The epitome of everything you have worked hard to resist is days away. Thanksgiving feast. How can you get through it? Whether you are preparing or attending the stress of both situations is enough to set cortisol levels through the roof (translation you are more likely to hold onto weight because of stress). Is there anything you can do so you don't leave feeling ashamed and defeated? Here are 5 tips to get you through.
1. Plan what you are going to eat beforehand.
Have an attack plan. Know your goals, know your body and formulate something that will fit both. You don't want to be anxious over food, it really is no way to enjoy family and friends, and once tempting foods are placed before you it can be hard to resist. Know what you want before you arrive. Go for more turkey, more natural vegetables (aka not smothered in brown sugar) even plan to portion those dishes you absolutely LOVE so you aren't denying yourself, it is a feast after all but no one said you couldn't taste a little of this or that. Just be sure to know yourself and your boundaries. If just a little taste might throw you off the wagon then take a different approach. You know yourself best, your weaknesses and strengths, put that to work for you in a way that will leave you feeling empowered and successful. Just remember you can't go wrong with food in it's most natural state!
2. Eat as much of the raw vegetable platter as you can.
Raw vegetables are high in fiber. That fiber will make you feel full faster and easier to skip dessert.
3. If you are trying to resist dessert then avoid root vegetables during dinner.
Carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, potatoes. These root vegetables may be part of your standard Thanksgiving meal but they contain more sugar than other vegetables causing your body to crave sugar. If you are trying to resist the pies post feast then steer clear of these root vegetables. If your choices are slim, then go the route of managing portion size.
4. Don't feel like you have to finish everything.
Yes, Aunt Betty may think you are all bones and your mother may have ingrained it into you that if you did not finish everything on your plate then you are the most selfish, ungrateful human being alive because children are starving in China, Africa, etc. You are not a terrible person. Thanksgiving is synonymous with gluttony. It is a day where people across the nation purposely provide an exorbitant amount of food for one single meal as if they were hosting the entire Pilgrim and Indian village. That is the tradition. With that said plan to take reasonable portions. It is easier to ask for more than to take away (not to mention you will save your mother from having to go through Dear Abby for therapy, she did raise you to have better manners than to waste).
5. If all else fails swing your kettlebell.
Ok, it can be REAL easy to just say you are going to do it up a la Garfield the cat then go home and bust out some kettlebell swings and be okay. That isn't quite the idea here. Use the kettlebell as part of your attack plan. Kettlebell swings will boost your metabolism and get your body ready to take on some extra QUALITY calories when done before dinner. You can also bring your kettlebell with you and perform a couple more sets of swings between dinner and dessert. Then finish the day with some more sets of swings. Surely someone in your family will ask you what you are doing and what a great way to talk to them about this fantastic exercise you have been doing!
In the end Thanksgiving should be a day to rest and enjoy, so make the most of it!
Kerry M. Davis LMT, CIMT, SFG