Turkey and dressing and gravy…oh my!

Oh, how I do love a great stuffing. Err….Thanksgiving stuffing that is;)

Like most of us, I tend to overeat at Thanksgiving and then end up feeling guilty and try to make up for it by working out extra hard the next day or two.

How smart would it be if instead of repeating that pattern (or making the same decisions over and over as I’ve written about previously), we create new patterns? Let’s focus on enjoying Thanksgiving dinner WITHOUT overeating and feeling guilty?

I’ve devised some simple tips we can all utilize right away.

Tip #1. Stay hydrated.

Simple, right? One would think. A great way to not overindulge in food is to simply drink more water the day before the dinner and the day of. Often we overeat simply because we are actually thirsty. I know that sounds weird but our body can mix up the ‘thirsty’ and ‘hungry’ signals causing us to eat more when what we actually need is more water. So drink up! Water, that is. And remember, if you’re drinking alcohol, to counter the dehydrating effects you need a 2:1 ratio….2 glasses water for 1 glass of booze (not the other way around;)

Tip #2. Plan a big workout the day after.

This works like a charm around any big ‘eating’ event. Organize a hike or workout or a barre workout class the morning AFTER the eating event. And then, book it in with a friend as well. A friend that won’t cancel on you. Don’t pick the wishy-washy friend….maybe find your die-hard friend and organize something with them. That way you won’t cancel and either will they. Why this works is because your brain will focus on the workout and you’ll just not want to eat as much. Mainly because vomiting is never fun;)

Tip #3. Don’t eat as much the day of.

Now, this may sound counterintuitive. If you go to a dinner hungry, won’t you overeat? But it’s all about the calories. If you KNOW you will indulge at a dinner, plan for indulging at a dinner. Just don’t eat your regular ‘calorie’ day the day of. If you’re drinking a ton of water that day, don’t worry, you won’t be going in famished. You still have to watch your calories so plan on just eating your calories at that dinner. Say you eat around 2000 calories a day normally. If you overeat at dinner, your calorie count has gone up by an extra 1000-2000, but if you don’t eat much during the day, you may actually maintain your 2000 calorie day. Get it?

Tip #4. Eat all of the veggies first.

Works. Every. Time. Just focus on the amazing veggie dishes first. Then the protein. Then the indulgent stuff (creamy mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, dessert) after those items. Yes, I know…the stuff in brackets is the yummiest part of Thanksgiving. I totally get it. It’s just an idea.

Tip #5. Make healthier versions of your favourite dishes

What a novel idea;) Why not find recipes for healthier versions of the indulgent stuff? I recently made mashed potatoes with cauliflower, potato and garlic and it was delicious! The cream and butter didn’t help BUT it was slightly healthier than the usual. Maybe don’t have the bread in the stuffing? Use olive oil instead of butter. Use almond milk instead of cream. Make vegan mushroom gravy. There are lots of little tricks that can actually make your favourite dish still taste delicous but be healthier.

So there you have it. Five tips to help you not totally stuff your face at Thanksgiving.