It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is here. This is the dinner-table event that marks the full transition into the holiday season, but it’s also right about the time that weight loss plans, fad diets, and fears of overeating seem to pop up everywhere. How are you supposed to enjoy the holidays without feeling bad about every little bite you eat or every minute that’s not spent negating calories at the gym?
It’s true that fitness and wellness is a lifestyle that in the beginning takes full-time, 365-day efforts, but that doesn’t mean you need to put yourself on lockdown during the holidays. In fact, if you’re worried about your weight fluctuating between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, one study found that most people only gain one pound during the holidays! There are plenty of ways to enjoy your meals and spend quality time with your loved ones without counting calories or skipping out on the foods you love.
Eat a Tasty Breakfast
Thanksgiving is probably the only time of the year that everyone collectively decides that 2 p.m. is an acceptable time for dinner. While it seems rational to skip breakfast and wait for the big dinner spread, your body is likely missing out on its normal routine. Researchers from the weight gain study also noted that the break from routines is what causes people to have difficulty ultimately shedding the extra pound. Eating a small – and delicious – breakfast like scrambled eggs on a slice of toast can stop your stomach from feeling like it might eat itself by the time the turkey hits the table and it can help you get back into your regular routine faster.
Find Veggie Recipes You Love to Make
Instead of guilt-tripping yourself into loading up half a plate with vegetables you don’t even like, think about bringing your own veggie favorites to the party. A bag of salad dumped into a serving bowl might seem like the “right” choice at the buffet line, especially when you’re trying to make positive strides for your health, but what about those roasted brussel sprouts you love? Or that garlicky broccoli recipe you’ve perfected? You’ll be more likely to eat a balanced meal if you know the veggie options are just as delicious as the main entree.
Brave the Cold
Even if you’re not a football-in-the-front-yard type of family, there are still plenty of ways you can get outside on Turkey Day. Whether it’s a morning walk around the block with the dogs while the bird is in the oven or signing your family up for a fun turkey trot 5k, it’ll feel good to get the blood flowing. Just twenty minutes of walking in the fresh air and sunshine have been proven to alter people’s moods for the better, which can be helpful if you need an extra boost during the winter months. Make sure you’re kind to your muscles with a little bit of stretching before and after whatever activity you choose to do. You can keep the exercise light or go all out; it’s your holiday to enjoy.
Get the Party Going
Instead of napping on the couch after the dishes are done, keep the party going by busting out some fun group games. This could mean getting your mind going with a little bit of Scrabble or Pictionary, or you could bump up the room’s energy with an exciting game of charades or Just Dance on the Xbox Connect. Not only do games provide you with a great way to get everyone moving, they can also help you avoid awkward conversation if all of your family members don’t always see eye to eye.
Join a Support Community
Staying focused is always easier with accountability partners or peers in the same situation as you. Whether you join a group fitness challenge or make a holiday fitness pact with your friends, having someone to share tips and struggles with will help you stay focused without sending you into resentment or guilt. So take a picture of that ridiculously full dessert table, post it to your group and ask, “Anyone else dealing with these temptations? How do I not eat them all?!” It will surely start a fun conversation.
Review Your Accomplishments
At the end of the day, the holidays (especially Thanksgiving) are a time to reflect on the past year and consider what you’re grateful for. This could be accomplishments at work, home, or with your physical health. Before you start to worry about how many calories are going to be in your dinner, take some time to remember your accomplishments. Maybe it was something as small as swapping out soda for water sometimes or maybe you ran your first race this year.
Regardless of where you’re at with your fitness journey, just remember it is a journey and there are many other things to appreciate along the way. So, love your family, love your food, and have fun this holiday season.
Looking for a likeminded group to help you start 2020 strong?