How to make it through Thanksgiving without gaining weight
…and not feeling guilty
Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving? We all eagerly await to gather around the dinner table with family and friends.
But we all knows what happens at that dinner table: we end up eating so much, we end up talking about it for weeks…and then trying to lose the weight for months!
Do you know that most Americans will consume more than 4,500 calories and close to 200 fat grams (that’s 1800 calories just from fat!) on Thanksgiving day alone?
Research reveals that the majority of these calories are not just from the traditional meal (a whopping 2000 calories!) but from the all-day snacking in front of the TV watching the Thanksgiving Day parade and then football.
My clients often ask me if I have any tips on how to stay on track and not get tempted by all the food. Here is what I tell them:
- Watch your snacking. Prepare healthy snacks for when you watch, like celery and hummus, a bowl of crudité (raw broccoli and other vegetables) or sunflower seeds, my favorite snacks for watching football (or James Bond marathon)! Not only are sunflower seeds rich in protein, if you buy them unpeeled, they are a lot of work too.
- Don’t go to the Thanksgiving dinner hungry. Eat a big healthy breakfast and lunch so you don’t overeat at dinner. You know how it works, we end up eating more and faster when we are hungry.
Drink lots of water. Fill up on water, which has no calories. Limit and even avoid your alcohol and coffee during dinner…they will dehydrate your body and make you hungrier.
- Avoid high-fat sides. Just say “no” to macaroni-and-cheese, casseroles and all those fried, creamy and sugary foods. Stay away from mashed potatoes that are made with butter and milk, cream of mushroom soup, candied yams, marshmallows and gravy. Swap them for mashed sweet potatoes with salt and garlic and steamed green beans.
- Have your turkey skinless. Be smart about the turkey portion you select. Go for about 4 oz of turkey breast with no skin.
- Watch your portions. Don’t go for seconds and thirds. And if you absolutely cannot resist fatty sides, just have a small helping. Remember, moderation is key!
- Eat slowly. Stop when you are full and keep talking to your friends and family. Don’t get tempted by more food, get up and walk around if you feel you are having a hard time to resist.
- Offer to host Thanksgiving. This is my favorite tip because it puts you in charge! If you are responsible for the meal, you can control the ingredients and make the holiday healthy not just for yourself but for your friends and family as well. Substitute high fat ingredients with lower-fat or fat-free items, like egg whites instead of eggs, skim milk instead of milk, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, etc. Prepare lots of vegetable sides with green and colorful fall veggies. Mash your potatoes with just salt and garlic instead of milk and butter. Choose whole grain breads.
- Download my low calorie Thanksgiving cookbook!
Thanksgiving Day Workout
Bonus #10 – Do This Workout at before the game an at halftime:
And tomorrow: Contact me!
How To Avoid Weight Gain in the Fall and Winter
It’s sweater weather and this time of the year, after working out all summer to stay in shape for bikini season, you start slacking off. Cooler temperatures start off the season of eating. You tell yourself that missing gym is okay because you worked out so hard during the summer months. And when it comes to your diet? Let’s just say it’s easier to be naughty than nice. Also, everyone is back from vacations and your friends are getting together more often. Some of your co-workers are baking pies, cookies and homemade goodies. If you don’t plan ahead, all those office treats, receptions and stress can show up on the scale quickly and add up to a gain you won’t like. As tempting as it sounds to stuff your face with all that bready yumminess and wear baggy sweaters until spring, stick to your goals.
Here are a few tricks on how to squeeze in the workouts, stay on track when you don’t feel like it and avoid fall weight gain.
How to Avoid Fall and Winter Weight Gain
1. Ditch oversized sweaters. Yes, they are in fashion right now. You’ve browsed through the highlights of the Fashions Weeks and they look so chic with leggings and a pair of boots. Don’t fall for it. Remember that sweater weather doesn’t last very long. Buy a few boyfriend cardigans, they are quite trendy as well but these show your muffin top the moment you gain a few extra pounds. They are a great incentive to turn down pumpkin spiced lattes from Starbucks.
2. Go for warm foods. When it gets chilly, we crave something warm and comforting. Unfortunately, most things we end up eating warm are also rich, like cream based soups, bread bowls or hot pies. It’s all about making some healthy swaps. If you are in LA, order some healthy Soupelina.com soups, made with nutritious veggies, high-protein lentils and fall squashes. They are incredibly tasty and don’t have the flower or butter of regular soups. Bake a fresh apple with oatmeal and sprinkle cinnamon on it…you will be amazed how tasty it is.
3. Make a plate. Eat every three hours to avoid being hungry. If you go to a party , eat something right before you leave; choose protein so you arrive full. But if you didn’t get a chance to eat beforehand or you just don’t want people asking too many questions, get a cocktail napkin or a small plate and fill it with veggies. Avoid parking yourself next to the hors d’oeuvres table and politely decline the high-fat options being passed by waiters. Instead of wine, go for sparkling water with lime. People will think you are sipping a cocktail and the bubbles will fill your tummy.
4. Choose your splurge. Most reception food is fatty or sweet and you know you don’t want to fill yourself with those calories. If you have to splurge, go for a glass of champagne.
5. Move on if you pigged out. Well, sometimes it just happens. We’ve all been there. A few cookies, some bread and cheese and of course, wine. Don’t beat yourself up, just don’t make it a regular thing.
6. Keep exercising. Yes, it gets dark by the time you are home from work. And you don’t feel like putting on your workout clothes and running outside. If you can’t work out in the morning or during your lunch hour, pull up a free online workout video that you can follow in your home.
Or even better, join my online workout plan to keep you in shape through fall and into the holiday season. You’d love showing at those office holiday parties wearing tight fitting dresses.
Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder during the Winter
There’s a well-known phenomenon during the darkest and coldest months of the year called the “Winter Blues.” It usually starts around the end of January and can last well into March, depending upon your location. For northern areas, where there’s the least amount of sunlight during the day, many people can be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder which causes depression and lethargy due to lack of sunlight and Vitamin D.
One of my clients moved away from Santa Monica a few years ago. I still monitor his training and nutrition, by the way, and am always happy to do that for my out of town clients. I noticed his performance was starting to slip and he was gaining weight. I mentioned this to him in one of our consultations. He told me he was feeling depressed and didn’t really know why. His job is great, his wife is doing well and his kids are very happy. However, he wakes up in the morning and it’s cold and dark outside. He can’t go for a run without fear of slipping on the sidewalk ice. His workouts have been suffering as well.
I thought about it for a while and made a few suggestions to him, which may also be of help to you.
4 Ways How To Avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder
1: Purchase a “Light Box”. It provides high intensity therapeutic light which can be positioned near the face to flood the face and the eyes with light to stimulate the retinas, which in turn activates parts of the brain responsible for appetite, energy and mood.
2: Switch up your workout. We added more cardio at the gym and increased the number of reps while decreasing weights to keep his heart rate up during the workout, which also helps produce more serotonin.
3: Take more baths. “What???” Yes, you heard me, take more baths, but make them productive. Soak for 20 minutes in an Epsom salt bath twice a week. Not only does it soothe sore muscles, it helps you relax and lowers stress hormones. Add some drops of eucalyptus oil to help with any chest or nasal congestions. Add some drops of lavender to help with sleep.
4: Watch your diet. It’s easy to slip into “Comfort Food” mode when tired, stressed or depressed. Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure you’re eating a well-balanced diet filled with quality protein, leafy greens, fruits and vegetable and complex carbs.
This isn’t an overnight cure, but by week 4, he was back on track and back to his healthy weight, doing and feeling much better. I, of course, was glad to be of help.