I don't know about you, but Thanksgiving is actually my favorite holiday of the year. I love this time of year, and I love this traditional family meal & gathering.
But let me tell you what I don't love about this holiday. I don't love thinking about what to wear to dinner because I don't want to be uncomfortable after I eat. I don't love feeling so full after dinner that I'm actually in a little bit of pain. I don't love feeling gassy after I eat this huge meal. And last but not least, I don't love being up 5+ pounds on the scale the next day.
Now thankfully...I don't really encounter these issues anymore. But when I grew up, I experienced all of them. Then, I finally got to a point where I realized that being UNCOMFORTABLE was not really something I looked forward to each year and that there was a way to enjoy this awesome holiday and still feel awesome!
Here are my Top 10 Tips To Enjoy Thanksgiving (without the bloat!):
1. NORMAL DAY OF FOOD: Never starve yourself all day in anticipation of lots of calories at dinner. What you do NOT want to do is go into that meal hungry! Eat your normal breakfast, snack and lunch (and potentially another snack) before dinner. Show up to your Thanksgiving feast ready for dinner, but not STARVING for it.
2. NORMAL EXERCISE: So many people think that if they workout for 3 hours then they can eat anything for Thanksgiving. But .....it doesn't work that way. You can't work off a bad diet and you know you have tried...and failed right? Get in a solid workout Thanksgiving Day. 1 hour is all you need. I recommend a cardio workout to burn a few extra calories. But then be done. Anything more than that will just cause MORE hunger, more stress on the body and a much higher chance of binge eating at the feast.
3. HAVE A PLAN: If you are trying to watch your weight, go into this dinner with a plan. Literally think NOW about what holiday foods you enjoy the most and which things you can easily skip. If there is a particular food item you always OVEReat, maybe tell a friend/partner/spouse to help you NOT go back for seconds this year. Sometimes just telling someone to help you is all you need for that accountability. And while you are at it, tell your partner how many cocktails you are going to have! And commit to it as part of your plan.
4. SKIP THE APPETIZERS: Again, if you are trying to watch your waistline, I recommend you skip the many appetizers that might be out and save those calories for dinner. If I told you how many times I ate ALL the cheese and crackers, all the veggies & dip and all the other appetizers before dinner, and then I was honestly full... but still ate a full meal. And THOSE were the days I always felt uncomfortable. So, skip the apps this year. You won't regret it.
5. WATER to COCKTAIL RATIO: If you really want to feel awesome the day after Thanksgiving, limit your alcohol intake. You already told your partner/family or friend how many cocktails you were going to have right? Now, just commit to one glass of water with every cocktail. This will help hydrate you and fill you up.
6. ONE PLATE RULE: Let's face it, you are full after 1 plate of food. Does that mean you don't want more? Of course you likely do...these are some of the best foods ever! But guess what, you can have leftovers tomorrow. And this is not the last Thanksgiving you are every eating. So, enjoy a little bit of everything you like on ONE plate and then be done.
7. SLOW DOWN & BE PRESENT: A great way to help rule #6 is to slow down and be present. How often do you fill your plate, eat super fast and before you know it the plate is empty and you don't even remember what you ate. SLOW DOWN. Savor each Thanksgiving serving. Be present in every bite. When we can do this, we can actually FEEL what full feels like. When we are speed eating and not present, we don't even check in to see what we feel until it's too late (and then you unbutton that top button of your jeans and wish you wore the skirt with the elastic waistband...been there!)
8. DESERT DESSERTS: Well, not entirely! But do you really need them all? Could you pick one and have a small serving? Or a sliver of 2 desserts? You are not even hungry at this point, so just have the taste and throw the napkin on the rest. Or have a few bites off your partners plate. Sometimes sharing the desserts is the way to go.
9. HOT TEA: Huh??? Yep...if you can have a cup of hot tea after this huge meal, you might just aid digestion along. Even plain hot water can help. It's soothing and might just make you feel better if you did eat a little too much. WARNING: make it herbal so you are not up all night due to caffeine.
10. ENJOY THE COMPANY: Thanksgiving is a holiday that is typically about giving thanks and being thankful for all the blessings we have been given. Take the time to really enjoy the company, the family, the friends and the blessings. When you can focus on that instead of just eating...it changes the dynamics.
So, these are the 10 Tips I personally follow. If you can give these a try and even accomplish half of them...you are likely to feel a whole lot better the Friday after Thanksgiving than if you had not tried.
Wishing you and your loved ones the very best Thanksgiving this year! With a year like this one, I think we can all agree that being grateful for what we DO have is sometimes the only thing we can ROCK right now.