Man, the older I get, the faster time flies. And I'm only in my 30's. What will happen when I'm 60?! Scary.
Anyway, with Thanksgiving on the brain, I know what many of you are likely thinking right now...
First of all, of course this:
Eventually leading to this:
And finally, the next day, this:
Good food. Social gatherings. Eating, eating and more eating. It's the happiest time of the year, no?
Yes, and ... it's also one of the highest calorie times of the year. Check this out:
Gah! Can you believe the average Thanksgiving day of eating is equal to consuming 8.33 big macs? So gross!!
OK, ok let's move on to the meat (turkey??) of the discussion: the challenge - how do you enjoy all that Thanksgiving has to offer without putting your hard work of staying fit to waste? Or, in this case, to waist... har-dee-har-har.
It's really pretty easy if you spend a little time thinking before you eat. In fact, with a few simple tricks, you can enjoy all the tastes of Thanksgiving without overdoing it.
(1) Mindful choices
Yes, Turkey and gravy and mashed potatoes made with cream & butter, and pie and... well, EVERYTHING is just so delicious. But, why not enjoy them along with some healthy food choices to help keep your overall intake down? After all, if you're filling your stomach and your plate with some lower calorie choices, you're less likely to over indulge in the high calorie stuff.
Here's a plating example from the ADA that doesn't have to apply just to diabetics... notice how much of the plate is covered by low calorie, high fiber vegetables:
(2) Portion control
Yep, I've already talked about portion control in the past, and you can read about that here. But portion control becomes even more important on the days when you're really likely to overdo it with rich foods and desserts.
Check out these interesting comparisons for serving size:
And here's the kicker when it comes to portion control... remember that 4500 calorie average above? Well, with proper portions, and limiting your additional snacking and desserts, your caloric intake can be much more reasonable. Look at this:
*Total of food shown is 715 calories, leaving room
for a modest serving of pie within the 1000 calorie mark.
(3) Keeping Active
Of course, after eating even a reasonable meal like the example above, there is going to be a little work to do. So, time to pay penance.
If you were smart, you may have ran a 5K/10K race the morning of Thanksgiving - if you did, congrats, because you already burned anywhere between 300-700 calories. Good job! With a reasonable plate of food like the above, I would say you're done. Enjoy the holiday and camaraderie, and don't give yourself any grief about enjoying the day.
If you didn't run a Drumstick Dash or Turkey Trot, you should STILL enjoy the day. And maybe the next day, make an effort to burn a few extra calories from the meal. I know this example speaks to french fries versus a Thanksgiving meal, but I like the variety of activities it offers ... and maybe it will spark an idea in you:
And, I guess, that's about it! Try to fill your plate with healthy options, practice portion control, and get in a good workout post-celebration. If you can make those few easy adjustments to your holiday, being thankful will be a whole lot easier. After all, I already know what I'm thankful for: