Thanksgiving is NOT for giving thanks anymore. It has become this is festive day filled with family gatherings and gossip, all-you-can-eat foods, holiday inspired desserts, football and lots of beer. It has become a dreadful day for me and my waistline!
On November 27th, my mom is hosting a Middle Eastern inspired Thanksgiving dinner. Is there such thing? No. But she has created it. Her Dinner revolves around a Basmati rice & chickpeas stuffed Turkey with a side of hummus, pita bread and other traditional dishes. Let’s not forget the Baklava and other pumpkin filled desserts.
Later that day, I am also invited to my boyfriend’s humongous GREEK Thanksgiving. Here we go again! More turkey, more stuffing, spanikopita and more calories. It’s an insult not to have 2 or three plates in the Mediterranean culture.
I am totally schizzing because there’s not enough space on my calorie calculator to enter everything in. But no worries, because I have a plan! And if you’re serious about your health and fitness goals, you should too.
I’m not saying that you can’t taste everything, but you should plan your day and meal to avoid overeating and gaining those holiday pounds.
So here is the plan that I will be sticking to on Thanksgiving. Feel free to adjust according to your caloric allowance.
FIT AN EXTRA GYM SESSION: Most gyms are open on Thanksgiving day, so why not fit in an extra workout that morning so your mind can be at ease with cheating a little. I have promised myself that I will be there at 5:30 am pumping some iron and doing a little high intensity elliptical training. That’s a 400 calorie buffer in case I somehow overeat, which I won’t. So win win for me.
MAKE IT YOUR CHEAT DAY: I usually make Saturdays my cheat day, but to compensate for Thanksgiving I will choose to be strict on the Saturday before and make the feast day my cheat day. Once again, my cheat day is still well-balanced but may involve having a few bites of dessert.
MAKE A PROMISE & KEEP IT: Before arriving, make a promise to yourself about how many calories you will be taking in and what foods you will be avoiding. If you want a little dessert, then skip the corn bread and mashed potatoes. If you want the corn bread, then avoid the pumpkin pie. If you want it all, then take mini bites instead of full servings.
FILL UP ON PROTEIN AND VEGGIES FIRST: I like to fill my plate with White meat Turkey breast (lower in fat and calories), veggies like string beans and broccoli, and a spoonful of yams. If I’m still hungry, then I’ll go back for more veggies.
CHOOSE YOUR DESSERT WISELY: Thanksgiving desserts are undoubtedly amazing especially a warm pumpkin pie! I usually ask my boyfriend to grab one so I can steal a bite. I down it with some coffee and call it a day.
TAKE A PLATE TO GO: I know the feeling of “I have to eat as much as I can because I won’t experience this meal again until next year!” NOT TRUE. Food will always be there, and so will my hips if I don’t control myself. If you happen to think that way, then ask the host for a plate to go, so you can have more of the goodies later on that night or week.
I hope that my plan will inspire you to behave this Thanksgiving. Remember, right after we have Christmas dinner then “let’s get twisted” New Years! There are more upcoming DANGER ZONES so prioritize your goals and stick to them.