Thanksgiving is all about food, food, and more food! If the idea of all that food strikes your heart—and waistline—with fear, there is hope. Surviving Thanksgiving on a diet is possible!
First, let’s put holiday weight gain in perspective. The average American only gains about 1 pound between November and January. That’s hardly enough to size you out of your skinny jeans. But if you’re already trying to lose weight, or maintain your hard-earned weight loss, then zero gain is the goal.
To stay true to your waistline (and not the buffet line!) this holiday, check out our top 9 tips for surviving Thanksgiving on a diet:
1. Plan Your Plate in Advance
Failure to plan often results in a plan to fail. Instead of leaving dinner to chance, make a game plan so that you can win. If you’re attending a traditional holiday meal, plan what you’ll eat from what you know is typically served. Aim for a well-balanced plate with lean protein, good carbs, and lots of colorful fresh veggies.
2. Treat Yourself
This big eating holiday only comes around once a year, and if surviving Thanksgiving on a diet is your goal, you may need to give yourself some leeway. When you deprive yourself, you may feel more inclined to overindulge later. Avoid that potential disaster by allowing yourself a little happiness now. A bite of pie won’t kill your diet, and it may be just what you need to stay in check.
3. Focus on the Star of the Table
Unless you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you can usually enjoy the main attraction of a Thanksgiving table: the turkey. On its own, turkey is high in protein and virtually carb free, so it fits into many diets. If fat is a concern, stick with white meat and skip the skin. If you’re on a high-fat diet, go nuts!
4. Keep Butter, Gravy, and Fats in Check
Even though keto is a diet craze right now, not everyone is on it. If you are, you can enjoy butter and other high-fat luxuries. Still, you need to watch out for those hidden ingredients, namely carbs and sugars. Gravy is often made with flour, so it can pack a carb-heavy punch. And if you’re opting for a low-fat approach, you’ll want to stick clear of butter and gravy altogether.
Whether you’re cooking the whole meal or contributing a dish or two, be smart. The benefit of adding to the meal is that you can add something healthy. Choose a dish you already know you love, or find a new recipe that fits your health goals, and show everyone healthier food can be delicious!
Savor Every Morsel
Surviving Thanksgiving on a diet is all about mindfulness and enjoying what you eat. Take small bites. Chew slowly. Think about what you’re tasting. And by all means, listen to your body’s cues—when you’re full, put down the fork and step away from the table.
Stick to Regular Mealtimes
When life offers you a buffet, it’s challenging not to graze. We get it. But for successfully surviving Thanksgiving on a diet, you’ll need to tap in to that willpower. Eat at your regular intervals, whether that’s three larger meals or six smaller choices. Most Americans eat Thanksgiving dinner anywhere from midday to mid-afternoon to evening, so plan accordingly. What you don’t want to do is fast all day until the turkey arrives. When you do, you’re much more likely to overindulge with such a savory feast in front of you.
Be Mindful of Portion Sizes
Do you know how much turkey is in a portion? For planning purposes, buy one pound of turkey per person. But remember that includes the bones, so you won’t end up eating a pound. Stick to smart portion sizes so that you don’t end up eating too much.
The holidays are times when we typically sit around on the couch stuffing food in our mouths for days. Don’t let that be you! Start Thanksgiving with a hike, jog, or trip to the gym. The weather is perfect this time of year, so take advantage! And keep up your normal fitness routine throughout the holiday season.
Surviving Thanksgiving Is Possible; Bodify Can Help
You’ve got this. But if you have challenges, don’t worry; we’ve got you. Bodify is Arizona’s #1 CoolSculpting boutique, and we are here to help if you gain more than that average one pound during the holidays. Contact us to learn more and schedule your complimentary consultation.