Well, it’s Thanksgiving in the states tomorrow, and if you’re like me, you’re already pseudo-stressing about how you’ll manage “the big meal” Thursday.
You give yourself a mental pep talk: “I will only eat turkey and vegetables.” You repeat the mantra: “I don’t need dessert to feel satisfied.” You reinforce your goals: “I don’t want to be a whale on January 1st.”
I get it. Me too! And good for you! But if only managing reality was not as easy as what we imagine in our heads.
SO. For you, I’ve put together a list of the actual steps I use for navigating any big meal. These are guidelines that I use for all holiday events and parties, and hopefully they can help you enjoy yourself, while also not adding inches to your waistline:
1) I do drink alcohol, but keep a 2-drink-max rule. I also only let myself drink red wine, Nor-Cal Margaritas (tequila/soda/salted rim and fresh lime) or vodka/soda with lime please.
2) I don’t eat starch or sugar. Period. This is a hard & fast rule for me. I don’t eat “real” desserts; instead I make and BRING my own healthy, low-carb version (i.e. “dessert defense”). I don’t eat bread, potatoes, cranberry sauce (unless it is real cranberries reduced down with fresh oranges, balsamic vinegar and stevia), rolls, crackers, etc. Besides, I’d rather drink alcohol than eat starch–and this, too, is a good rule of thumb. If you’re doing booze, you’ll need to curtail the starch.
The last time I was in a Thanksgiving food coma, I felt and looked something like this…
3) I let myself eat as much fat, protein and fibrous veggies as I want. This includes butter and sauces on veggies, cheesy broccoli, cheese plates, (if I want to risk having a bit of intestinal discomfort from the lactose), fatty dark meat, etc. I don’t stress too much about fat (even saturated) because these foods make me feel more satisfied so I don’t need as much and I don’t reach for the sugary stuff (also I don’t feel deprived because I get to eat fat). If I want seconds, I usually add more protein to my plate.
4) I drink water like it’s my job, and I always drink AT LEAST 1 liter after the meal, before bed. With lots of extra sodium and alcohol, I always want to prevent water retention as much as possible. And one way is to drink more water. The fastest way to start SHEDDING water is to drink more of it. Sure, I might get up a few times to pee during the night, but that’s preferable, because it’s proof I am not retaining water.
5) I do an intense weight-training workout the day of the meal. I usually do a leg workout, or if not, I’ll do a full-body workout. The idea is to get as many muscles involved as possible and lift heavy to the point of failure. It is also to use the extra cals at the meal to push muscle building, not fat storage. Muscles are primed for growth in the hours immediately post-workout so I lift heavy & hard to ready them up.
My goal is to feel satisfied, but not blow it.
See what you think. Perhaps, try one or two of them, adjusting as needed. And remember, food will always be there, so the urgency of needing to try everything at this very meal loses its impact. My mantra: “I will not gobble til I wobble, but enjoy fellowship with family and friends.” 🙂
No stress! Do your best! You are always one meal away from being back in fat burning mode, so maintain perspective and don’t let your Thanksgiving meal turn into a weekend-long binge fest.
You’re amazing, never think otherwise.
Stay Strong, Amber