I hope you are doing well and have something fun planned for Thanksgiving. I am doing something non-traditional this year and going out for sushi and then to some bars after that. I usually celebrate with all of my neighbors, but I wanted to do something different this year and didn't really feel like cooking and having a bunch of leftovers around, so I'm really looking forward to it.
It is very well known that a lot of people tend to overeat on Thanksgiving, but did you know that the average person consumes 4500 calories just on Thanksgiving (3000 calories for the meal and the other 1500 from snacking and nibbling)? There are 3500 calories in a pound of body fat, so that means that you actually can gain weight just from one day. I doubt that anyone gains any more weight than one pound though, although the scale may say otherwise. Anything over one pound is likely water weight. So, what can you do to avoid gaining weight?
Many people will try to “save” their calories, and not eat beforehand, thinking that then they can eat more later. This is a bad idea because, when you skip meals, you are more likely to eat more later. It is very likely that you will be starving by the time you get wherever you are going, causing you to eat more than you normally would. It is best to consume a healthy breakfast that includes some protein and healthy fat. This will help balance your blood sugars. When your blood sugar gets low, it can lead to cravings, so, by consuming breakfast, you are more likely to eat less.
Limit what you snack on before the meal. Many people often eat so much of the appetizers that they are already full by the time that the actual meal is served. This is so easy to do, especially if there are a lot of good appetizers. Try giving yourself a limit of how much you can try, and then move away from the food. Also, consider bringing a healthy appetizer that wouldn’t be that bad to snack on, such as a veggie plate.
Do a good workout beforehand. It will burn some of the calories that you will be eating later, and, depending on what kind of workout you do, there will be an afterburn. (More intense workouts will increase your heartrate more, and you will burn more calories post workout.) Also, there have been studies that show that exercise actually decreases your hunger for a short period. So, make it a point of doing some type of workout prior to going to Thanksgiving.
Choose what you put on your plate wisely. There are always so many options, but if you fill up on the stuff that is better for you first, you are likely to eat less of the stuff that isn’t as good for you. Obviously I’m not saying to deprive yourself, but just to make smarter choices. Vegetables and meat are always better choices. Try not to fill your plate up with all starchy items, so take smaller portions of mashed potatoes, stuffing, and rolls and larger portions of turkey and any vegetables that are served. Although the green bean casserole is made with green beans, it is not necessarily that good for you with the creamy soup and fried onions. And, of course, if there is something that you don’t like, don’t put it on your plate just because it’s there. Also, try limiting your desserts. It may be tempting to try all of them, but limit yourself to trying one, or, if you really want to try more, try smaller portions of each.
Calories don’t mean everything. Although there are 3500 calories in a pound, all calories aren’t equal. What you eat is more important. The ingredients in what you eat matter more because, if you eat food with a lot of chemicals or ingredients that are toxic to you body, it is going to lead to inflammation, and if will be much more difficult for your body to break down than something that is made with whole, clean ingredients. For example, instead of eating the canned cranberry sauce, try making cranberry sauce with whole cranberries. Or, look for recipes that contain cleaner ingredients.
If you try to follow my suggestions, but you fail and end up eating way more than you wanted to, don’t worry about it. It is just one day, and you should enjoy yourself! You probably only get to enjoy a lot of those foods one time a year. Of course there will be leftovers, but just try to make smart choices with those too. Just try to eat better once your leftovers are gone.
And, if you want to bring your body back to where it was before Thanksgiving and avoid holiday weight gain, maybe try doing a cleanse, such as my Eat Clean, Get Lean Fall Cleanse, which is a gentle cleanse based on whole foods.