A Healthy Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving is just one day away I first just wanted to say happy Thanksgiving to all my Team New Body members!  It’s really a pleasure to get to work with all of you to reach our fitness goals, and I am thankful that you are all on my team!   I really like Thanksgiving because it’s always a time to reflect on what you’re thankful for and to be with your family.  But often times it also means huge meals and packing on a few pounds.  Lets not have that be us again this year!

It’s hard to get a very accurate number, but from what I’ve read, the average American will consume between 3500-4500 calories and between 200-250 grams of  fat on Thanksgiving day.  Yikes!  That’s a big number!  And I know in the past that was me too.  I distinctly remember a Thanksgiving where my stomach literally hurt because I ate so much at dinner.  I was in physical pain because I couldn’t stop eating!  Now that is really gross.  But it can be hard to stop, right?  You’ve got turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, some corn, lefse, cranberries, etc. etc.  That’s just the main course and you know there is pie or cookies to come after that too.  And that’s just all at dinner!  That doesn’t factor in snacking all day, and lounging around watching football doesn’t do too much to burn those calories off either.  So it’s no wonder that between Thanksgiving and Christmas people can easily put on 15-20 lbs. just in time for a New Year’s resolution that they’re going to break in a month.

But this year can be different!  You can plan ahead and still enjoy Thanksgiving without needing to overdo it on your meals.  You can be prepared and can make small changes, like making sweet potatoes (no marshmallows!) or squash instead of the typical creamy mashed potatoes to help make your meal healthier.  Or you can have whole wheat bread/buns instead of white buns or croissants.  And do you really need dessert?  If you do, try finding a healthy recipe for banana or pumpkin bread that won’t be so high in calories as a pie.  You can make many healthier options and still enjoy your food.

So you can make some healthier options that still taste great.  But you also need to focus on portion control.  Do you really need to heap your whole plate full of food?  And then have seconds and thirds?  Absolutely not.  Eat slowly, enjoy conversation with your family, and stop when you’re full.  I know some people have food pushers in their families, and I am not immune to this, but if you don’t clean your plate right away you can show them that you’re still working on what you took the first time to attempt to keep them at bay.  If you truly are full, then just put the fork down.  Don’t let them force you to eat when you don’t need to.  You can still sit at the table and have fun with your family without eating the entire time.

Not only is it about food, but it’s also about activity!  Go for a walk as a family, take the dog out, play catch in the yard.  There’s no  reason that you can’t get up off the couch and burn some of those calories off!  If you plan an event like a family walk it’s a great way to keep people awake, instead of just passing out for a nap, and can really help you connect as a family.  I know lots of cities also have 5K Turkey Trots or Turkey Treks, so sign yourself up for one of those and start your day off right (I know it might be a bit late to sign up, but some places accept walk-ups)!  You’ll probably be done before most people are awake anyway, so you won’t lose time seeing people.  In any case, the point is to get your body moving!  There’s no excuse for just sitting around, you don’t have to do that.

You can make this Thanksgiving different!  It doesn’t have to be like years past.  Don’t just ignore each other as you gorge yourself on too much food.  Focus on spending quality time with your family and let them know how thankful you are for them, and make this a healthy Thanksgiving!

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