If you’re currently on a diet, you’re probably worried that Thanksgiving is going to ruin everything you’ve worked so hard to accomplish. And honestly, if you don’t get ahead of it you’re probably right.
I say that because this isn’t my first diet during the holidays. I’ve been dieting during the holidays since I was in high school. Its called being a wrestler 🤼. For some reason, some genius decided to make wrestling season during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. Kidding aside, there’s no reason you can’t stay within your dietary goals while enjoying some amazing food and lots of family.
Here are my recommendations…
Study the menu
For the most part, you know where you’re going to be for Thanksgiving and what’s going to be served. I’ve already inputted my calories into MyFitnessPal to help me game plan dinner while giving myself a few extra calories to spare to choose whatever I like when I get there.
Fast in the morning
Because I already know that my Thanksgiving meal is going to be larger than normal, by skipping breakfast I’m able to consume more calories for dinner than I normally would. Temporarily restricting food also has great benefits to the way our brains work, the way our hormones balance, and our ability to use fat stores on the body.
Workout before the big feast 💪💪
I got suckered into running a 5k on Thanksgiving day. I’m not mad though. Not only does it get allow me to keep my routine going, by going for a run I know I’m going to burn at least 400 calories and another 500 calories from EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). That’s 900 calories I can adjust for during dinner.
Expert Tip: Eat according to your maintence calories. Your maintenance calories is approximately your body weight X 14.
BLT’s stand for Bites, Licks, and Tastes…aka snacking. The number of calories consumed from snacking will catch up to you if you’re not paying attention. Instead, keep your mouth occupied with low-calorie options, fill your belly with water, and chew gum before the big meal.
Track your spirts, the liquid kind 🍺🍺
In one study people who tracked their alcohol consumption in real-time drank less than those who didn’t. I think a lot of that comes from the guilty conscience we get from drinking all those liquid calories. Likewise, keep the drinks simple which makes it easier to track. Leave the margaritas for Cinco De Mayo.
Small plates, small belly 🏋🏋
Use paper snack plates for dinner. In one study, those who ate using smaller plates consumed 22-29% fewer calories than those who didn’t. Think of it as tricking the mind into fullness. Dr. Gareth Hollands, one of the leaders of the research, said that smaller plates “help people avoid ‘over-serving’ themselves with larger portions by reducing portion size and availability.”
Overeat on the healthy stuff 🥗🥗
Start with a huge salad, eat lots of fruits, and drink a bunch of water. The fruits and vegetables will make you feel much fuller due to the caloric density that comes from fiber. High-fiber foods not only provide volume but also takes longer to digest, making you feel fuller, longer, and with fewer calories. This strategy works really well because fruit and vegetables tend to be lower in calories compared to their counterparts of meats and starches.
Walk it out. Walk it out🎵🎵🎵
The infamous Turkey food coma is a real thing. You know what I’m talking about. The inevitable nap that occurs about 45 minutes after gorging one’s self on Thanksgiving. Its a sugar crash like no other. You can stop that from happening by going for a walk around the neighboorhood. In one study, German researchers looked at what happened when people ate a large meal by having the participants walk at a slow pace on a treadmill. Walking, they found, sped the rate of digestion that moved through the stomach while helping stabilize blood sugar back to normal levels.
This isn’t a foolproof plan. There’s no such thing. But its 10x better than going into Thanksgiving thinking you’re going to overcome the bulge by sheer will. Good luck with that!