National All You Can Carb Day is almost here! Are you prepared for the Thanksgiving feast that is about to come? Here are 3 ways to indulge on Turkey Day (without stuffing yourself).
If you’re someone who is struggling with your weight and tends to overeat a little bit, then Thanksgiving might be a nightmare for you. Not because you have to host a bunch of people you only see once a year, or because you have to deep clean a house that hasn’t been properly cleaned since the turn of the century (raises hand).
You might be dreading Turkey Day, because you recently shifted your diet to avoid carbs, sugar, or any of the other goodies that tend to be front and center during this classic American holiday.
Side note: The original Thanksgiving had food like venison, squash and beans. Not quite the same turkey and cranberry feast we have evolved to.
As a girl who used to wear special Thanksgiving pants (you know, the one with the super stretchy waist) in order to allow for the fullest capacity of gluttony, I’m going to share with you some quick tips that have helped me maintain my 100-lb weight loss during All You Can Carb Day, without resorting to cauliflower mash or tofurkey.
First of all, let’s be real. No one really cares about the turkey on Turkey Day. What we really care about is the carbs, right? Like mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potato and pumpkin pies.
Other than the turkey, we have very little protein to speak of at our Thanksgiving feast.
If you are trying to Pin a bunch of recipes that replace potatoes with cauliflower, green bean casserole with steamed green bean almondine, or stuffing with gluten-free wild rice with apple dressing, then this post is NOT for you.
While I applaud your healthier substitutes, you can enjoy the Turkey Day FEAST without going entirely into some Paleo-inspired BEAST mode in the kitchen.
As a health coach, I like to help folks through the holidays in a way that feels good to them- which includes ENJOYING some of their favorite foods (sans substitutes).
First of all, we need to address the elephant in the room.
CARBS ARE NOT EVIL. That’s right, carbs are not evil. Do you know that all vegetables and fruits are carbs? And, every food pyramid and guideline establishes that Americans need to eat more of these CARBS.
What separates these carbs from sugars is they have fiber, and fiber makes you feel full. Translation: You need less of it to be satisfied. Anything that tends to have more fiber, tends to be a better carb source for you.
We have plenty of carbs out there that are good for you- like mushrooms, celery, carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, Brussels sprouts, wild rice, apples and pumpkin. The lesson here is: Don’t feel like you have to eat turkey jerky all day long in order to feel like you’re still sticking to your goals, because carbs are part of a healthy and balanced feast.
That being said, because Turkey Day tends to be mostly filled with carbs, how do you prioritize when you get to the feast? I spent one Thanksgiving as a vegetarian, which was a challenge for my meat-eating family. Basically, I made a lentil loaf, but focused more on the yummy sides.
Speaking of sides, I love mashed potatoes and stuffing. I could eat that all day long, every day long, if there’s leftovers I will take it home. I love sweet potatoes. I love stuffing, especially. I love any carb source, and I’m not afraid to admit it!Thanksgiving lovers unite in your love for carbs! Here's how to feast without gaining 10 lbs. Click To Tweet
Here are my 3 Ways to Indulge on Turkey Day without Stuffing Yourself.
Want to listen instead? Here’s the video
Never, ever, ever, EVER skip breakfast. Never, ever, ever, “save your calories” for the mid-day feast. The reason for that is, your body metabolism slows down when you deny it food, and it holds on to the calories when you do eat food. Without getting into scientific, technical lingo, it makes it very challenging for your body to understand, “Am I in starvation mode- How come she’s not giving me food??!”
Your body treats the carbs and calories very differently if you fast. That’s something to be aware of.
By the way, if you’re thinking “It’s just one day”, here is the truth. I polled my Facebook group about whether they “take a break” from focusing on their health over the holiday season, and most agreed they do. (You can join my group by clicking the image below).
Maybe you can relate? Does the holiday become more a season, where you just let everything go, including your determination to end the year healthier than ever?
Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast. If you still struggle with a breakfast that doesn’t include donuts or bagels, then I encourage you to download my completely free Breakfast Blueprint. Enter your email below for immediate access.
It’s a good way to eat a healthy, balanced, breakfast for any dietary needs that you have, and gives you the basic building blocks of balanced meals using macros.
Make sure you eat breakfast, or at the very least snack happy throughout the day.
Sip until you Sup
Picture this. You arrive decked out to your hosts’ house, sit down, and what is usually the first thing the host asks you?
They probably ask you if you want a drink.
Depending on how your traditions work, you could spend hours and hours before any actual food makes its appearance on the table. Unless you’ve discovered the finger foods and apps (another sneaky calorie source).
Which gives you plenty of time to sip a libation and socialize.
Mistake number two is drinking copious amounts of alcohol before you even sit down to feast. Now, don’t think that I’m some teetotaler who doesn’t drink any alcohol. I do drink alcohol once in a while. Yet, over-indulging in alcohol has never been a scare for me.
More importantly, I have supported coaching clients on specific ways that they could cut back on their overall drinking. One of my clients actually went cold turkey.
Become aware of the liquid calories you consume over the holiday, especially, if there is a huge gap in between when you arrive at your destination and the time you start supping.
An easy way to prevent yourself from over-imbibing in those tempting alcoholic drinks is to put the cup or glass down. Cover the cup, if you have an overeager host, or simply keep it away from you.
Also, it’s a good idea to drink a full glass of water in between alcoholic beverages. That way, you’re saving yourself some calories, and might even be saving yourself some embarrassment. That way, you can enjoy the food without feeling like you have to be guilty about it (or hearing about your drunken escapades until the next Turkey Day).
All You Can Eat
Mistake number three is eating a little bit of everything from the vast smorgasbord on the Thanksgiving table. Sure, some people say “everything in moderation”, but those people probably never struggled with their weight, or are the rare intuitive eaters.
Not everyone knows how to say no, or even wants to!
Thanksgiving feasts are typically served family style, which gives you the impression that it’s “all you can eat”.
If you are determined to finish your plate, and that food is staring at you, you may find yourself going for thirds (or fourths) before you know it.
The thing is- you don’t have to eat everything, or at least not all at once! If you’re the host, you get the intense pleasure of enjoying those leftovers in your fridge for days to come, and if you’re a guest, you might find yourself with a doggie bag.
Even if your host does not offer a doggie bag- think about this. Why do you need to eat it ALL?
Really, why do you need to eat it all? Scientific studies prove that you have decreased pleasure after the third bite of anything. That could be your worst vegetable, that could be your favorite pie. After the third bite, it’s no longer giving you the same jolt of satisfaction.
Here is a better mindset around the Thanksgiving feast. Instead of taking a bit of everything, become a finicky eater who cares only about THE ONE.
THE ONE you save for once a year, THE ONE that’s a very special family recipe passed down year to year, or THE ONE that you lovingly prepared for your most precious people in life.
One of my past clients indulged in her favorite Nutella crepes at a luxurious Vegas buffet while taking care of her ailing mom, and she lost weight!
The reason is because she did not deny this long-awaited pleasure of eating her very favorite thing BEFORE eating healthier foods. Because she did not feel deprived, she was happy to stick to her guns after THE ONE.
Don’t just eat the pie- eat the pie FIRST.Eat the #Thanksgiving food that you absolutely adore, and adore the heck out of that thing while you're eating… Click To Tweet
Then, be the responsible health warrior you are and load up on the green beans, Brussel sprouts, and turkey.
Those are my ways to enjoy and thrive on Turkey Day. The top three mistakes most people make at Thanksgiving is to skip breakfast, drink liberally before feasting, and eating a little bit of everything.