Wow – just wow. I cannot believe I have let this much time pass in between articles. I think the reason I am so surprised is because I really enjoy writing. And truth be told, I think I am pretty good at it. My mom says so, anyway.
I wanted to drop you a quick post with tips on how to handle Thanksgiving, or any holiday for that matter. I could sit here and tell you not to worry about it, and realistically you shouldn’t, but you and I both know that doesn’t always happen. If you’re like me, when someone tells you not to worry about something you truly understand that you shouldn’t worry, but, knowing you should let it go and actually letting it go are two totally different things.
I’ll be the first to agree that guilt and self punishment have no place in your life when it pertains to your fitness and nutrition goals. I hate it. You hate it. But, does that mean it doesn’t happen just because we know its not the right way to think about it? Absolutely not. I think it’s a cop out for fit pros to plainly say, “oh it’s just one day, forget about it”. Sometimes it’s not that easy y’all and that’s okay. As a fit pro and someone who still struggles with feeling guilty about food decisions I make, I feel obligated to explain things a little further, to break down strategies for you that let you know that “feeling a little guilty is probably going to happen, but here are some ways to combat/avoid that”.
So, having said that, if you’re one of the lucky few who can just not worry about something by speaking it into existence; 1. I hate you (not really but close) and 2. You don’t need to finish the rest of the article if you don’t want to. You can just hang out in all of your awesomeness laughing at the rest of us.
I did a 3-part series about the following tips on Instagram but wanted to write a little longer form piece and combine all of them together, so here we are. In all seriousness, though, if you’re not following me on Instagram yet you should be. I’ve been busting my tail to try and bring you the best fitness and nutrition related information in simple easy to digest graphics. The images below will give you an idea of what I mean.
Let’s walk through the 3-part series, the “Fat Loss Cheat Sheet: Thanksgiving Edition”.
Part 1: Calorie Cycling Plan
One way you can avoid unwanted weight gain this Thanksgiving is by cycling your calories. If your current calorie goal is 2000 you would just subtract an amount, say 500, from each of the days that aren’t filled with holiday food. In this example, it is Thursday and Friday.
The cool thing about this is that by cycling your calories you’re able to eat big on Thanksgiving Day. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve been in a steady deficit I sometimes find it hard to go all in and smash calories on a whim. So you may end up not using your allotted calories for the day anyway.
Doing this can all but delete the feeling of guilt you may have had had you not cycled your calories and binged on everything in sight on Thanksgiving Day. Plan your calories before and after a holiday accordingly so you can eat what you want (to a degree, obviously) and not be Scrooge come meal time. Your total calorie intake over 7 days doesn’t have to be an equal amount each day – 14,000 total calories over 7 days is the same no matter how you slice it.
Simple things like this make can be the difference between staying on track with your fat loss goals (or at least maintaining) or putting on the Holiday weight that everyone and their mom wants to get off come January 1st. Stay on track + being able to enjoy yourself as you normally would be a heck of a deal. I’ll trade out calories from other days to be able to enjoy pretty much whatever I want on Thanksgiving every time.
Part 2: Breakfast, Hydration, Moderation
I know it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to fast until Thanksgiving so you can eat everything in sight. Im not talking about cycling calories like in part one Im meaning not eating anything for an entire day or two ahead of time. But, you can still enjoy yourself and not feel near as bad if you treat it like any other day. Here are a few tips that can help you from feeling like a sloth on Friday, we want those stretchy pants to be optional rather than mandatory, okay?
Eat a Protein Packed, Filling Breakfast– My advice to you is to stick to the same morning routine, or even up the cals a bit at breakfast so you get nice and full. Not stuffed, but satisfied. My boy Josiah from True Transformation has a ton of good smoothie recipes, or Power Shakes as he likes to call them, in an eBook — maybe you can talk him into getting it to you. 🤓
Drink a Ton of Water– I know water is all you drink anyway, right — RIGHT? Well dangit, it better be! (Kidding, kinda) Drink plenty of water before the festivities begin and attempt to drink a glass before every course. Your waistline can thank me later. A couple extra trips to the ladies room never hurt anyone anyway.
Follow the First Bite Rule– I was scrolling through Instagram the other day when one of the best follows out there, Marci Nevin, was talking about the “First Bite Rule” when trying to balance holiday parties and events while trying to also live a healthy lifestyle and reach your goals. Basically, the first bite rule means that when you take the first bite of (insert delicious, probably not so healthy dish here) remember how that bite made you feel. As you continue eating, continue to think about that. When the dish no longer satisfies you like the first bite it’s time to walk away. Easy enough, right? So simple, yet brilliant. Bravo, Marci.
Part 3: Don’t Be a Vegetable, Move Your Turkey
Don’t want to feel terrible Thanksgiving Day? Well — maybe, just maybe, moving around and getting active would help with that. Ground breaking, I know. Don’t be a vegetable people, move your turkey!
What am I saying? Im saying movement can (and will) help make you feel better. A 20-30 minute walk after a large meal can be so refreshing after a large meal. Walk/Run/Jog, play some football outside with the fam or (if you absolutely want to) go hit the gym for a short and sweet session to get the blood flowing a bit. By no means am I saying leave your entire family at the house and go to the gym, simply just saying if your family dynamic allows for that (mine does not lol) and it’s something you want to do — do it! Put the nap off for a bit and move around a bit!
What am I NOT saying? I am NOT saying you need to go to the gym and have SweatFest1000. I’m NOT saying you should attempt to “burn off” what you ate. And I am most definitely NOT trying to make you feel guilty about enjoying yourself on Thanksgiving. This is a judgement free zone, y’all. Duh.
A little movement goes a long way. The glorious afternoon Thanksgiving Day nap can still happen — just move around a little before it does. There’s just something refreshing about physical activity, especially after pigging out on yummy holiday foods.
That just about wraps it up. If you can chalk it up to being just “one day” and not feeling guilty about it, fantastic. However, I know (from personal experience) from the bottom of my heart that these strategies will work if you put in the tiny bit of effort to use them.
From my family of 3 and a half to yours, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.