Your Strategy for Thanksgiving

thanksgiving_strategy_350It can’t be emphasized enough that if you want to be successful with your health, you have to do two things: plan ahead and prep for success. As Thanksgiving knocks on your door, it’s time to formulate a plan that you feel good about and then set yourself up with preparations and inspirations to be successful.

Here’s how:

Thanksgiving is a One Day Affair, Not a Whole Month
There is a huge difference between waking up and celebrating your Turkey Day with family, friends, a long walk, football on the television, and ending the day with a slice of pie, and a week or month of trying recipes, holiday drinks with friends and a fridge full of leftovers that could feed an army. Your body can handle the first choice and carry about healthfully the next day, but the month long celebrating negatively impacts your energy, weight and health. Treat Thanksgiving as the one-day celebration it is – or better yet, one meal, sandwiched between your regular healthy breakfast and veggie snacking style — and stick to your healthful ways for the rest of the month.

Plan your Plates Ahead of Time
Instead of waking up and tasting the stuffing, picking at the corn bread and nibbling at the candied sweet potatoes all day long . . .

  • Wake up and have your go-to healthy breakfast. Planning to start your day off healthfully will give your digestion a shooting chance at successfully making it through the day in your holiday pants without the bloat.
  • Absolutely consider a little kombucha, kefir or yogurt with your mid morning snack, as the friendly probiotics will help you gracefully digest all day long.
  • For the feast, load up on the healthy stuff: the veggies, turkey and cranberry sauce should take up most of your plate. The indulgent gravy, stuffing and mashed potatoes should be kept to a couple tablespoons each, and savored mindfully (nobody is going to steal your plate away, so don’t rush!).
  • Post feast, plan for a cup of tea to soothe your GI tract and re-establish your satiety. As you check out the sweet treats, plan for enough dessert to feel you’ve celebrated, but not so much that you feel regretful.

Prepare for an Empowered and Successful Day
If you are a guest, and plan to eat with abandon, whatever is served, you are not in control. If you plan to host a perfect replica dinner of Grandma’s recipes from 1950, you are not setting yourself up for success. Being prepared to eat healthfully is 90% of the work. Some preparation tips you might try:

  • Skip the alcohol if it isn’t really your thing. Instead, imbibe with sparkling water with pomegranate, clementine and sliced pear in a wine glass, or sip an unsweetened minty iced tea to get your hydration in
  • Bring crudités and make them available before the meal so you have snack foods you feel good about eating. Vegetables are full of fiber, and may help you to eat less when the big meal rolls around
  • Wear an outfit you feel great in, not one you can hide in. No bulky sweaters and elastic waistbands allowed!
  • Exercise in the morning. If you’ve exercised, eaten your usual healthy breakfast and hydrated well, you’ll be more inclined to keep up your hard work for the rest of the day, or at least not derail too much.

Enjoy your Holiday
If you are worried that the hype of Thanksgiving eating is going to cause irreversible weight damage and you are dreading it weeks in advance, you are (like many of us) missing the point of the day. Once you’ve planned and prepped, relax and focus on the ‘thanks’ part of the day by focusing on your loved ones, being in the moment and making new memories to cherish.