Ah, Thanksgiving. A wonderful time to relax and celebrate the people and
things in our life that we are most thankful for. Leaves are on the ground,
football is on TV, and the impending nap on the couch is calling our name.
If you’re like me, the one thing you look forward to the most on
Thanksgiving is the Thanksgiving meal. Turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes,
cranberries, rolls, and of course the two to three pieces of pumpkin and/or
pecan pie. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I go into every
Thanksgiving meal with the best intentions of not over-eating, and walk
away feeling bloated and way more full than I should simply because my
hedonic hunger (or pleasure eating) got the best of me.
I would suspect most are like this. In fact, the average person gains about
a pound (sometimes more) during a Thanksgiving meal. Let me encourage
you that you are not alone and it doesn’t have to be the way it’s
always been. Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a day that sends you
or your nutrition goals flying off the rails into a deep ravene, crashing
This year can be different with these 5 tips:
1) EXERCISE BEFORE / AFTER YOU EAT:
Exercise lowers levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite in
the short term, while raising levels of peptide YY, a hormone that suppresses
appetite. Doing a walk, run, or high intensity workout an hour or two
before sitting down for your Thanksgiving meal is a great idea. Exercising
after you eat is also a great idea because you’ll have this in the
back of your mind while you’re eating. If you overindulge, you’ll
more than likely pay the price later.
2) EAT BEFORE YOU “EAT”:
Don’t skip breakfast if you’re having a lunch time Thanksgiving
meal and don’t skip lunch if you’re having a dinner time Thanksgiving
meal. This will make you more hungry, and the temptation to over indulge
will be much higher than if you have already satiated your appetite earlier
in the day.
3) PICK SMARTER OPTIONS:
Choose white meat instead of dark. Eat your greens. Choose a roll with
a dab of butter instead of a heaping dose of dressing. Eat a smaller slice
of pie. (because you still need to have some pie!) Being conscientious
of what you’re putting into your body is half the battle. Don’t
just grab it and put it onto your plate. You can do it! Make the smart choices.
4) JUST HAVE ONE PIECE OF PIE (OR DESSERT OF YOUR CHOICE):
On average, one piece of pie equals around 250-300 calories. If you’re
anything like me, it’s not uncommon to have multiple pieces on Thanksgiving.
This can add up quickly. Cut it out! Limit yourself to one dessert and
don’t go back for more. This will pay off and it’s going to
make you feel much better.
5) HYDRATE BEFORE YOU EAT:
Don’t wait to drink H2o until it’s too late! Thirst can easily
be mistaken for hunger. This can make your body feel the need to consume
more calories than it should when in reality, hydration – not eating
– is the answer. Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of
water prior to eating in order to stay hydrated and curb hunger naturally
without any extra calories.
Simple. Practical. Tough to apply when we see all the delicious food laid
out in front of us. Remember, you are in charge of what you put into our
body. You can do it and these 5 tips can help! Give them a try before,
during, or after your big meal. Best wishes to you and yours during this