The holiday eating season is quickly approaching with Thanksgiving right around the corner!! T-minus 4 days!  For people on a weight loss journey, Turkey Day can easily cause loads of anxiety.  Did you know that you can easily consume between 3,000-4,500 calories just at this one meal?  Is it even possible to stick to weight loss goals during the holiday season or should we just say “Screw it, I’ll start on January 1st”?  Whatever negative thoughts or peer pressure is circling your being, please DO NOT GIVE UP! Remember that the holiday season represents about 2 months of sweets, treats and parties, not just 1 day. While I don’t want you to give up, I also want you to be realistic in your goals. If you can focus on maintaining during the holidays rather than struggling with hard core weight loss, you have already won.

Leading up to the big meal, it is vital to have an attack plan!  Set yourself up for success ahead of time instead of putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation where you give up.

Battle strategy tips:

  1. Go into dinner with the mindset of eating normally until you are satisfied rather than pumping yourself up for an eating extravaganza where you eat until your pants need to be unbuttoned.
  2. If you aren’t hosting, find out ahead of time what’s being served. You’re more likely to make better choices if you can contemplate the menu ahead of time.
  3. Set up some parameters  to work within for the dinner such as have one glass of wine instead of three, have some mashed potatoes but stick to one portion instead of two.
  4. Keep up your workout schedule during the holidays and don’t skip out on Thanksgiving day. Even if you don’t have time because you’re preparing for guests, vigorously cleaning your house is better than nothing.
  5. Don’t starve  yourself the day of so you justify stuffing yourself later.  You’ll probably end up eating more.
  6. Do not go into the meal starving.  Again, you’ll probably eat more than you intended, especially during appetizer time. Have a snack before you go to the event.
  7. Plan to be social with the other guests! Remember you are there to socialize and be grateful for your life, not just to eat food. The more you talk and interact, the less you’ll eat. Fake it ’til you make it if you’re a shy person!

At the table:

  1. Beware of appetizers.  It is easy to consume 1,500 calories before even sitting down. Go for the vegetable crudites and hummus  before the meal.
  2. When composing your main plate, fill 1/2 your plate with vegetables (preferably the simply prepared ones). That leaves 1/4 of the plate left for starch/casseroles, and a 1/4 left for protein and gravy.
  3. Know that the highest calorie dishes are probably the casseroles like sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, stuffing and mashed potatoes.  You can taste them all, but have them fit onto the starch portion of your plate.
  4. Whether you choose white or dark meat, always remove the skin from the turkey to remove extra fat and calories.
  5. Choose pumpkin pie over pecan pie.  It has fewer calories and sugar, and pumpkin contains healthy antioxidants.  Those grocery pie crusts usually aren’t very good, so go for the pumpkin pie filling alone or with a small spoonful of whipped cream.
  6. Enjoy 1 glass of wine instead of multiple glasses.   Each 5 oz pour contains about 120 calories a pop. Have some sparkling water with lemon close by if regular water doesn’t seem festive enough. If other guests are pressuring you to booze it up, add a splash of cranberry or OJ to your sparkling water so they think you’re drinking a cocktail.
  7. Before getting up for seconds, sit it out for a bit to see if you truly are still hungry.  It takes about 20 minutes for you to recognize your fullness. If you really are still hungry, get a small second helping of 1 item, not another plateful of food.

After the meal:

  1. Do not take leftovers home.  I repeat.  Do not take leftovers home.
  2. If you are the host, send the leftovers home with the guests! 🙂
  3. Start a new family tradition and take a walk after dinner.

Remember to enjoy yourself, the company you are with, be grateful, and get your workout in the next day! 🙂

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