This is my "favorite” (insert sarcasm) phrase this Holiday season:
'I am scared I will gain weight over Thanksgiving because I know I will overeat.'....But why?
'I have to make all the traditional thanksgiving foods'....But why?
'I always gain weight from Thanksgiving to New Years'...BUT WHY DO YOU HAVE TO?
Keep in mind, Thanksgiving is one meal. Not 4 day's worth of overindulgence and inactivity parked in front of the couch watching football. Am I saying you can't enjoy yourself? Absolutely not. But remember....the Holidays are not an excuse to ransack everything you have been working so hard towards!
The average American consumes 5,000-8,000 calories and 230 grams of fat on Thanksgiving in ONE SINGLE MEAL! That's 4-6 days of calories and a whole week of fat for someone on a 1500 calorie a day nutrition plan! Even scarier...the average American gains 7-10 pounds from November-January. And with all the football game and parade watching that ensues, it all adds up to larger than normal amounts of inactivity and extra pounds on the scale.
If you recall from previous posts, I tell my clients to eat clean all week and allow themselves one cheat meal per week to look forward to, keep them sane, help keep their nutrition plan on track and help keep their metabolism fired up. So - most people obviously will want to use Thanksgiving as their cheat day - GREAT! Keep your portion sizes of all the Holiday indulgences to a NORMAL portion size. There is absolutely no reason to fill your body up with that many calories in one meal or one day! Think about it: 3500 calories = 1 pound. If you are in a 1,000 calorie deficit each day with a combination of calorie cutting and exercise, that adds up to 7,000 calories and 2 pounds lost in a week. On the flip side, if you consume 7,000 calories or more in ONE DAY and are not being active...guess what happens? Yup - fat is gained and stored! Our bodies simply cannot process and digest this much food or calories at once - leaving much of it to turn into fat stores! This doesn't even take into consideration the 2-3 days of noshing on leftovers and continuing the calorie gorging.
What can you do? So you are going to your Aunt Betty's for Thanksgiving and you know she will cook all the butter laden, gravy soaked fixin's....have some! But eat normal portion sizes! You don't need to pile you plate full. Stock up on salads, vegetables and white meat turkey, stay away from the buttery potato's, rolls and desserts if they tempt you too badly - or just have small portions of them. Pay attention to your body - when it says you are full, stop eating!
If you are cooking - why not try some new healthier recipes? My family always makes traditional dishes like baked sweet potato slices with marshmallows, brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans and pineapple; mashed potato's and gravy and buttery rolls But last year, my Mom and I decided on a new menu: roasted turkey stuffed with herbs and spices and lemon juice; a roasted vegetable medley with red potatoes, sweet potato's, bell peppers, onions, parsnips, carrots and brussel sprouts; brown rice; salad; and baked apples with cinnamon, stevia and walnuts. How delicious does that sound? And it's all low cal, low fat and healthy! Who says you have to follow all the 'old traditions' - make some new ones!
A HUGE tip – COOK ONLY ENOUGH FOR YOUR FAMILY ATTENDING! Then you wont have a fridge full of tempting, unhealthy Holiday food to wreak havoc on your waistline and healthy eating! Look up the ‘yields’ in the recipe and only cook for the amount of people coming! The recipe yields 16 but you have 8 coming? Cut it in half!
If you are the cook and plating up the delicious Holiday fare – plate up everything for your family in proper portion sizes!
Get out and exercise - make it a family affair! Like the Turkey Trot 5k race on Thanksgiving morning – they are done in most towns - for you Denverites: unitedwaydenver.org/TurkeyTrot. If you don't have a Thanksgiving day 5k in your neighborhood - get the family together for an after dinner walk, play a fun outdoor game like flag football, challenge each other to an obstacle course at the park - just get moving and make it fun and enjoyable with each other!
We have one body - be thankful for it and reward it with good and healthy choices this Thanksgiving!
Stay tuned for Healthy Thanksgiving recipes to come!