Healthy Holiday: Staying Sane This Thanksgiving
No one has ever considered Thanksgiving a healthy holiday; true to form, then, it ranks as America's second favorite, according to a study by Harris Interactive. Although we're all about being thankful and spending time with our friends and family, we know the real reason everyone gets so amped up for this holiday: the food. But you don't need to let the delicious food destroy your fitness goals, and we're here to tell you how.
Many of us view Thanksgiving as a day to feast on life's many treasures. Through the courses of the day, your plate takes you on a journey through a magnificent mountain of turkey, two or three different styles of stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, creamed corn, corn bread, corn on the cob, green bean casserole, biscuits, Brussels sprouts, and cranberry sauce. And of course, we can't forget the desserts: pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie, Life of Pi, Ï€, pie, pie. Then, after all said is done, you sleep. And when you wake up, it's time for seconds.
For many of us, this self-induced food coma is something we look forward to all year: our one cheat day to rule them all. However, we think Thanksgiving can be just as healthy as any other day. (Mostly.) At 6 Pack, our lives revolve around fitness, and while we encourage you to enjoy your Thanksgiving, we'd be remiss not to offer some tips for having a healthy holiday this year.
1. Stay hydrated.
Water is your best friend. Not only is it completely essential to live, it also helps you lose weight by aiding your liver in metabolizing body fat. Loading up on water will suppress your appetite and make you feel fuller than you actually are, so you can try a little bit of everything, but only in moderation!
2. Eat breakfast.
We all know the dangers of grocery shopping and cooking on an empty stomach. Don't get fooled into thinking that fasting before Thanksgiving will leave you with more room in your stomach, especially if you're cooking. You know that if you're hungry while cooking the feast, you could be more prone to test out your delicious creations. You should eat a healthy breakfast every morning, but it's even more important on Thanksgiving, as it will keep you full and stop you from sampling your own wares.
3. Walk it out.
You're done eating. Your stomach is full and your heart has never been happier. The only thing left to do is sit on the couch and watch some football while slowly drifting into a much needed nap. As wonderful as the couch may sound after eating, avoid it at all costs! Help clear the table, wash some dishes, and go for a walk. Setting up a post-meal walk is extremely important. A brief 15- to 20-minute walk after a meal will improve digestion and blood sugar control by causing glucose to leave the bloodstream and travel to your muscles. This is also a great time to catch up with long lost family members or bond with your grandma's dog. And yes, we did suggest that you wash some dishes. Don't be that guy and do a good deed.
4. Patience is a virtue.
As delicious and filling as everything was the first time around, seconds are calling your name. We encourage you to wait. Sit back for about 20 minutes before thinking about seconds. Why? Your stomach and brain need time to communicate, and it takes around 20 minutes to convey the feeling of fullness. You might think you need to fill up your plate for round 2 before your brother takes the last buttered roll, but just wait. We guarantee you're not as hungry as you think.
5. Start new traditions.
We all know that Thanksgiving is built upon traditions. You won't be feasting on spaghetti and meatballs, and you won't see all the men gathered around the TV to watch an intense game of cricket. Every family is different and certain traditions will never die. This year, turn Thanksgiving into a healthy holiday by starting some new traditions. Here are some of our ideas:
- Plan an evening workout for after dinner or a morning workout for the next day.
- Participate in a Turkey Trot and get the whole family involved.
- Offer to cook so you can â€œhealth up" some traditional favorites.
- Go Black Friday shopping. (Walking, running, or fighting over cheap blenders are all forms of exercise.)
- Fill up on healthy foods first and you won't even have room for the pie.
- Get enough sleep. The importance of sleep can never be understated.
- Keep sauces to a minimum, or avoid them entirely.
- Use a smaller plate to ensure smaller portions.
If you want to taste a little bit of everything this Thanksgiving, the key to good health is moderation. If you follow these tips, it is more than possible for your Thanksgiving to be a healthy holiday. Turkey without the skin is a great way to load up on protein, so use your gym backpack or gym tote to store and enjoy leftovers all weekend long. For even more ideas on how to have a healthy Thanksgiving, check out last year's guide to staying healthy over the holidays, and get inspired with a meal management system!