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Nov 22, 2023

Balancing Fitness and Feasting: Staying Healthy During Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for indulging in delicious food and spending quality time with loved ones. However, it can also be a challenging time for those who are conscious about their fitness and health goals. Often one can feel guilty when not indulging in the foods they enjoy or the other way around; guilty in enjoying the foods they enjoy.  In this blog post, we will explore six strategies to help you maintain a balance between enjoying the Thanksgiving feast and staying on track with your fitness journey.

  1. Start the Day with Exercise: Kickstart your Thanksgiving morning with a workout or a run to energize your body and set a positive tone for the day. Whether it’s a Turkey Trot race, a brisk walk, a jog, or a home workout routine, getting your blood pumping early on will not only burn some calories but also boost your metabolism and your mental health for the day ahead.
  2. Plan Ahead: Before the big feast, plan your meals and snacks for the day; opt for lighter, nutrient-dense meals leading up to the main event. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to keep you satisfied and nourished. Try to avoid fasting until the feast as that will leave you overindulging. When you take time to plan out small meals and snacks throughout the day you can enjoy the indulgences of Thanksgiving without feeling guilty.
  3. Portion Control: Thanksgiving feasts often involve an abundance of food options, making portion control crucial. Fill your plate with a variety of colorful vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, leaving a smaller space for the richer, calorie-dense dishes. Savor each bite and eat mindfully, paying attention to your body’s signs of fullness.
  4. Make Healthy Swaps: Thanksgiving dishes can be modified to be healthier without sacrificing taste. Consider using low-fat ingredients, reducing sugar and salt, and incorporating healthier cooking methods like baking or grilling instead of frying. Experiment with flavorful herbs and spices to enhance the taste of your dishes without adding extra calories.
  5. Stay Active: After the meal, resist the temptation to lounge on the couch for the rest of the day. Engage in post-meal activities that involve movement, such as going for a family walk, playing outdoor games, or organizing a friendly fitness challenge. Staying active will not only aid digestion but also help burn off some of those extra calories.
  6. Practice Mindful Eating: Thanksgiving is a time to savor and enjoy food, but it’s important to be mindful of your eating habits. Slow down, chew your food thoroughly, and savor each bite. Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues and stop eating when you feel satisfied.

Remember, Thanksgiving is a time to be with loved ones and to enjoy the foods that are prepared. Whether you do all 6 of these strategies or one. Go into the holiday season with a game plan. Ready to enjoy yet not compromise your fitness goals.

By: Felicia. R. Hall @feliciarhall
Felicia is an educator and motivator at heart. Felicia is a Certified Athletic Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Run & Fitness Coach, RYT 200 Yoga Instructor, Educator, and a doctoral candidate. She is a small-town girl who loves running, nature, and helping others become the best version of themselves.