The big Thanksgiving holiday is just around the corner. Many Americans celebrate during this holiday with big roasted turkeys and sumptuous bowls of sweet potatoes, but only a few actually know how it came to be such a big part of American culture. Click here to read an article about the religious and cultural origin of Thanksgiving Day. Aside from being one of the busiest travel times of the year, Thanksgiving (along with the other big yearend holidays) will test your resolve to maintain your weight and keep the extra pounds away. Lavish dinners and parties are hard to resist especially when you have family or friends visiting whom you have not seen in a while. It is useless to fight that urge to have your portion of the roasted turkey when everybody else is having theirs. There is a general feeling of celebration and excitement that makes good food so irresistible, even food choices that you know will not help with your weight goals. If you are curious as to how turkey came to be the main part the Thanksgiving menu, here is a good write-up for you.
You don’t have to dread Thanksgiving or become the sorry non-participant when the feasting begins. If you make some preparations ahead of time, you will still be able to enjoy the holiday and allow yourself a little bit of indulgence without feeling guilty or bloated. Little choices and steps that you start now will help to maintain your weight even through the coming holiday parties. Check out some of these tips:
- Ramp up your exercise. Increase your fitness routine in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. The goal is to create a calorie shortage that will offset any additional calories you will inevitably consume over the holiday. Add an extra day to your workout schedule during the week. If you run or jog, adding a few miles gradually will burn more calories and prepare your body. On average, people gain 1-2 pounds over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Make it your goal to lose a few pounds before the big holiday so any added weight then will not set you back on your goals.
- Don’t stop moving. If you are going out of town or staying with family or friends during the holiday, make arrangements to still be able to get some exercise. Even a jog or a walk around the neighborhood early in the morning would help your body burn the calories. National fitness center chains allow you to use your membership at any of their locations, and there might be one close to where you are going for Thanksgiving.
- Breakfast helps. A healthy, satisfying breakfast will keep you energized throughout the day, but will also help you take more control over your appetite and eat less. A good breakfast would include servings of fruit, whole wheat bread or whole grain cereal, and other high-fiber food for good digestion. Don’t starve yourself in the morning in preparation for the big feast later in th day. Chances are, you will end up eating way more and having an overactive appetite that will induce more eating.
- Eat a little bit before the big dinner. An hour or so before you head to the Thanksgiving get-together, fix yourself a bowl of cereal or oatmeal, a cup of fruits, or a couple slices of whole wheat bread. This will curb your appetite and allow you to gain more control over your cravings. Also, this will jumpstart the digestion and get your system more ready to burn what you are about to eat. A glass of your favorite smoothie with dairy free protein powder, as shown here, will also fill you up, give you energy, and reduce your appetite.
- Eat wisely. Before filling up your plate, look at the choices and pick out your favorite food items that you wouldn’t normally eat a lot of during the year. Why stuff yourself with food that you usually eat anyway? If you are going to indulge this time of year, just pick out the special items and don’t waste your calorie intake on foods you consume regularly.