Thanksgiving is usually a time of gluttony, but for those who are trying to eat right and stay fit, there are downsides to pigging out and overindulging for the day. Plunkett Fitness in Overland Park, Kansas, doesn’t want you to lose track of your health and fitness goals while you are enjoying the holiday, so we have some tips to help you avoid overeating this Thanksgiving.
1. Eat at a Slow Pace
In general, people eat too fast on Thanksgiving. Cramming your face full of each and everything on your plate in under 10 minutes will prevent your body from recognizing that it is full. Instead, eat slowly. Be sure to set your fork down after a couple of bites, as this will help you eat slower and be a better conversationalist at dinner. Staying engaged in conversation is another way to make sure that you are eating at a slow enough pace to prevent overeating.
Wait about 20 minutes before you get up for seconds or dessert. Giving your body time to decide it’s full is a great way to avoid the feeling you get when you overeat. Plus, you will know that you didn’t completely wreck all the work you did at the gym over the last week.
2. Pick What to Indulge On
You won’t want to avoid all the goodies on the dessert table, so pick a couple of things that you can’t live without. Depriving yourself of all special treats is just going to set you up for failure. You are more likely to binge on things when you don’t allow small indulgences.
Give yourself a little extra leeway, and enjoy the holiday foods that you truly enjoy with reasonable portions. You can also employ the three-bite rule, where you are fully focused on the food you are eating for the first three bites so you are really getting the most enjoyment out of the things you are indulging on for the day.
3. Stay Hydrated
Being dehydrated can actually trick you into thinking you are hungry when you aren’t. Be sure that you are drinking enough water both leading up to the meal and during the meal. Plus, when you are hydrated, the water takes up space in your stomach that would otherwise be occupied by food, and water doesn’t contain any calories.
4. Plan Your Plate
If you just aimlessly put things on your plate, you are more likely to eat too much. Instead, have an idea of the items you want to eat before starting the pile-up. Be mindful of the portion of each item as well. It is better to have larger portions of healthier options, so remember to try to have more fruits and vegetables on your plate than carbohydrates.
When possible, use a smaller plate for your meal. Smaller plates create the optical illusion that you have more on your plate than you really do which can help prevent you from putting way too much food on your plate for one meal. Research done by Cornell University found that using a 10-inch plate instead of a 12-inch plate can help you eat between 20 and 25% fewer calories during the meal.
5. Eat Your Vegetables First
Get the meal started off with vegetables. If you try to fill up on vegetables first, you are less likely to have too much of the stuff that isn’t good for you. Vegetables are full of nutrients and fiber, which makes filling up on them a better option than dessert, pounds of turkey, or stuffing. Leave a little room for your favorite dishes, however.
6. Learn to Say No
There are going to be people who want to force food down your throat at holiday get-togethers. That’s just what family does. Don’t let your grandma talk you into eating two slices of pie with guilt. Eating to please others is a sure way to overindulge at Thanksgiving lunch/dinner.
If you really want a little of whatever is being pushed your way, settle for a small piece or just one or two bites.
7. Avoid Alcohol
While it may be tradition in your family to watch football and drink beer before or after your Thanksgiving meal, alcohol is the fastest way to undo all the hard work you have done in the gym. Alcohol is high in calories, but adds no nutritional value to your body.
Alcohol can also make you more prone to give in to the temptations around you. After a couple of drinks, those cookies you have been avoiding or that second plate of food may be too hard to resist.
8. Stop When You Start to Feel Full
It may feel wrong to leave food on your plate at Thanksgiving, but if you start to feel full, put your fork down and walk away. Not only will you thank yourself during your next workout, but you will feel better for the rest of the day than everyone who ate until they couldn’t eat anymore. Enjoy not feeling comatose during the football game later. Plus, if you stop without overstuffing, you may be able to enjoy a little treat later.
The good news is that no matter how far you stray from your diet and exercise schedule during the holiday season, Plunkett Fitness will always be there to help you get back on track. Get started by joining group personal training classes or get your own Overland Park personal trainer at Plunkett Fitness. Stop by or call Plunkett Fitness today at 913-390-3360 to join group fitness classes or find an individual personal trainer.