holiday every year because it’s a chance to stop and give thanks for all the good things in our lives. What better way to slow down than spending some quality time with family and friends? Of course, a lot of that time ends up being stuffed with food and drink. Between snacking and sitting down for a traditional turkey-with-all-the-trimmings holiday meal, the Calorie Control Council reports the average American will consume more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving Day. So, I thought I’d get these survival tips posted a few days in advance of the calorie-filled holiday ahead:

  • Move it! Don’t skimp on the activity this week. Remember, ten minutes of exercise are always better than zero. The bonus is you’ll have the mental boost 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. Or sneak out for some fresh air and 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 your belly with delicious eats.
  • Eat breakfast! Be sure to eat something sensible on Thanksgiving morning to kick-start your metabolism. 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 feeling full longer than a sugar-infused snack.
  • Portion Control: 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 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!
  • Keep Track of the Libations: This is the perfect day to follow the every-other-drink-is-alcohol plan. Enjoy a glass of wine, beer or cocktail then have a glass of still or sparking water before moving on to the next cocktail.
  • Make Doggie Bags! Hosting the holiday feast? Don’t be shy about giving some of the uneaten turkey and trimmings to your guests.

Let me offer my heartfelt wishes for everyone to enjoy a very Happy Thanksgiving! Each year, I’m even more thankful for so many things including my family, my friends, my health and for the support I receive from my “fitfam,” which includes all my loyal readers. One final note: If you end up breaking the calorie bank this Thanksgiving, don’t sweat it. Remember, laughter, good food and even some good wine are all ingredients in many holiday recipes for a happy heart and the soul and part of our ongoing journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Gobble, Gobble With Less Guilt!

Thanksgiving feastOn this Motivation Monday, I offer a few words of inspiration to get your week started on a strong note: mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and pumpkin pie.

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!

Time to Talk Turkey!

Thanksgiving feastThe countdown to the official start of the 2014 holiday season is really winding down now. As this Motivation Monday brings us just a few days shy of Thanksgiving and kicks off for what’s an abbreviated week for many, I figured it couldn’t hurt to offer my annual tip sheet for how to get through the calorie-loaded holiday.

For me, Thanksgiving is right up there with the Fourth of July. I love the fact it’s a 100% American holiday with no gifts required. The only requirements are giving thanks for the blessings in your life and enjoying some quality time with family and friends. Of course, that time tends to be filled (stuffed is more like it) with food, drink and football. Here are a few ways to keep things under control:

  • Get moving: Even if you’re cooking and can’t leave the house, you can wake up and pop in an exercise DVD or bang out a Tabata or two wherever you have space to do push-ups or burpees. If you can get out but have to cut your workout time in half, take a brisk power walk or abbreviated run. If your gym is open, get to a morning group exercise class or at least bang out some cardio and core work.
  • Don’t skip breakfast: Just like every other morning, be sure to eat something sensible to get your metabolism going. If your Thanksgiving feast isn’t scheduled until late afternoon, make sure to follow breakfast with a small lunch or sensible snack so you don’t go overboard later. One of my favorite fillers is non-fat plain Greek yogurt with a serving of almonds mixed in. The protein-rich snack keeps me full for hours!
  • Use a smaller plate (like a salad dish) for your meal: If there’s salad or veggies, load up on those first, then take some turkey. Use the remaining space for the potatoes, stuffing and other starches. (There 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!
  • Watch the alcohol intake: 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 libation.
  • Give away leftovers: Hosting the holiday feast? Don’t be shy about giving some of the uneaten turkey and trimmings to your guests.

If you have any “secrets” that help you enjoy the holiday without waking up feeling guilty on Black Friday, I’d love to hear about them! The holiday season is definitely challenging when it comes to watching our waistlines, but the good news there are some tricks that can help you continue your journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Gobble Gobble Prep Time

Thanksgiving feastIs anyone else blown away by the fact that this Motivation Monday marks the 10-day countdown to Thanksgiving 2014? In anticipation of the delicious, calorie-loaded holiday, I thought it would be a good time to offer a few easy reminders on how to burn a few extra calories at the gym and keep the diet in check. Paying closer attention to your healthy habits in the days leading up to a holiday or other special occasion is a great way to have less guilt when you do sit down to gobble up the goodies and celebrate!

Move Just a Little Bit More: Three easy ways to burn a few more calories on a daily basis:

  1. Add one Tabata to your workout. Click here for a refresher on the four-minute high intensity workout formula.
  2. Jump rope for 30-second intervals (60 for the more advanced fitness fiends) between exercises. If you’re lifting weights, add a jump rope intermission as you move from one machine to the next or every other move.
  3. Add more steps to your day by taking the stairs and parking your car further away from the entrance to your office or even at the shopping center.

Fast Food Fixes: As seen on a recent episode of the Working Woman Report, here’s a little show-and-tell about how a little prep can go a long way in making healthier food choices.

As we move into this fun, festive and food-filled time of year, it’s good to know some simple choices can help us enjoy the season and still have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

The Morning After

I hope you had a wonderful holiday filled with good food, quality time with family and friends and a win by your favorite football team. So now what? It’s time to push through that turkey hangover and get moving!

  • Shop Til You Drop: The only time I dealt with the Black Friday crowds was during my TV-news days when I had to be at the stores reporting on the craziness. However, if you plan on hitting the mall today, wear your sneakers, pack some healthy snacks and use the hustle and bustle of the crowds as the perfect motivation to keep walking briskly from store to store!
  • Trot Off That Turkey: Many communities have walks and runs scheduled for the weekend after Thanksgiving. Check your local paper for any events that welcome last-minute participants. Grab some friends so you can share your holiday stories.
  • Toss Some Pigskin: Touch football anyone? It’s supposed to be a pretty mild weekend here in New York, so it’ll be a great time to get a spontaneous game going at a local park or in someone’s backyard.  Then you can share whatever leftovers still linger from Thanksgiving. That means you won’t eat them all by yourself!
  • Put a Healthy Twist on Leftovers: Instead of a turkey sandwich, why not chop up apples, grapes and celery and mix them with the turkey for a salad with zing? Or you can dice the turkey, and simmer it in broth with brown rice and celery for a savory soup.

My final tip: don’t stop moving! Keep your body in motion right through the weekend so you can start the holiday season knowing you’re doing all you can to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Gearing Up for Turkey Time

I’m not sure how it happened, but here we are just a few days away from Thanksgiving 2012. Since many people have abbreviated work weeks and may also be busy prepping or packing up to travel for the holiday, I thought I’d offer an early dose of motivation on how to get through the traditionally gluttonous holiday.

I’ve always loved Thanksgiving. There are no gifts to buy and you can just enjoy quality time with family and friends. Of course, that quality time tends to be filled (or should I say stuffed?) with food, drink and football. Here are some tips to help you avoid overdoing it – at least when it comes to the food and drink:

  • Get in some morning activity: Even if you can’t get out of the house, you can still pop in an exercise DVD or bang out a Tabata or two wherever you have space to do push-ups or burpees. If you only have a short amount of time to escape the house, take a brisk power walk or abbreviated run. If your gym is open, get to a morning group exercise class or at least bang out some cardio and core work.
  • Don’t skip breakfast: Eat something sensible to get your metabolism moving and to avoid being ravenous when you dig into that holiday meal. If your Thanksgiving feast isn’t scheduled until late afternoon, make sure to follow breakfast with a small lunch or sensible snack so you don’t go overboard later. One of my favorite sensible fillers is a non-fat plain Greek yogurt with a serving of almonds mixed in. The protein-rich snack keeps me satisfied for hours!
  • Use a smaller plate (like a salad dish) for your meal: If there’s salad or veggies, load up on those first, then take some turkey. Use the remaining space for the potatoes, stuffing and other starches. (There 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!
  • Watch the alcohol intake: 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 libation.
  • Give away leftovers: Hosting the holiday feast? Don’t be shy about giving some of the uneaten turkey and trimmings to your guests.

If you have any “secrets” that help you enjoy the holiday without waking up feeling guilty on Black Friday, I’d love to hear about them! The holiday season is definitely challenging when it comes to watching our waistlines, but the good news there are some tricks that can help you continue your journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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