It happens every year. The Halloween candy is just the teaser, but the Thanksgiving meal seems to be the time when the diet and exercise programs and for that matter most of our healthy habits are lost. What can we do?
Let’s start by being realistic. Thanksgiving is the time when most people are going to really blow it on their diets. O.K. - but that doesn’t mean you need to let this one holiday get the best of your health habits.
It’s probably not realistic to think you are going to stick with a strict diet over the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s fine- so what can you do to offset that overindulgence? Two things: 1. Burn extra calories before Thanksgiving to give you a cushion. 2. Keep things in check just a bit during the Thanksgiving feast.
First- burning extra calories. Some simple things you can do:
1. If you have a workout routine- try adding a few minutes of walking or other cardiovascular exercise in there between now and Thanksgiving.. If you don’t have a workout routine, a simple daily walk is a great thing to start.
2. You can also burn extra calories during your daily routine:
Take the stairs instead of elevator; Walk during lunch hour; Park farther away from office or errands. Bottom line- the more you move the more you burn.
For Thanksgiving Day here are some eating strategies to keep in mind:
1. Don’t come to Thanksgiving dinner with an empty stomach try to have eaten meals that are consistent with your diet earlier in the day. The less hungry you are, the less you will be tempted to eat.
2. Instead of trying to limit yourself to one serving- take a small first serving so you can have seconds.
3. Fill up on things like turkey, vegetables or other dishes that are close to your diet.
4. Prioritize your deserts. Allow yourself to have desert, but stop and think for just a moment. What do I really like? Where do I want to spend my calories? Don’t just fill up the plate. If you like everything, take small portions of everything. .
5. Try to take a brief walk before thanksgiving dinner and then if you can, a short walk afterwards.
Let’s put this into some perspective. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time. As with each of the holidays- indulging a bit is not terrible if you have a plan to stay on track. You’ve got time to burn those extra calories and you now have a plan for Thanksgiving Day.