I love our Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend! I love the food, the festivities, the fall colours, and visiting with family and friends. The hardest part of the weekend is not over-indulging in all the delicious food.
Here are my 12 tips that will keep you from over-doing it but still allow you to enjoy the celebration!
1) WEAR TIGHT CLOTHES
We all know this to be true. If we wear loose fitting clothes it is easy to over-indulge. That elastic waist conveniently expands with excess food and it accommodates that post-meal bloat. Don’t do it. Forget the spandex and yoga pants. Wear something with no give and no forgiveness.
2) DO A HIIT WORKOUT BEFORE YOU GO TO YOUR EVENT
Even if all you have time for is a 5 minute Tabata – do it!!! Your metabolism will rev up and your body will be ready to use those calories for repairing and rebuilding your muscle tissue rather than storing fat.
3) START YOUR DAY WITH A BALANCED BREAKFAST
Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that not eating breakfast will allow you to eat more calories later in the day. Your body doesn’t work that way. You need to stabilize your blood sugar right away in the morning. Eat a breakfast with fat, carbs and protein. Having all 3 macro-nutrients will ensure you start your day with balance blood sugar which will prevent you from overeating and having cravings later in your day.
4) EAT A SMALL HIGH-PROTEIN, HIGH-FIBRE SNACK BEFORE YOU GO TO YOUR EVENT
Protein and fibre stabilize your blood sugar (preventing cravings) and keep you full longer. A small snack could be just 100-200 calories. For example, you could have 1/2 cup of roasted chickpeas (homemade or store-bought); 1 cup of raspberries (only 32 calories and 8g of fibre!!) along with 3 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds (150 calories and 9g of protein).
We often mistake our thirst for hunger. Start your day with water, lemon water, or herbal tea. Keep water with you throughout your event. Being well hydrated will also help if you do over-indulge in alcohol. It will help flush out toxins and prevent hangovers.
6) FOCUS ON YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY, NOT THE FOOD
Don’t stand and socialize close to the food table – staring at it while it mocks you. Move to a place where you are NOT going to be looking into the face of temptation.
7) HOLD A GLASS OF SPARKLING WATER
Find something healthy and low calorie to hold in your hands. Having the feeling that you are participating in the food and drink will eliminate that fear of missing out and will help prevent people from offering you food and drink (that you don’t want).
8) HOST THE EVENT YOURSELF
Obviously, this is a lot of work but if you want to be in control of the menu and the healthy food that keeps you on track – host it yourself. If people want to pitch in for a potluck – you are in control of what becomes part of the buffet.
9) DO NOT DRINK ON AN EMPTY STOMACH
Enjoy your wine but eat something with it, otherwise you may end up making bad decisions as that wine clouds your judgment
Also, try to alternate between an alcoholic drink and a glass of water.
10) STOP AND PLAN BEFORE YOU EAT
Take a quick survey of the food available in the meal. Figure out which choices would be best before you pile up your plate. Load up on veggies first and skip the starchy carbs like bread, pasta, rice etc. This will help keep you from overeating. And remember, it takes your body about 20 minutes to send you the satiated feeling. Do not go back for seconds right away. Wait and see if you truly are still hungry. Another helpful tactic is to use a smaller plate.
11) INDULGE…A LITTLE
Michelle Vodrazka (who has tones of nutritional certifications and lives in Ottawa) has a great strategy. Choose a treat that you REALLY want. Take a small amount (she suggests a 3 bite rule). This allows you to eat something that you really want without feeling deprived all night. Plus it will appease your host – nobody likes it when you don’t at least try something they slaved over all day!!
12) BE MINDFUL
Be present when you eat. It’s so easy to wolf down your food and then realize you don’t even remember how it tasted. Sit down, chew slowly, enjoy each bite and all the flavour.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving Weekend!! Eat, drink and be merry!!