Slim & Trim Starting With Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving should be about spending time with family and loved ones, but instead, it somehow turns into a massive guilt trip over all the unhealthy foods we shoveled into our faces as quickly as humanly possible, and how many turkey sandwiches we plan to eat from the leftovers. The next day, we’re terrified to step on the scale or to try to get into our favorite jeans. When we look at mealtime in this way, we end up with an unhealthy view of food and a not so healthy view of ourselves, either.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s totally possible to use our choices leading up to Thanksgiving Dinner as a launchpad for a healthier lifestyle for the rest of the holiday season and beyond. We really can enjoy a full belly (and a great meal!) without wearing it the next day. Read on for five tips to get on the right track for Thanksgiving and beyond.

1. Don’t skip meals or starve yourself

It’s important to eat throughout the day, starting with breakfast. And, if Thanksgiving Dinner isn’t until later in the day, we’ll also need lunch, and a couple of snacks in between. When we skip meals, not only are we wrecking our metabolism and putting our body into fat storage zone, but we also set oourselves up to eat everything in sight at the big dinner because we’re flat out starving. It’s really hard to make good choices with a grumbling stomach and a dizzy head from lack of food. So, set yourself up for success by eating small meals every three hours leading up to the big event.

2. Joyfully make good food choices

Instead of going into the meal thinking, “Oh, I’m just going to have to eat these celery stalks while everyone else is enjoying a delicious meal,” it’s important to put the focus on how much joy we have in being with those we love. Holiday meals, and Thanksgiving, in particular, are known for having multiple food options. So, instead of piling up our plate sky high with fat-laden casseroles, cheesy potatoes and big blobs of stuffing, we should fill up on the other healthier single vegetable options where the ingredients are easily discernible, and then take a small spoonful of the other dishes for a small taste of everything. Remember that the first three bites of something are the most satisfying. Don’t allow yourself to get to the “I’m about to pop” point. Eat slowly, savoring each and every bite, and truly enjoying the company of those around the table. You’ll be surprised at how much less you’ll eat (and how much better you’ll feel post-meal!). Oh, and if there’s a veggie tray be sure to grab some celery sticks, because the extra fiber really will help your body process out the excess carbs in those small spoonfuls of the not-so-healthy options.

3. Don’t overindulge in libations

Go into the meal expecting that this probably isn’t going to be a day where you’re gonna be losing massive fat stores, but rather, we’re looking to hold steady and not undo what we’ve already worked hard to accomplish. The goal is to be smart in our choices, and not allow ourselves to get carried away. Make a conscious decision to limit yourself to one glass of wine. Not only does alcohol increase our caloric intake and spike our blood sugar, but it also lowers our inhibitions and we can easily find ourselves forgetting the promises we made about making good food choices.

4. Move your mass!

Leading up to the big meal, stay active. Any movement is better than none at all, and we don’t even need a gym to give our body the benefits. If we eat a big meal (and indulge in leftovers) and then just crash on the couch for the rest of the holiday weekend, it’s no wonder that the scale will be screaming at us when Measure Monday rolls around. But, if we keep moving, even just helping out with chores around the house, or the after-dinner dishes, it will help us to burn off some of the excess that we’ve eaten. Take it a step further and invite your family to go for a walk, or bring out your inner kid and gather everyone for a fun game of touch football. Most importantly, continue moving in the days and weeks ahead. If you’re not sure where to start, feel free to check out my Facebook Group for ideas. We’ve cultivated a very laidback, judgment-free zone that’s perfect for any activity level. We compete against ourselves to be better today than we were yesterday.

5. Set realistic goals

Remember that it’s not what we do some of the time that’s important. It’s what we do most of the time that will tell the true story of our lives. The same is true when it comes to managing our weight. We can’t just make good choices one or two days a month and expect to suddenly drop 20 pounds. So, be realistic about what you’re willing to do, and set goals that are attainable. Starting a weight loss program during the holidays can be a challenge for many, but having a “glass half full” perspective and adopting behaviors that will allow us to maintain our current weight is doable for everyone. We should definitely celebrate every ounce and fraction of an inch that we lose (yes, you can lose fat over the holidays!), but also we also need to celebrate the just as important feat of not adding any more disease-causing fat. If your weight is already on an upward trend, then it’s probably a smart move to check out our No-Gain Holidays program to keep you focused on making better choices through the holidays, and to have appropriate supplementation for added support so that a not-so-great choice here and there won’t totally wreck your progress.

One meal isn’t going to be the difference between success and failure, but what we do leading up to that meal can set really the stage. Stay active and eat smart the entire week rather than going hog wild only to put yourself on a starvation diet starting on Black Friday. Believe me when I say, “your body will thank you!”

~Coach Teresa

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Tom Gibson