With Thanksgiving just around there corner, you can almost smell all the food and baked goods already. With stuffing, pumpkin pie, turkey, cranberry sauce and so much more, how can anyone say no to all that good eating? If you worry about your waistline you will think twice and want to pay attention to this article.
My philosophy with anyone who isn't in contest prep or dieting for some type of event is simply "everything in moderation." With that being said, that doesn't mean on a given day you can simply open your mouth and fill it with whatever you want until your gut is ready to explode. The tips and advice below will help you "cheat" a little but also help you maintain your physique.
Never Go To A Gathering On An Empty Stomach
When you are hungry you will pretty much eat anything that is in front of you. It's similar to the concept of not grocery shopping while you are hungry. When you go to a gathering on an empty stomach, you tend to pick at more food and over indulge in all the platters laid out on the table in front of you. Before you leave, eat something that contains protein and/or fiber. This will stunt your appetite and have you feeling full for longer than if you ate something with carbohydrates before going.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Water is definitely your friend at all times, not just during the holidays. If you feel hungry while at a gathering and there are no healthy choices, you can obtain the "full" feeling by simply drinking water. Besides curbing your appetite, it will also keep you hydrated.
Don't Deprive, But Don't Indulge
Like I said earlier, everything in moderation. If you want a piece of pumpkin pie or a scoop of stuffing with your turkey, by all means eat it. The trick is to only take a small portion of it just to curb your craving for the food. Eating things that aren't necessarily on your list of "good healthy choices" won't hurt you if you don't make it a habit of continually eating that particular food. So with that being said, you can have your cake (or pie in this case) and eat it too-but don't over do it.
Chew And Enjoy Your Food
When sitting down for a meal, make sure you chew and enjoy what you are eating. If you rush through it not only do you miss out on the flavors, but it will take your body longer to digest the food you ate if it is not broken down properly. Enjoying your food should be a satisfying experience and you miss out on it if you inhale your food quickly. Doing so will also lead to another point I will bring up in the next section - not allowing your brain to tell you that you are full.
Socialize Prior To Heading For Seconds
After eating what you had on your plate, socialize with the people at the gathering. What this does is allows time for your brain to tell your body that you are truly full. I'm sure many of you have experienced a time or two when you ate your first helping, went up for a second, ate that and afterward you literally felt like you were going to either bust at the seams or vomit. Buying time for your brain and stomach to get on the same page is crucial to preventing overeating.
The best way to not pack on some extra pounds during the holiday is to not only make sure you continually work out, but to work out the day of the gathering. You will burn off many of the calories you will be eating so in the end you don't wind up with a caloric surplus at the end of the day which could result in fat storage in the body.
Snack On Healthy Choices
Many gatherings will find some healthy choices to snack on before and after the main meal is on the table. Raw vegetables are something found at many gatherings which is passed by many being that there are "junk" snacks available which will fix their sweet tooth or craving. But that doesn't have to be you. Have your fill of raw vegetables which are low in calories and healthy for you rather than a plate full of the junk you don't need. Otherwise you will be regretting it later that night when you realize all the stuff you shouldn't have ate.
Skip The Alcohol Or Limit Intake
Let's face it, there are those that drink and those that don't. If you don't, you can skip right over this and go right onto the next section. If you like to drink, you have a few options. If you are at a gathering where you have pretty much an endless supply of alcohol you can either limit your intake to a few spread out over the gathering or simply skip it all together. Alcohol is full of empty calories, calories that you don't need if you are planning on eating some food at the gathering that you normally wouldn't ingest if you weren't there.
Don't Cave Into Peer Pressure
You will always have people at gatherings that want to brag about how good something is regardless if it will give you a heart attack from its nutritional content. Don't give into the peer pressure and try everything that people say is amazing. If you do, you will find yourself indulging in everything that is there and piling up the calories before you even realize what you have done. If you want to splurge on a couple things, that's fine. However, you need to pick and choose your battles.
Protein Is Your Friend
Protein is truly your friend at gatherings. Not only will it help build and maintain lean muscle mass, but it will also help you feel full. When the big turkey is placed on the table your eyes should light up and your mouth start to water. Get a nice size serving of turkey and add little sides as you see fit, but make sure the bulk of your calories during the meal are coming from that delicious protein source. Gobble gobble!
So there you have 10 tips to help you stay leaner during the Thanksgiving holiday season. How will you do?