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3 STRATEGIES FOR A SATISFYING (BUT NOT TOO STUFFED) THANKSGIVING

3 STRATEGIES FOR A SATISFYING (BUT NOT TOO STUFFED) THANKSGIVING Lean Strong Fitness & Wellness
Thanksgiving is a time of food, family, food, drinks, relaxation, and of course more food. I’m personally excited to break bread with family… then dip it in gravy and enjoy a second course. And it’s also a stressful time for everyone who is on a fitness journey and looking to “stay on track”. After all, everything to do with this weekend seems to involve food and drink. Here’s 3 strategies to help you maximize the fun and family aspects of Thanksgiving, without feeling guilty or full (pun intended) of regret. Use these independently, or combine them, based on what fits best for your goals:  

1. PLAN AHEAD, AND BUFFER AFTER

Thanksgiving isn’t a surprise. There was no curveball. We know it’s coming and we can plan ahead. One of my favorite strategies is to think of your food intake like a bank account. If you ‘spend’ the exact amount of dollars (calories) in your account, you neither gain or lose weight – you are at maintenance. If you overspend you go into overdraft – in fitness terms this is a fat gaining day. And if you underspend, you have some dollars left over for the future – it’s a “fat loss” from a fitness perspective, since you were in a caloric deficit. Since we know this weekend is typically a time of overspending, we want to bank some delicious calorie dollars for it. As an example, and knowing everyone doesn’t need to, nor should they, track calories, if you underspend for a couple days by only 250 calories a day (which isn’t that noticeable – only a few Oreos), you have some extra calories for the weekend to spend on turkey, gravy, home made pumpkin pie, and anything you like! If you were underspending leading into the weekend, and the weekend was overspending, come next week you come out of the weekend at 0 – a perfect maintenance – and continue next week without missing a step. Conversely, if you weren’t paying close attention leading into the weekend, please don’t feel like you messed up by overindulging on the weekend. You can still intentionally eat a little less each day for a few days after the long weekend to balance out the holiday indulgences, guilt free. ACTION STEP: Consider focusing on satiating, high-fibre, high-protein foods to give you a feeling of being full but keeping some calories in reserve for the weekend. Grilled veggies, salads, and any protein source of your choice are your friend!  

2. WORKOUT EXTRA BEFORE (AND ON) THE WEEKEND

3 STRATEGIES FOR A SATISFYING (BUT NOT TOO STUFFED) THANKSGIVING Lean Strong Fitness & Wellness As you know by now, dear reader, am I strongly opposed to exercise being a punishment for the food we eat. It’s a celebration of what your body can do, and will be able to do in the future. So I want to be clear – this isn’t “punishing” yourself in advance for weekend debauchery. But you can use exercise as a tool. Strength and resistance training gives you an “afterburn” effect known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) in the textbooks. Essentially it gives you a temporary 24-48hr increase in metabolism post-workout. So if you get an extra workout in before the weekend – and even better a workout the morning of a big meal – your body is burning more calories than usual to recover and rebuild from the workout. More calories are going towards building muscle, and therefore less going to building fat stores. This gives you some extra wiggle room for that slice of pie (which is my vice – my Mom makes a MEAN pie and you better believe I’m having 2 pieces) and makes it easier to eat a bit more food without the negative consequences of feeling bloated, extra weight gain, and of course feeling like you need to “get back on track” on Monday. You were always on track because exercise and food are part of the plan! And as a bonus, a couple extra strength training workouts are a great investment in your future self 😉 ACTION STEP: Block off an extra workout this week, and make sure to schedule one the morning of the big meal.  

3. EAT YOUR PROTEIN AND VEGGIES FIRST, AND ONLY HAVE “TREATS” IF THEY ARE A 10/10.

You know how you told your kids to eat their vegetables before they got dessert? This is the same approach. If you focus on protein and veggies first and eat a plate of just that before jumping into the potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and other goodies, it will help fill you up and reduce cravings and hunger for the foods that are easier to overeat (such as potatoes and pie). 3 STRATEGIES FOR A SATISFYING (BUT NOT TOO STUFFED) THANKSGIVING Lean Strong Fitness & Wellness Protein is the most satiating of the macronutrients (it’s why it’s VERY hard to eat too much of it), and veggies fill you up for very few calories, and the fibre helps digestion after a big meal. Then give yourself 10 minutes before the next serving or dessert. You will feel less hungry and are less likely to overeat. To cap it all off, make sure the treats you eat are a 10/10. This is one of my favorite habits of all time. There are always snacks, desserts and treats this time of year. If you make sure to only eat the ones that you think are a 10/10 (i.e. my Mom’s pie), it stops mindless eating and snacking in its tracks. Plus, you get to enjoy more of what you enjoy the most! ACTION STEP: Commit to only eating the treats you truly love, and when it’s time for a meal start with protein and veggies for the first serving. Then, if you do want seconds, enjoy everything else in moderation after a 10 minute break. Check us out to find out more about how we can help you reach your fitness goals – and ask about our habit coaching program which helps keep members accountable for their nutrition and fitness routines.

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