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    Going on a personal fitness/health journey is just that – a journey. Creating a healthy lifestyle will have its ups and downs. The goal is to not let those “down” times last long nor lead you away from your path. Challenges and temptations happen all year long but the hardest time for a lot of people has already begun.

    Yes, it has begun.

    Most think of Thanksgiving as the beginning of the dreaded “weight gain season” but Halloween really is the “appetizer” to the season. It starts with those bite size pieces of candy that seem like no big deal but they (just like everything else) add up quickly in calories – and let’s be honest – who can just have one?!? These candies then stick around the house/work for a couple more weeks and WHAM!! - it’s Thanksgiving!! Then before you know it you have been to every holiday party under the sun, you have skipped your workouts and you feel more sluggish than ever. Somewhere in between Thanksgiving and towards the end of the year - some of you will say, “I’m going to start working out/eating healthier on January 1st” or “My New Year’s resolution is (insert any health/fitness goal).”

    Let’s make this Holiday season different. I don’t want you feel like you are “starting over” when 2016 comes. And you know it will be here before you know it.

    Thanksgiving typically provides a feast for all to enjoy...and to enjoy it in one sitting. Did you know the average Thanksgiving meal is roughly 3,000 calories!! WHOA!! Then add to that 3,000 calories for any beverages, other foods you eat/drink throughout the day, etc. An important note I want you to always keep in mind - 1 pound = 3,500 calories. So when you find you have gained one pound. This means you have consumed 3,500 EXTRA calories than the calories your body has burned.

    Sure indulging one day is not the end all be all to your goal achieving efforts BUT too much splurging can create a domino effect for bad eating habits for the rest of the year. Yes, we typically have food options that we don’t get throughout the year (especially if you have a family recipe, not used to home cooked meals, etc.) but you can still enjoy your Thanksgiving meal without sabotaging the hard work you have put in towards your fitness/health goals.

    Remember, Thanksgiving is one day. Done right, you won’t set yourself back too far.


    1. Know Yourself. What part of Thanksgiving Day gives you the most trouble? Is it dessert? Portion/quantity? Alcohol? Snacking?

    We all have an area (or area’s) that we find challenging...and that is okay. What’s important is knowing what your challenges are so you can devise a strategy. Some examples:

    For alcohol, tell yourself, “I’ll enjoy a half glass of wine with appetizers, and a half glass with dinner,” or decide to stick with water at first, saving your alcohol for the main meal. If you have a tough time putting on the brakes once you get started, don’t start. Steer clear of the bar – and relish everything else the day has to offer – good conversation, good food, good memories.

    If you have a sweet tooth, know the healthiest options. You can even offer to bring your own healthy dessert. Go ahead and enjoy yourself dessert but make sure you make the best choices for the main course.

    2. PLAN AN ACTIVITY. Just because it’s Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you can’t be active. It’s a perfect time to get your family and friends involved too. Plus - being active with others is so much more enjoyable!!

    Some great options:

    *Plan a family walk before the hectic day begins or walk together after you eat.

    *Sign up for your local Turkey Trot race.

    *Do a quick 15 minute (or more) workout at the house (check for my at home workout that I will be posting or email me if you want something sooner).

    *Turn on the tunes and have a dance party with your friends/family.

    *Get a game going outside like football, soccer, tag, etc.

    ---> Just to give you an idea of what you would have to do to burn off for the average Thanksgiving meal (roughly 3,000 calories) - check out how many HOURS you would have to workout.

    Walking 4 mph: 10 hours

    Running 6 mph: 4 hours

    Elliptical trainer (moderate effort): 12 hours

    Yoga: 17 hours

    That’s A LOT of activity, y’all!!

    3. EAT BREAKFAST/LUNCH. A mistake a lot of people make is not eating anything up until the Thanksgiving meal. You may think you are “saving calories” by waiting for the big meal but it WILL only lead you to overeating. If you are having a Thanksgiving dinner then eat lunch too. Choosing a healthy breakfast and lunch is also recommended.

    4. KNOW HEALTHIER OPTIONS. If you don’t don’t know. Making small adjustments with some of your favorite Thanksgiving foods do make BIG differences. Just like calories can add up quickly - they can just as quickly not enter the picture (or your stomach)

    *Use a small plate. The tinier the dish, the less food you will take and the less you will eat. That is, if you don’t go back for more and more. If a small plate is not an option - then fill up your plate???

    *Choose lean, white meat turkey to get the most bang for your calorie-buck. Dark meat has about 15% more calories and 30 - 40% more fat than light meat. Also ditch the skin while you're at it (that's where most of the fat hangs out!).

    *If know you are going to eat dessert, make sure you allot for the calories elsewhere i.e. don't go back for that seconds, making the suggested choices I have listed here, etc.

    *For green bean casserole, swap out fried onions with toasted almonds

    *For dips, use Greek or plain yogurt instead of sour cream — the consistency is similar, but yogurt has less fat and more protein

    *Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and to make gravy

    *Substitute cranberry sauce, loaded with antioxidants, for fatty, high-calorie gravy.

    *Avoid butter, cheese, bacon and sour cream on your potatoes, yams, etc. Instead substitute low-fat yogurt or nonfat/lite sour cream or just eat them as is.

    *Leave out the bread. Not only will you save yourself from a carb-overload you can add a couple more slices of turkey, more vegetables, healthier options, etc.

    I hope these tips will help motivate you to have a healthy Thanksgiving!!! I am here to help you stay as active and healthy as possible throughout the holiday season. For the next 6 weeks I will be providing tips, healthy recipes, workouts, etc. to help you stay on track. So make sure you stay tuned for my blog post each week!!! Next week I will be offering healthier recipes for some favorite Thanksgiving staples.


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