It’s that time of year when we find it necessary to gorge ourselves with food and drink so that we can spend time with our loved ones and friends. First thing out of my clients’ mouths in reference to Turkey Day? “I hope I have the will power to eat well.” Guess what. You do. It’s not about having will power; it’s about making a conscious decision to not stuff yourself to the gills just because food is available. To help you make these choices, I am sharing with you my Thanksgiving survival tips, so you don’t wake up the next morning with a guilt hangover.
Tip #1: Stay hydrated.
I know you’ve heard it before, but I’m going to repeat it – dehydration it can make you feel hungry and sluggish, which is the perfect recipe for a carbohydrate binge fest. Drink a glass of water in the morning and every hour thereafter for the rest of the day. You want to aim for at least half your bodyweight in ounces of water, and a glass (8 oz) every hour will get you close to that amount.
Tip #2: Do not skip breakfast…or any other meals for that matter.
Just because you are planning to eat a huge dinner, it does not mean you should skip meals to leave room for your feast. Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up and eat a small meal every 3 hours thereafter. (Meal meaning anything from a snack of an apple and some almonds to a sandwich). It would be great if you could incorporate some veggies and protein at each meal, but I’m not going to be too picky.
Tip #3: Don’t succumb to peer pressure.
This is a hard one for many of you, because you’re surrounded by family and friends insisting that you sample every dish at your Turkey Day gathering, even though you are two bites away from exploding. But just beware, many people try to get other people to eat a lot because they are feeling guilty about gorging themselves. Don’t let their guilt dictate what’s on (or not on) your plate. If grandma is persistent about you eating more, tell her you’re going back for seconds after you let the first round settle. She’ll probably forget within 5 minutes, and you’ll be spared that side splitting second plate.
Tip #4: Eat slowly.
Your stomach takes about 20 minutes to communicate to your brain that it is full. Take time between bites to talk with family or friends, watch a football game, or just sit back and relax. This is a holiday! Slow down and enjoy it and savor that delicious food!
Tip #5: Practice portion control.
I’m not asking you to just eat a salad, but I am asking that you go easy on your portion sizes. My Turkey Day strategy is to put a little sample of everything on my plate, and if somethings are absolutely delicious, I will get second helpings of those delicious dishes. I am usually full by the end of my sampler plate though, which means my strategy has been a success!
Another way to control your portion is to use a smaller salad plate rather than the large entree plate. This will “trick” your mind into thinking you have more food.
Tip #6: Move it.
Try going for a walk post feast. If it’s too cold outside, walk around inside or have standing conversations rather than plopping down on the couch to watch football.
Tip #7: Alternate alcoholic beverages with water.
Not only will alternating alcohol and water keep you hydrated, but you’ll save some calories as well!
I’m not telling you to avoid all the rich, seasonal food that we love to partake in on Thanksgiving, I’m just telling you to go easy and listen to your body. No food is worth that miserable, bloated, indigestion feeling that follows stuffing your face. Think before you eat! Have a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving!
PS If you’re celebrating Hanukkah as well, go easy on the gelt and latkes. Fried food and chocolate should be enjoyed in moderation and Thanksgiving Day is only the 2nd night so tread lightly.