Thanksgiving Binge Tips
All of the doctors and staff at Integrative Medical Center would like to wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving Holiday! You most likely won’t eat perfectly, and that’s okay. Don’t worry about it! Enjoy the day. How you eat on Thanksgiving Day does not determine your health; how you eat and exercise the other 364 days of the years does. Here are some tips for making this special day healthier, plus a few post-binge tips (just in case you need them.)
Start a healthy Thanksgiving with quick morning walk and the
n a breakfast like hot whole-grain cereal and an egg-white omelet brimming with veggies. That’s because saving up calories for the big meal rarely works. You end up “spending” a lot more by overindulging on belly busters like a full ladle of gravy (approx. 400 calories!) instead of a tablespoon-size taste (approx. 50 calories).
Call your host and say, “I’d love to bring something. What are you planning on serving?” If you discover that one of the dishes might be a little on the unhealthy side, offer to bring your own version. Sweet potatoes, for example, can be full of butter, syrup, and marshmallows. However, when prepared within certain guidelines they can be perfectly healthy and delicious.
Bake the yams in foil at 400 degrees until their juice starts to seep out, usually about one hour. Then, peel, slice and layer them with pineapple slices and a little cinnamon.
For most of us, there’s a certain part of the meal that gives us the most trouble. For some, it’s cocktails. For others, it may be dessert.
Devise a strategy. For cocktails, tell yourself, “I’ll enjoy one cocktail (glass of wine) with appetizers, and a half glass or smaller cocktail with dinner,” or decide to stick with mineral water at first, saving your alcohol for the main meal. Also, having the cocktails early on, and adding water to the mix, will assist in your ending up clear headed by the end of your evening.
If you know you have a tough time putting on the brakes once you get started, just don’t start. Steer clear of the bar – and relish everything else the day has to offer – good conversation, good food and wonderful memories.
If you have a sweet tooth, plan for it. If a taste of chocolate satisfies you, enjoy it. But if one taste sends you lusting for a lot more, offer to bring your own healthy dessert, such as fresh raspberries and sorbet. Or have a small dessert waiting for you when you return home. A nice reward for a job well done!
Location, Location, Location.
Don’t put yourself right in front of the candy dish. Who needs the agony? Plant yourself elsewhere, facing other pleasures – a nice fire, warm smiles, good tunes and a dance floor. You’ll have a much better time, and you’ll like yourself a lot more come morning.
Divide and Conquer.
Fill your plate. One half with vegetables, one quarter with white turkey meat, and the rest with a healthy starch, like corn on the cob, a baked potato, or sweet potatoes.
Eat slowly, putting your fork down between bites, and really savor each mouthful. It’s one of the easiest ways to enjoy your holiday meal without going overboard on calories.
Go outside and enjoy the crisp autumn air. After dinner, suggest everyone go out (if the weather permits) for a neighborhood stroll. What a wonderful way for families to enjoy the holiday together.
Another tip: Plan some outdoor fun before dinner, like a game of soccer or football with the kids. (It’s a great strategy for keeping the appetizer buffet at bay, too.)
Before leaving for the party, steal away for a little quiet time to focus on you, only you. Take a few deep breaths, and remind yourself of your ultimate vision – a leaner you, a healthier you, a happier you. Then, tell yourself, “It’s going to be a great evening with family and friends!” Julia Child (of all people) said it best: “Life is the proper binge.”
What To Do If You… Binged
Oops, went overboard on sausage-filled stuffing, gravy, and pumpkin pie? It happens to the best of us.
Here are 3 Thanksgiving binge tips…
Get back on track.
Don’t let a Turkey Day binge turn into an “I blew it” binge that lasts till January 1st’ resolution.
Make sure that you’re returning to a home well stocked with healthy foods for the day after Thanksgiving: A big bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen table. Fresh salad fixings in the fridge for lunch. Nonfat yogurt and other healthy snack foods.
Make healthy use of leftovers. Top your salad, for example, with strips of roasted, skinless turkey breast.
Get back to a regular exercise routine, or if guests are in town, plan something active for all of you for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. A hike in the woods. A game of softball. Cruising the shopping mall. In other words, do your best to stay off the couch.
Overcompensating for your Thanksgiving binge over the next several days with a ton of hard-core exercise, will not make your body believe it never happened. Just stick to your regular fitness schedule. Trying to cram in extra workouts at the gym could leave you feeling stressed out. What’s worse, they may lead to an injury, benching you for the next several weeks. That’s the last thing your health and weight-loss goals need.
In the days after, don’t starve yourself either. Sure, it sounds good; you want to eat less to make up for Turkey Day. However, restricting your food intake will only make you hungry. And when your stomach growls for too long, you know what happens. Any leftovers sitting in the fridge, especially the fatty, sugary ones will end up in huge platefuls in front of you. Instead, feed your day with the healthy style foods, you would eat when you are following your healthy path like, fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains and portion control.
“Great, now I have guilt”.
No good comes from beating yourself up. In the coming weeks, when the four main food groups for many people are cookies, candy, chocolate, and cocktails, do your best not to descend into a “binge--guilt—binge--guilt--oh-what-the-h***” cycle.
Focus instead, on the present, and praise yourself for laying the groundwork with a post-Thanksgiving plan. Be proud that you’re conscious of your eating and exercise behaviors, and your efforts to improve them. Even better, lay the groundwork for a healthier life in 2018.
At Integrative Medical Associates we seek to provide you with the best of medical care and give you ideas, suggestions and support along the path to your optimum health. We wish you and your family the best of health for the holidays and beyond.