Thanksgiving has become the holiday diet downfall for most Americans. A day meant to be spent with family and friends, reflecting on everything we can be thankful for, has become a day where eating takes center stage. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the holiday foods that you typically don’t eat, there is a problem with mindless, uncontrollable eating just for the sake of eating because “that’s what Thanksgiving is all about.” If you take some time before Thanksgiving to focus on what the day is really all about, food should fade as the main focus and become instead what it was always meant to be—a way to enjoy fellowship and community with those around you. One thing that will be thanking you will be your waistline.
Local Gold’s Gym trainer Matt Dubbe realizes the toll that a lack of self-control and misguided priorities at the dinner table can take on both your diet and fitness routine as well. Promising yourself that you will get to the gym the morning after Thanksgiving may seem like a reasonable excuse to overdo it at the dining room table, but Matt advises that you should skip that strategy and take on a more reasonable approach. Matt insightfully states, “Thanksgiving comes once each year, so you should absolutely treat yourself to the seasonal dishes you’ve been craving since last November, but keep the damage to a minimum with smaller portions. By sticking with this simple rule, you won’t have as much ‘stuffing’ to burn off at the gym afterwards.”
The following are Matt’s tips for making it through Thanksgiving without completely sabotaging your diet. Following these strategies will help you avoid the carb coma that so often accompanies Thanksgiving, keep your energy levels high, and help you stay motivated to work out the next day.
- Plan ahead. Don't let yourself get hungry before the Thanksgiving meal. Eat a small snack about an hour before and you'll be less likely to binge eat.
- Set some ground rules. Decide before you even approach the table what your limits are. For example: one dinner plate or two small salad plates of food and one piece of pie.
- Fill up on fluids. Try having a tall glass of water, Crystal Light or unsweetened tea right before your meal.
- Don’t forget about the healthy food. Go for the salad, fruits and vegetables first; they will fill you up without adding extra calories.
- Avoid the white rolls. Stay away from white starches, as they increase cravings. Substitute these with whole grains.
- Limit your carbs. Be sure to eat plenty of lean proteins, such as white turkey meat or beans, which will make you less hungry and give you more energy.
- Be aware. Don’t eat mindlessly. Instead, put the food away after the meal to keep yourself from grazing on food when you are not even hungry.
- Be active. Make sure you stay active over the holidays. If the weather is still nice enough to be outside, try playing sports with the entire family instead of vegging on the couch watching football. Plan a scavenger hunt, participate in the turkey trot or put your tennis shoes on and participate in some speed shopping at the mall.
Holiday eating will only sabotage your diet or increase your waistline if you let it. Start out the season right by eating well and staying active. Visit GoldsGym.com to find out more about their special “Trim the Fat Friday” event the day after Thanksgiving. To find out more about scheduling a training appointment of your own with Matt Dubbe, call Gold’s Gym at 214-306-9000.