Twas the Monday before Thanksgiving and all through the house, I saw food, and treats, and wine, all for me and not for my resident mouse. Yes, that was pretty lame but I did just catch a mouse over the weekend so wanted to work it in somehow. That and I couldn’t think of a different word that rhymes with house. Anyway, it is the Monday before Thanksgiving and that means healthy eating and exercise starts today! I also think it’s time to mentally prepare for the holiday weekend coming up. If you are fortunate, this is a celebration of abundance; abundance for time spent with family, friends, and an abundance of heart warming food. I am very excited to celebrate Thanksgiving this year with relatives I don’t get to see too often but am also planning on ways I can stay healthy in the coming days. Here are six easy things you can do throughout the week to stay on track!
Start eating healthier today so you can indulge a little on Thursday! If you plan on having a big meal (or two) on Thursday, start eating better today so you only have one day where you indulge instead of all week. Focus on making smaller, healthier meals Monday through Wednesday so by the time Thursday arrives you won’t already have exceeded your caloric intake on “regular” days.
Drink Water! Stay hydrated all week and cut back on alcohol if you plan to drink over the holidays. Getting into the habit of drinking water is good every week, not just during holidays. If you stay hydrated you end up eating less! Many times people think they’re hungry but they’re really dehydrated.
Have a Healthy Breakfast! Again, this is a “food rule” I adhere to every day, but it’s especially important on Thanksgiving. It might be tempting to go for pancakes, waffles, or a big omelette on Thanksgiving morning but I recommend you have foods high in fiber and low in calories – think fruits, vegetables, oats, etc. This will get your metabolism started for the day, keep you feeling too full to graze all morning, and leave plenty of room for what’s to come – turkey, stuffing, potatoes, green bean casserole, pie, etc.
Don’t Wear Lose Fitted Clothes! I know this sounds silly but if you show up for Thanksgiving dinner wearing something that has lots of room in the waistline you won’t notice bloating nearly as soon as you would had you worn something a little more fitted. I know of a dietician who used to wear a swimsuit under her clothes on Thanksgiving. I’m not taking it that far but hey, whatever works.
Be Selective! One thing I’ve learned over the years is that if I don’t love something I won’t take it. For example, as a kid I would throw tantrums whenever my mom presented me with potatoes – mashed, baked, au gratin, you name it I refused to eat it. Of course my dad would say things like “how can you be Irish and not like potatoes” but they eventually accepted my distaste for the dinner staple and started feeding me sweet potatoes (guess who was eating healthier!) instead. As an adult, whenever I’m presented with a lot of food options I usually take smaller portions of things I like and bypass things I don’t enjoy so I have more room for the foods I truly love, even if it’s a second piece of pumpkin pie.
Keep tabs on those leftovers! I think the biggest takeaway for this holiday is to avoid having five Thanksgiving dinners. One day of indulgence isn’t going to be terribly problematic for weigh maintenance or loss but if you have Thanksgiving on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, that’s when you might notice a change in your weight. If you’re hosting, send leftovers home with friends or other family. If you have a shelter or church taking donations for the homeless or less fortunate, send leftovers that way. Remember, Thanksgiving is a time for sharing and caring so if you can, share your delicious food.