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It’s Thanksgiving week, which means we are at the official gateway to the holiday season here in America. But before you start salivating at the thought of stuffing yourself like grandma’s turkey, remember that now is the perfect time to start practicing healthy habits to carry you through to January 2012. By developing healthy habits now, you’ll enter the holiday season feeling in control of your body and mind.
Implementing healthy habits doesn’t have to be a chore. Try practicing these easy Thanksgiving hacks that will allow you to enjoy the holiday without packing on the post-turkey pounds.
Problem: Your family of sports fanatics loads up platefuls of food, then lounges in the living room for the big game.
Hack: Squeeze in some pre-meal exercise by inviting your family to horse around in the yard. Get those sports fanatics outside for a game of catch, tag, or touch football. This works especially well if you have a bunch of kiddos running around at the house over Thanksgiving. Getting them out of the kitchen and outside will help them burn off energy, have fun, and it allows the adults to put the finishing touches on the meal in peace and quiet. Trust me, I grew up in a midwestern family with 18 fellow grandkids. This approach makes adults happy. Plus, you’ll get some exercise as you play along.
Problem: You don’t feel like explaining your diet to everyone.
Hack: Heap on the lean meat and vegetables and minimize the starches on your plate. That way, you’ll have a mound on your plate just like everyone else, but you can stick to your healthy food choices.
Problem: So little time. So many pies.
Hack: Don’t take a slice of each of your favorite pies. Just take a bite of each. Back in the day, I used to play a little game with my dessert plate called “around the world” with pie slices. It was the phrase I used to describe my favorite dessert – one slice of every pie! If there were enough pies brought over for Thanksgiving, I would eat close to 3/4 of a pie in total! Not anymore. Although I do love Thanksgiving desserts, I help myself to just a bite of each pie. That equals roughly one slice in total.
Problem: You are tempted to grab a bite every time the cheese plate gets passed around during pre-dinner socializing.
Hack: Spend time with your family while sipping on calorie free sparkling water. You’ll feel full and you’ll have something to keep yourself occupied while talking with your relatives.
Problem: You would feel more thankful after a few stiff drinks.
Hack: Ditch the cocktails and beer and limit your alcohol to wine. Red wine is good for your health, plus it will minimize weight gain that can be caused by overindulging in sugary cocktails and heavy autumn beers.
Problem: Traveling leaves you feeling exhausted, cranky, and craving airport doughnuts.
Hack: Minimize travel stress by preparing in advance and going with the flow. Thanksgiving is a busy travel weekend, so you will probably encounter traffic and crowds. Remember, you can’t change it, so try to relax. Also, plan ahead by packing healthy snacks, books, podcasts, etc. to keep the entire family happy while traveling. By minimizing travel stress, you’ll prevent a cortisol surge, which is released as a stress response as a body. Cortisol signals the body to store fat.
What are your favorite ways to avoid Thanksgiving weight gain?
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