Did you know that it’s common for people to consume close to 5,000 calories around the Thanksgiving table? That’s double the recommended amount for an average person per day. Yikes. And this overeating isn’t reserved just for Thursday’s meal. This week tends to kick off a full season of less moving, more eating. Although it’s fine to indulge, don’t give up on the health goals and habits you’ve put into place this year. We have another whole month of casseroles, pies, traveling, and increasingly cold weather. The more mindful you are this week the better you will fare this holiday season…and into next year.
Here are some tips for a healthier Thanksgiving:
1. Keep a routine. If you work out everyday, work out everyday. If you go to bed around 10pm, keep doing that. It doesn’t have to be as regimented or extreme, but by keeping up with your normal daily patterns you won’t have to “start over.” We tend to put pressure on the future to make up for what we do now. Do things this week that help support, not stress, the future version of yourself.
2. Don’t save your appetite. We prepare to overindulge in that one meal by skipping the others. When we do this, we may eat fewer meals but consume more food. That’s because restricting leads to overeating. The other meals can be smaller, but just remember to eat. You want to sit down at the table hungry not starving.
3. Make the splurge worth it. Instead of overeating on chips and salsa or cookies, save your indulgences for the foods that are special and you don’t have very often. Forgo the usual snacks or the boring dinner roll for the foods that you love. This way you get to enjoy the goodies you want because you’ve planned for them. The indulgences are still under your control.
4. Pick booze or sugar. If you are going to have dessert, don’t have another glass of wine. Be conscious of the amount of sugar you're consuming because it can be sneaky on days like Thanksgiving. Think in terms of a singular sweet indulgence. If you decide you definitely want both, switch to a less sugary cocktail.
5. Move. Instead of stretching out on the couch after the big meal, go for a walk around the block. Get your relatives to go with you. Take the dogs. Make it a thing. Moving around for even just 30 minutes will fight the urge to slip into that infamous food coma.