Have a love-hate relationship with Thanksgiving? You love the spirit of it, having family over for a big get together, and probably even love pumpkin pie… but don’t so much love what it does to your body.
You aren’t alone. You’re working hard in the gym day in and day out and the last thing you need is an overindulgent meal to derail that progress.
If you’re serious about sticking to your guns and keeping it healthy this Thanksgiving, there are things that can be done. You just gotta take steps to help keep your food intake in check all while enjoying the holiday and not offending others. Yep, it really is possible!
Here are 7 top tips for keeping your diet in check this Thanksgiving:
1 – Plan ahead
First and foremost, it’s important that you plan ahead. Chances are, even if you do try and eat as healthy as you possibly can, you’ll still eat a few more calories than you normally would.
That’s no problem. Remember that it’s your total daily calorie intake at the end of the day that matters. To compensate for the upcoming overindulgence, you should cut back a bit on the meals leading up to your Thanksgiving dinner, building yourself some wiggle room into the picture.
Even if you just slash 100 calories from each meal prior, if you eat 6 meals a day, this is an additional 500 calories you can afford to eat. That’s huge.
2- Host the meal
If you’re really into cooking, you could offer to host the meal instead. This way, you have complete control over what goes into the food, how it’s made, and so forth. Keep in mind not everyone may share your determination to stay fit and healthy, so have a mix of dishes for them and for you.
This gives you far more control and can help to ease any anxiety you’re experiencing about the big feast.
3 – Don’t show up hungry
Whatever you do, don’t show up hungry. This is the golden rule of any large holiday meal or event you have to go to. When you’re hungry, your willpower to make smart decisions pretty much shoots out the window. So ask yourself, do you really wanna go down that path? Do you really wanna feel as if you have no control?
There’s nothing that’ll tempt you more than being around mouth-watering food and feeling so hungry you’d happily guzzle a whole plate of cheese.
Make no mistake you will cave if that’s the scenario you put yourself in. Have a light meal – chicken and some steamed broccoli for instance, before heading there. Think lean and green for this meal. Fiber and protein will help tame your hunger, putting you in the driver’s seat of your decision making.
4 – Eat slowly
Another note that you’ll wanna remember is to eat slowly. The slower you eat, the greater the chances are that you’ll stop eating when you should. One big mistake too many people make at their Thanksgiving dinner is just shoveling food in full speed ahead. It’s like they think there won’t be enough left over to have more if they want it. But there are always leftovers. No need to rush it. Put your fork down between bites. Socialize a bit. It’s a great way to help your body better register how much food you’ve eaten and whether or not you really need to eat more.
As long as you can obey your body’s commands, you’re all set. If you’re too busy shoveling food in, you’ll eat far more before your body tells you it’s full, leaving you feeling overstuffed – and likely in regret mode.
And on this note, try to wait at least 10 minutes before going in for seconds if you can. This will further drive this point home.
5 – Get a workout in
If you can schedule a workout in before you head for your Thanksgiving dinner, all the better. While some gyms are closed, you’re bound to find one in your city that is open or at least with reduced hours. If not, do a workout at home.
What you want to do here is focus on higher rep, lighter weight training. You aren’t aiming to bust through any PR’s here. You want to deplete your muscle glycogen levels. By doing a higher rep workout session, you’re going to create a place for the carbs you eat to go – to the muscle tissues, while also boosting your metabolic rate as well.
This can go a long way towards improving the outcome of that meal. If you know you’re gonna indulge, this workout will be your damage limitation method. It’ll help you head into the meal knowing you’ve already taken steps to minimize any set back this meal could cause.
6 – Say no to alcohol
Another step to take is to say no to alcohol. This is hard for a lot of people but if you really hope to see maximum results, it’s something that must be done.
Drinking alcohol will set you back a number of calories and it’ll also loosen your resolve to eat as healthy as you should. Stick to water for this occasion. It’ll be worth it. If you feel you do need something special, go with club soda.
7 – Use fat burning supplementation
Finally, consider getting some supplemental help. Check out our cutting stack for example for products that are specially designed to help you minimize fat gain during a period of overeating.
These products can help you boost your metabolic rate, reduce the chances that carbs turn to body fat, and help you stay on top of your game. Using them before and during the Thanksgiving dinner can help lessen the damage that dinner may produce.
Thanksgiving is a holiday that’s meant to be enjoyed and shared, not dreaded. Sadly, too many people do dread it simply because they’ve experienced weight gain before. Make this year different. Keep these tips in mind, and you should have no trouble at all.
What methods do you use to lessen the impact of the Thanksgiving feast on your body fat levels? Tell us about them in the comments below.