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Thanksgiving – The Holiday Binge Kick Off?

BY LAKEN SUMMERVILLE

For most people, Thanksgiving marks that time of year where we decide to put off all positive habit changes until AFTER  our New Year’s resolutions. Time to give in to the decadence of all of our favorite holiday treats! For others, there might even be anxiety associated with the holiday festivities. Will all your hard work be ruined by the sheer amount of decadence during the holiday festivities?

That’s why we are here with some helpful tips going into the holiday binging season:

  1. Pregame: No. Not that kind of pregame. We mean: backloading lean protein and vegetables early in the day, leading up to the event. You will most likely be surrounded by foods high in carbs and fat later.  Set yourself up for success by meal prepping in advance to ensure you have these meals or at least healthy snacks readily available during the holiday rush.
  2. Earn your treats: Set aside time for a quick workout that morning or make a point to be active throughout the day even if it’s just walking the dog a little longer or playing with your kids outside.
  3. Avoid grazing: It’s easy to mindlessly consume extra calories when you are surrounded by indulgent food options for any length of time.  Make it a priority to plate everything that you eat in order to gauge total intake and be mindful of where you choose to hang out (the seat in front of the desserts might not be the best option).
  4. Holiday cheers: Yes we know sometimes it takes a little liquid courage to hang with the fam all day but try drinking a full glass of water between every alcoholic beverage to stay hydrated and limit alcohol intake.
  5. Balance your plate: Fill 1/2 of your plate with vegetables (ideally not covered in butter or gravy but hey, if it’s a veggie we’ll take it), 1/4 of your plate with protein, and 1/4 of your plate with carbs aka your favorite holiday side dish.  P.s. mashed potatoes go in the carb category…sad but true.  You don’t have to track everything you eat or count all of your calories but a little bit of conscious effort goes a long way.
  6. Pace yourself: Intentionally take your time eating while enjoying your time with family/friends. Use this as an opportunity to fully digest before deciding on an additional serving.  Eat to the point of satisfaction, not feeling stuffed (there IS a difference).  Remember, there’s always leftovers!
  7. Dessert discipline: Yes of course it’s ok to have dessert…but do you really need more than one? Pick your favorite, stick to one serving, and enjoy every bite.
  8. Adjust your environment: Knowing that there will be PLENTY of guilty pleasures around throughout this season, try to limit the amount of heavily processed treats you are keeping on hand at home.  It’s easier to justify poor food choices in between holiday celebrations and making them easily accessible isn’t even fair.  Instead, try to set a daily fruits and vegetables goal for yourself to offset other choices.  Balance is key! 

We realize that this can be a hectic time of year and it’s very common for our preferred eating and exercise habits to get put on the back burner.  Keep in mind that these tips are options to pick and choose what works for you.  If you decide to indulge here and there IT WILL BE OK.  However, this should not be a time where we completely write off our responsibility to ourselves when it comes to nutrition and fitness.  Try not to allow the frequency of holiday goodies to turn into a full surrender of willpower until January.  This is a slippery slope and one day can quickly turn into one week and then, before we know it, we’re using the holidays as an excuse to overeat for 2 full months.  Prioritize the time with your loved ones and most importantly, be sure to also prioritize your health

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