If your holidays will pour on stress along with the gravy, you may need some tips on how to avoid Thanksgiving weight gain. It’s easy to gain weight over Thanksgiving. Between the decadent food and the family dynamics, the holidays are the perfect recipe for weight gain. But, the holidays can be joyous! You don’t have to struggle with feelings of guilt or be stressed that you may venture from your healthy lifestyle. We’re serving up the very best tips from our experts on how to avoid Thanksgiving weight gain and stay healthy.
10 Ways on How to Avoid Thanksgiving Weight Gain and Stay Healthy
- Get moving. Even if it’s a short walk, the more you move the better you’ll feel.
- Plan ahead. Bring a healthy dish to the party, or eat a healthy snack before you go.
- Avoid grazing. Instead of snacking at a buffet, serve yourself a portion to feel satisfied.
- Skip seconds. Portion control can help prevent feeling blotted after a holiday meal.
- Veg-out. Choose mostly vegetables, then enjoy some of the less healthy holiday food.
- Drink up. Fill your glass with water often to avoid drinking your calories.
Focus on connections. There’s no better time to connect with loved ones.
Manage your stress. Chronically high cortisol levels may cause weight gain.
- Be accepting. You will not eat perfectly at holiday meals, and that’s okay.
Feel proud. You’re conscious of, and improving, your eating and exercise behaviors.
Your Holiday Weight Loss Survival Guide
Pass the gravy, please! The best way to avoid weight gain this Thanksgiving is to not let your hunger get the better of you. “Nutrition scientists suspect that the key to long-term weight control is an eating plan that gives you the most satisfaction, or satiety, for the least number of calories,” says Registered Dietician, Kimberly Gomer, Director of Nutrition at the Pritikin Center in Miami, Florida. “Most weight loss strategies, frustratingly so, do just the opposite.” Focusing on whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains, instead of traditional American packaged diet foods, can help prevent uncontrollable hunger and promote weight loss. Applying this strategy to Thanksgiving can help you avoid weight gain.
Thanksgiving Stress and Weight Gain
It is important to use strategies that lower your stress levels – experiencing elevated cortisol levels for long durations can promote weight gain. One of the best ways to reduce stress and feel great is to get moving! “When you exercise your mood elevates, serotonin levels increase …studies show you feel better when you exercise,” advises Jamie Costello, Director of Fitness at the Pritikin Center.
According to one research study, your best option this Thanksgiving may be to go for a walk outside. Researchers found experiences in nature beneficially influenced the level of stress hormone, called cortisol. Simply getting outside produced about a 20% drop in cortisol levels. The greatest effect occurred when adults got between 20 to 30 minutes of exposure to nature. This Thanksgiving schedule in a half-hour walk outside! It may help you reduce stress. Plus, being physically active is always part of a healthy lifestyle.
How do I Stop Overeating at Thanksgiving?
When events are food-centric, filled with the types of foods that are irresistible (salty, fatty, sweet), it can be hard to avoid eating more than you planned. Utilizing strategies can help with controlling holiday binges, such as taking a time-out to give yourself a pep talk.
Most importantly, remember to, “distinguish between a slip (lapse) and a relapse (abandonment of goals and return to uncontrolled behavior),” notes Dr. Scott Hyman, Clinical Psychologist and Educator at the Pritikin Center. Doing so can greatly improve your chances of staying on track and achieving your healthy lifestyle goals. “The most important thing about longevity and happiness is your connections and relationships with other people,” emphasises Dr. Coral Avron, Director of Behavioural Health and Wellness at Pritikin.
What Should I Not Eat at Thanksgiving?
From bacon wrapped smokies to buttery mash potatoes with gravy, there are many foods served at Thanksgiving meals that are not part of your healthy lifestyle. Enjoy one …one. Savor it, and own the experience. Try not to eat multiple meals filled with unhealthy food choices – that’s one of the best strategies to avoid Thanksgiving weight gain. Then, move onto a healthy food choice. Worried such a healthy option won’t be there? Offer to bring a healthy item to the festivities.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner with your loved ones and, “…focus on building connections with them, instead of stressing over what foods you shouldn’t eat,” recommends Dr. Hyman. It is the healthiest thing you could do! For you and your loved ones to enjoy a happy, healthy Thanksgiving.
The Best Way to Lose Weight After Thanksgiving
Come stay at Pritikin after Thanksgiving! Come for a retreat to reset and recharge. An uplifting, supportive and helpful environment, Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa is the perfect way to restart your healthy ways (diet, exercise and mindset), escape the cold, and get a jumpstart on your New Years resolutions. Plus, there are commonly special savings when you book a stay before the New Years rush.
- Urban Nature Experiences Reduce Stress in the Context of Daily Life, Based on Salivary Biomarkers. Front Psychol Apr, 2019.