Melissa Paris Fitness

Nov 25, 2014

How To Survive Thanksgiving

by Emily Jane

Ah, Thanksgiving. Also known as the national day of gluttony, it’s a holiday that brings with it equal parts excitement and anxiety. Excitement over sweet potatoes that are drowning beneath marshmallows, and anxiety over the fact that you may or may not consume your body weight in food, and pants with an elastic waistband are soon to become a staple in your daily wardrobe. Fear not, because we have a few tips to help get you through this American free for all of a holiday.

Did you know, the average American consumes more than three thousand calories on Thanksgiving? And by the end of the holidays, (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s), the average American adult has packed on seven pounds?

1.) Stop putting so much emphasis on eating as much as humanely possible because this holiday only comes once a year- This one is pretty self explanatory, but it bears further scrutiny. Thanksgiving is one of those situations where the anticipation is almost always more exciting than the aftermath. Keep in mind that a singular day of uncensored eating can undo a month of hard work. No, this is not an exaggeration. By all means, enjoy your day with family and friends, but remember it is one day, it is food, and unless you are in a true state of poverty, food will be around tomorrow.

2.) Eat beforehand- yes, we are in fact, telling you to eat more. So many people don’t eat up to 24 hours prior to their annual feast, in preparation for what their stomach is about to endure. This is potentially, the worst thing you could do. Fasting before Thanksgiving almost never works out the way you hoped it would. If you arrive to the smorgasbord famished, it is almost inevitable that you will go all Hunger Games on your family’s delightful spread and be left wondering how you wound up in the recliner, and why you’re top button refuses close, and how the person in front of you in the buffet line was left wounded when you trampled them to get to the mashed potatoes. Eat a small meal the morning of Thanksgiving, preferably one high in fiber, such as a large bowl of fruit with (a little) granola sprinkled on top.

3.) Keep your priorities in line- Don’t deprive yourself. Take a reasonable portion of the foods you absolutely love, but don’t feel the need to pile everything on the table onto your plate simply because it happens to exist. This will inevitably be followed up with always contemplative life question, “Why did I eat that? I don’t even like that”.

4.) Wait at least 20 minutes before going back for seconds- If you’re anything like most people, you want instant gratification, and you want it yesterday. You’ve been anticipating Thanksgiving for the past month and you’ll be damned if someone else gets the last bite of, well, anything. Give your body a chance to process what is happening to hit. Sit back, relax, and if you’re still feeling like Tom Hanks (circa Castaway), after 20 minutes, reach for a smaller plate, and head back in to the war zone with a sensible state of mind.

5.) Hit the vegetable dishes first. and hard- Fill up as much as you can on anything that comes from the earth and isn’t drowning in a puddle of gravy, sugar, or sauce. Go for the green beans, the spinach, the salad, and anything else that still bears a resemblance to the color it was intended to be. I’m not saying it will be the most delicious part of your meal, because that is simply not the truth. But it will take the edge off your animalistic hunger, and your waistline will thank you later.

6.) Eat your starches last: Let’s face it. The cold, hard truth. We’re all just here for the stuffing. Thanksgiving is the one day a year where it is acceptable on all fronts to pretend bread isn’t the absolute devil. After you’ve consumed your veggies, and your protein, take the smallest portion of your starches you can possibly imagine taking without crying. Eat them slowly, and savor them, and if you’ve practiced responsible eating up until this point, I can almost guarantee your body will be satisfied.

7.) Limit your alcohol intake- again, we encounter a self explanatory rule. One drink can add as much as 200 calories to your meal, and though we’re not in the habit of counting them, Thanksgiving happens to be a day where you can lose track and quite literally, get, “lost in the sauce”. Add 3 drinks to your meal, and congratulations, you’ve officially gained 1 pound. It’s not water weight, no matter what your friends and supportive coworker try to tell you.

8.) Accept that if you choose to go all out, you’re not allowed to hate yourself- Thanksgiving is just another choice we have to prioritize ourselves, and how we’ll feel the day after it’s over. If you can’t live with the guilt, elastic waistbands, lethargy, and other potential side effects of gorging yourself, take the necessary (small) steps. Your body will thank you.


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