The holiday season is clearly upon us with work thanksgiving luncheons and holiday parties. The average American gains 1-3lb from thanksgiving to Christmas during the holidays according to numerous studies (1-5). There are many more tempting factors including alcohol, fingers foods and snacking with slightly decreased activity that leads up to the extra “lbs”! An average American on thanksgiving eats about 3000 calories while the total daily caloric intake is about 2000 calorie ranging higher or lower depending on physical activity. A person that is already overweight will gain about 5lbs more vs someone who already has a healthier lifestyle sometimes making it harder to shed the pounds and contributing to overall weight gain (2,4). Holidays are not the right time to start any new diets or make any drastic lifestyle changes unless you have great will power! However, I recommend maintaining a healthier lifestyle during this time to avoid gaining any additional pounds. So this thanksgiving and holiday season, stay fit and healthy with some of these healthy lifestyle tips!
Remember what thanksgiving is all about and embrace gratitude. Start off the day by being grateful for three things. Then throughout the day, constantly dwell on those three things appreciating it and maybe even coming up with more things to be grateful for. This is a practice that you should not just do on Thanksgiving day but actually throughout the whole year. Thanksgiving Day is just a reminder to be even more mindful of gratitude and grateful for everything you have.
From turkey trots to full marathons and even early morning yoga classes, be sure to start your day of blessing with an a.m. morning activity! If you’re going to be busy preparing your dinner, make sure you incorporate a little bit of activity after your meal. You can prepare the night before to give you some time on Thanksgiving Day for a little more activity. There’s nothing like throwing the football around, or a post diner walk to get those digestive juices going after a meal. You can even help clean up the kitchen! Maybe you’re preparing for black Friday shopping sprints; however you do it, stay active and keep moving! For those that use a fitbit, keep a check on your steps throughout the day. It’s easy to forgo some physical activity when you’re out of your daily routine.
It’s easy to indulge in foods when you’re around your family, friends and you’re happy. There’s nothing wrong with snacking, nibbling, and keeping your glass full, but be mindful about what you’re putting into your body. Also, listen to your body and your stomach, and when you are full, stop! There’s only so much your stomach can handle. Take your time, eat and chew slowly and enjoy every bite of your meal with your family. Don’t waste your calories on alcoholic and sugary beverages. Be thankful for your meal, and have meaningful conversations with everyone. If you indulge more than you usually do, don’t be hard on yourself. It’s one day of the year. That being said, don’t overdo it; but, don’t deprive yourself either! One of my favorite tricks to not over indulge is to make sure I drink adequate water throughout the day and with my meal as well as load up on fiber and protein because that keeps you full longer!
Sharing is caring.
Don’t make everything yourself if you’re hosting a diner party. Ask for help; don’t make things overwhelming for yourself. Tell your friends that have food allergies, and tolerances to bring something they can eat. The same goes for you, if you go to a dinner party and have food allergies or sensitivities, make a healthy dish that you can eat and share. Incorporate healthy colorful seasonal vegetables like pumpkins, sweet potatoes, squash, apples, pomegranates and cranberries. Think outside the box, get creative and try making new healthier recipes this year! I love exploring Pinterest for new healthy thanksgiving dinner ideas.
Enjoy your loved ones!
Your family may not always be there, so enjoy these special moments. Family dynamics are now changing, so appreciate what you have and embrace the love around you. No matter how much your siblings annoy you and your mom never changes, these are the people that truly love you and make you who you are. If you’re like me, you’re probably the crazy health nut in the family, and that’s OK. Just make one of your favorite healthy, gluten-free, vegan, non-gmo, organic Paleo dishes for everyone!
Happy thanksgiving everyone and be safe for those traveling near and far! Lots of Love and Light to you and your family this holiday Season! –Dr. B
- Schoeller DA. The effect of holiday weight gain on body weight. Physiol Behav. 2014 Jul;134:66-9. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.03.018. Epub 2014 Mar 21
- Hull HR, Radley D, Dinger MK, Fields DA. The effect of the Thanksgiving holiday on weight gain. Nutr J.2006 Nov 21;5:29.
- Wagner DR, Larson JN, Wengreen H. Weight and body composition change over a six-week holiday period. Eat Weight Disord.2012 Mar;17(1):e54-6.
- Yanovski JA, Yanovski SZ, Sovik KN, Nguyen TT, O’Neil PM, Sebring NG. A prospective study of holiday weight gain. N Engl J Med.2000 Mar 23;342(12):861-7.
- Roberts SB, Mayer J.Holiday weight gain: fact or fiction? Nutr Rev.2000 Dec;58(12):378-9.