Surviving Thanksgiving: 12 Tips for Staying Healthy this Holiday Season
It's that time of year. It's the time when we are constantly surrounded, bombarded and downright overwhelmed with unhealthy food options. Whether you're at work, at home, watching TV (those ads), or in the grocery store and at the holiday gatherings - it's in your face. How in the heck is the health conscious person supposed to deal? If you're trying your best to make wise choices during your health journey, this can almost seem impossible.
I hear ya, loud and clear. Hi, my name is Teri. I used to be 5'6 and 209 lbs. I would live for food. I put myself through 10-mile runs and intense triathlon training, and I used that training to justify eating whatever I wanted, because I thought I could. I had issues. I still do from time to time. I love food, but I had to change my mentality from "live to eat" to "eat to live." My mindset had to shift to view food as fuel, in order to get me the best results from living a healthy life and to get the most out of my athletic training.
Lucky for me, someone showed me the way. One of my personal trainers, David Ryan, taught me the practice of creating balanced meals and the concept of macros. Macros are macronutrients. You can see macros listed on a food label as fat, carbohydrates, and protein.
Once I learned that nutrition was more than just calories in vs. out things drastically changed for me physically. I'm happy to say that I switched mental gears in the way I think of training and the way I view food.
Currently, I train for bodybuilding competitions in the Women's Physique division, and I dabble in power-lifting competitions. I have been so motivated by my results that I became a personal trainer.
With that being said, here are some tips I have gathered from articles, friends, family, message boards and personal experience.
1.) Remember it's not about the food. It's about the people.
If the main reason you are looking forward to a holiday get-together is the food, you should consider changing your thinking. We do put food on a pedestal in society. People post about their huge cheat meals. People post about their healthy food as well. It's part of our popular culture. We even express love through food. But the real reason we get together on the holidays with the people we care about is to visit and catch up.
2.) Get a workout in before mealtime. Then, go for a walk after dinner.
Seriously, get some physical activity in vs. none. For example, there are tons of run/walks on holidays. Participating in an activity that gets your heart rate up will help prime your metabolism throughout the day. I'm a big fan of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) to help deplete the glycogen stores in your body. (Glycogen would be the carbohydrate storage in your muscles.)
3.) Fill up on protein before the gathering.
Protein will sustain you longer. Add Miracle Noodle to your meal, and the fiber will help you feel satisfied.
4.) Be aware of how food digests.
Did you know that protein is the bus other macros jump on to process correctly? It's true! If your plate becomes loaded with fat and carbs, your body will not shuttle around the nutrients as well. Repeatedly doing this can lead to weight gain. If you're going to consume a fat (like nuts or avocado), pair it with protein source such as chicken, turkey, etc. If you're going to eat a carb (like a potato or roll), pair it with protein. The other option is to have all three macros proportioned well or according to your nutritional needs.
*Keep in mind that fruits and veggies are considered carbs. Some produce more of a glycemic spike than others.
5.) Drink plenty of water.
When we are dehydrated, it can signal to our brain that we are hungry when we are not. I recommend 120 ounces of water a day for anyone. More if they are physically active.
6.) Use a smaller plate.
This will force you to take smaller portions. Also, you may not take as many trips back for more servings. It's a reminder of what you are trying to accomplish.
7.) When you finish eating, throw a napkin on top of your plate.
You can also place your silverware on top of the plate in an "X", signifying you are done.
8.) Bring a healthy meal option that you enjoy for yourself and to share.
This arms you with something you can eat without feeling guilty or self-conscious. Plus, people will appreciate the food you bring. There have been many times I was thanked for bringing a wholesome side.
9.) Between bites, set down your silverware till each bit of food has been eaten.
This will slow down your pace rather than mindless eating. It can take 20 minutes for your body to signal that it's full.
10.) Break up your meals.
If you have multiple gatherings to go to in one day (for example, this Thanksgiving I have three places to be), view each location as a course for one meal. So, when I go to my Mother's, I can view that as the appetizer. When I go to my in-laws, I can have a main course. When I get to my friend's gathering, I can have dessert.
11.) When you can't taste the food, you're done.
Yup. That's a pretty cut and dry tip. If you can't taste the flavors of your food, you need to stop.
12.) Print out the coloring page here and stick it on your fridge.
I have one on mine! Right click on the image and choose "save as" when prompted. You can also make your own! You can find tons of online resources for coloring pages. Get creative and de-stress with this fun activity that delivers a positive message.Try the following sites:
MOST IMPORTANT TIP!
Remember, you are human. If you get off track, get right back on the next day. Have a happy and safe holiday season!
What are your helpful tips? Comment below! I would love to hear them!
Teri Tenseth Market
Miracle Noodle Ambassador
Certified Personal Trainer
Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @fcpchick