Like most Americans, I enjoy Thanksgiving. We rejoice in a day where we eat to the point of explosion and not feel guilty about it. For much of my life, I was the guy who went past that point into a two-day food coma—one of the reason why I was 75 pounds heavier than I am now. The average American will consume 3,000-4,500 calories during the Thanksgiving feast. To put that in perspective, that’s about a pound of fat. Over the years, I have developed a few strategies to keep fewer of those Thanksgiving Day calories from sticking:
- Morning Movement: There’s a reason Turkey Trot races are hosted in cities across America the morning of Thanksgiving. The idea is to get your body moving first thing in the morning to rev up your metabolism. Go for a walk or bike ride, do flights of stairs in your house, clean your house on one foot, chase squirrels in your yard. Grab a family member and move your body! If you can, walk or waddle after the feast—this will aid digestion and burn calories. Don’t forget to move on Friday too. Every bit will help to keep the pounds from sticking.
- Mindful Eating: The whole idea of Thanksgiving is to be grateful. If there is one day to savor food and to be grateful/mindful of how food tastes, it’s on Thanksgiving. Turn your phone on airplane mode and enjoy the food, company, and conversation. Take your time and savor each bite—you could even place your fork down between bites.
- Have a Plan: Years ago, I lived in Las Vegas and during that time I became a professional buffet connoisseur. (“Connoisseur” being defined as “becoming a snob about Las Vegas’ best buffets.”) What this taught me was to always have a strategy when facing a large amount of food that all looks enticing. Everyone has their Thanksgiving favorites, whether it’s Grandma’s pecan pie or Uncle Bill’s secret potatoes. Stick to eating the foods you like, and don’t indulge in everything your eyes see. Small snacks can equal big calories. I like desserts more than I do booze. I don’t do both because I would rather enjoy a slice of pumpkin and apple pie. Oh yes, I will have two slices of pie—it’s my plan.
- Eat your Vegetables First: And when I say vegetables, I don’t mean potatoes. Eat your green beans, your carrots, your cabbage, etc., before indulging in your turkey day favorites. This will not only help you to feel more full but will also help your body digest and process the vast amount of food that you’re loading into your stomach.
Remember Thanksgiving is a time to be truly grateful. Take the time to express your gratitude to those who you share the day with. Also keep in mind that there is no such thing as good food or bad food, it’s all just food that breaks down differently in our bodies. So go enjoy your Thanksgiving favorites! Just remember to have a strategy.