Thanksgiving kicks off the season of indulgence – not a great time for setting new weight-loss goals. On Thanksgiving, the average American will take in a few thousand more calories than they would during an ordinary day. The Calorie Control Council estimates that on turkey day we consume, on average, more than 4,500 calories, and more than 2,000 of those come from fat.
Given this reality, the best one can hope for this time of year is to maintain current weight and body composition. It’s what we refer to here at Koko as the “Holiday Hold ‘em”. With a little effort, willpower and commitment to your fitness routine, you can enjoy the holidays and avoid the unwanted gift of extra pounds.
Here are 6 tips for staying ahead of the bulge:
- Have a healthy, high protein breakfast on Thanksgiving morning, so you’re not famished when the turkey arrives.
- Get your metabolism moving with a morning workout. If you’re up for a challenge, many communities offer Turkey Trot races.
- Avoid mindless holiday grazing on sweets, chips and other tempting snacks. Opt for healthier snacks like nuts and crudités every 3-4 hours and you’ll avoid an afternoon blood-sugar dip just before your meal.
- Drink water and skip the extra “empty” calories of fruit juice, alcohol and cider. Sparkling water can feel festive, but plain ol’ agua throughout the day will also do the job.
- Go for a walk before or after your Thanksgiving meal, to burn off some calories right away. This could be the start of a holiday tradition with friends and family.
- Build your plate carefully. Focus on protein (turkey) and vegetables, and limit sweet or starchy side dishes like stuffing, cranberry sauce and anything “creamed.” As a general rule, if there are marshmallows in it, avoid!
If you’re the kind of person who works out consistently all year, then an extra piece of apple or pumpkin pie should not be a setback. If you’re worried, simply bump up the intensity of your workouts from now through the holidays.
- Michael Wood, CSCS, Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub