Turkey Day, Gratitude Day, Day of Feasting, whatever you call it, the Thanksgiving holiday is absolutely the gateway holiday for us to fall off the wagon from the healthy diets we have tried so hard to maintain throughout the year. There is just something about the warm and cozy season that makes us want to eat!
Pumpkin cookies, cream based soups and stews, warm apple bread and desserts galore start popping up in store windows and restaurant menus. Our schedules become so full with holiday events, holiday shopping and end of the year work projects, that without even knowing it, our fitness routines have taken a backseat to our busy schedule, and we have slowly eased our way into elastic pants and 5-7 extra pounds. It’s hard to balance our schedules so that our exercise stays a priority AND say no to all of that tempting food once the holiday season starts. But, there are ways we can keep ourselves on track and still enjoy the Thanksgiving eating rituals that make up American family traditions.
Here are 5 of my top nutrition and fitness tips for keeping yourself, healthy, happy and feeling good in the clothes you have worked so hard to fit into all year (no elastic pants included)!
Healthy Tips to Get You Through the Holidays
1. Make your workout a priority during the holidays.
Put a reminder alert in your phone to workout at least 3 times/week for 35-45 minutes a day, starting in November and ask a friend to workout with you at the same time every day. Having someone else depending on you to keep them motivated can make you more accountable to show up and perform. Keeping each other motivated and on the track goes a long way to staying positive about your commitment to stay active through the holidays.
2. Add an extra 10 minutes and a new exercise to your workout for an extra metabolism boost.
You already know you will be eating more calories during the holiday season, and you can absolutely do that if you are pushing your body’s activity levels to be higher. Our body can plateau in terms of muscle building and weight loss when we repeat the same exercises daily for months at a time. If we add more time with a new exercise we haven’t included in our previous routine, we push our body to keep working hard for strong muscle growth while boosting its ability to burn calories. Giving our bodies this boost during the holidays is exactly what they need to keep working hard long after we leave the gym.
3. Stay away from gluten.
We are no longer eating the gluten that our parents were 30 years ago. The hybridized wheat of today contains new proteins that were not found in the wheat of yesterday, and those hybrid proteins can be responsible for systemic inflammation, intolerance and celiac allergies. Staying away from products containing gluten can stave off bloating and other intestinal issues that not only cause discomfort but can also make you feel lethargic and sick at the same time. Nobody wants to feel any of those things during the holidays! Ask for gluten-free menus at restaurants and offer to bring a gluten free item to the parties you’re invited too, ensuring that you will have something great to eat at the table.
4. Say no thank you to alcohol to keep feeling great.
The liver receives alcohol as a toxin so when you consume alcohol with a meal, your liver works on breaking down and flushing the alcohol first, leaving the breakdown of food nutrients being the second priority. This means your body burns empty calories for energy before nutrient rich calories, and when your body really needs the energy from food nutrients, the body has already stored them as fat. Repeatedly doing this will definitely lead to weight gain and weaken your body’s ability to fight off infection and stay healthy, so you can enjoy the holidays. Limit your alcohol intake leading up to the actual Thanksgiving Day meal, and then savor your drink of choice slowly with your family and friends. Enjoy it while eating a great meal and then hydrate yourself with water to help your liver flush out the alcohol. This will keep your body healthy, your mind clear to enjoy the day and your weight on track.
5. Increase your PH balance.
Eating nutrient and anti-oxidant rich foods such as dark leafy greens, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, apples, cranberries, almonds, cashews, mint, dill, tea and other herbs; along with exercise and de-stressing activities such as yoga and meditation can help keep your body from becoming toxic. Our bodies should optimally be at an alkaline balance of 7.35-7.45. If we are above or below it means that we are at an increased risk for a disease. When we are not distressing and eating oxygen rich foods, we deprive our cells from absorbing the nutrients and minerals we need from our foods. This lack of absorption can cause weight gain as the body thinks it is starving and holds on to the nutrients in terms of fat. This can also decrease our energy levels which makes it harder for us to workout, stave off illness and enjoy the holidays. Eating the foods mentioned above along with lean proteins and drinking at least 32 oz. of water a day, will help keep your energy and metabolism working the way you need it to, so you can enjoy your Thanksgiving the way you want to.
These 5 tips will keep you motivated and healthy so that you can approach the Thanksgiving season feeling great, looking great and ready to celebrate.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
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