Category Archives: thanksgiving

Post Thanksgiving Recovery Plan

It’s the Monday after the holiday and as we all head back to work it’s evaluation time for Thanksgiving health and fitness goals:

For me, I was 100% on exercise.  I sometimes had to workout late (10pm start = ouch) but I stayed on track and pushed hard.

For food I was maybe 80%.  I did eat tons of veggies and my healthier options.  But I also had too much mac and cheese (ironically not even on Thanksgiving – but Friday night.  the man makes it 2x a year and I just went a little overboard), too many meals out (spent all day in the city on Wednesday, out shopping Friday, out for the game Saturday) and too much meat (I had meat 2x a day for 3 days in a row – big big change for me).  I also skipped shakeology one morning, which is a disaster for me.  Seriously.  I don’t know why I do that…every time I do I really struggle with cravings all day.  Lesson learned, I haven’t skipped again.

So now it’s Monday.  The family members have all gone home (one with a ton of mac and cheese left overs), the football games have been played and my gym is now my gym again instead of the spare bedroom.  So how do we get back laser focus after a holiday like Thanksgiving that is very much a food and sit on your butt kind of weekend?  Four super easy steps, that’s how:

  1. Water.  Like you are crossing Death Valley folks.  Guzzle a gallon today.  Why?  A few reasons.  One being if you drank a little more than normal (which is kind of typical during the holidays, especially when surrounded by family, eh?)  then it’s time to rehydrate.  Two being you probably didn’t drink enough over the holidays (I didn’t – I struggle at home anyway, and when I’m crazy busy cooking and entertaining it’s easy to forget to guzzle).  Three being it will help you stay full while you bring your food intake back to normal levels (something has to replace that mac and cheese!).  Four being – it’s just healthy for you and you should drink a lot of water anyway for life.  Pick your number, ponder it over a glass of water.  No flavoring of the water with anything in a packet either.  Fresh fruit and/or veggies (like cucumbers) if you need a break from plain water.  
  2. Eat Clean.  Alright, it’s time to be a little strict on yourself this week. Check out Michi’s Ladder and stick to the top 2 tiers.  Personally, I don’t do non-fat cheese, I stick to regular cheese, that’s my only mod.  But I don’t have much or have it often.  I also will be really focusing on building mainly vegetarian or vegan meals home and on the road this week.  Lots of veggies and lots of fruit too.  If it comes in a bag or box and isn’t onion, oranges, grapefruits…you get the drift – leave it alone.
  3. Train Mean.  Whether you stayed on your exercise plan or not – today is the day to move.  Doesn’t matter what you do, just sweat it out.  I am still doing INSANITY and got my workout in today as I did through the holiday.  Go move.  Now.  I’ll be here when you finish 🙂
  4. Sleep.  Yes, you heard right.  Sleep.  I was so off schedule this week staying up late to hang out with family and waking up early to cook or watch football.  I’m going to definitely focus again on my 7-9 hours of sleep a night like I usually get.  Sleep is important for health, lots of studies talk about how people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have health problems and be obese.  Combat that by hitting the pillow on time tonight.  Figure out what time you need to wake up and try to be in bed 7-9 hours before that.
Something else to start thinking about this week – what are you going to do to keep it solid through the holiday calendar that officially kicked off last Thursday?  For me, it’s INSANITY obviously.  It is a 63 day program and will take me all the way through new years day so it is perfect for right now.  What’s yours?  I realize now how big a fan of laying out your workout plan for a long chunk of time, then working that plan.  Beachbody programs (all of them), Jillian Michaels Body Revolution, and I’m sure tons of other programs, these are just the ones I’m really familiar with.  If you can’t afford a DVD program or simply don’t want to spend the money on one – totally ok, you can DIY this.  Sit down RIGHT now and plan out a program in whatever your exercise of choice is on a calendar.  Then do it.  Even if it’s Dance Central for exercise – print off a calendar for now through January 1st and write down every single day you will workout.  Then daily cross it off.  This is powerful – it’s the contract with yourself to stay on track and move.  
Do the same for food.  Time to think about your diet too.  There are tons of options.  Beachbody and JM programs have food books with them to help guide you.  There are other in person options like Weight Watchers.  You can also take the opportunity right now to start the Ultimate Reset, which you guys all know I think is just the best thing ever and totally changed me and my hubby.  If you are not feeling me – add one good thing as you take away a bad thing.  Example?  No more McDonalds for breakfast – have something from home.  One simple change that will go a long way.  Do that every week an you will be on your way.  There is a nice chunk of time to do it right now and especially if exercise isn’t your thing – this is the best way to get started on health.  In general – diet > exercise for weight loss.  You can’t exercise out a bad diet – but you can have a great diet with no exercise and be crazy healthy.  So don’t just focus on exercise – focus on your diet while exercising.

Thanksgiving!

So Thanksgiving is in just a few days!!!  Are you planning a healthy Thanksgiving?  Health(ier)?  Or not really looking to do anything different than the norm at all?

I am doing a combination of all of the above.  I do not believe in complete absence of tradition or self deprivation.  I also believe, above all, in being realistic.  I remember when doing WW some of the members would say they would just have a turkey sandwich and an apple and then be confused why they fell off that plan around 3 pm.   Before you finalize your Thanksgiving plans, think about the following to help you have the Thanksgiving you want without battling yourself the whole time.

  • Where are you celebrating?  Are you at home, a friend’s house, a family party and are you going to know the menu in advance?  Can you bring a dish or two if not at home to help you plan?
  • What food requirements are in the crowd (vegan, vegetarian, low fat, low carb, no special attention, ect) and how do these align (or not align) with your own diet?  If it is not your diet, what are you going to do for food before/after to make sure you really get enough food for the day to be satisfied?
  • If you are cooking at home, do you have a few healthier than normal options this year?  I am going to make the dressing and mac and cheese because they are my sisters’ favorites (and dressing is mine!).  But I also am eliminating most of the other sides that are not vegetable based and replacing them with different clean veggie options because we just don’t need more bread/carbs beyond those.  Making a clean cookie recipe in addition to the sweet potato pie my family wants.  So I can make a plate that has some of the favorites – but still have mostly healthy options.
  • Any good swaps possible?  I am going to delete the usual green bean casserole and making regular green beans instead.  A friend is making mashed sweet potatoes with a little butter and honey instead of candied yams.  There are many awesome ways to clean up something so you still get the essence of the item so to speak, but with a little healthy added.  Mix these in with some of the really awesome traditional foods you want and you have a nice mix for everyone in attendance.
  • What are your actual limits?  Decide in advance.  Are you eating dessert?  Are you going to have Auntie’s famous sweet potato casserole?  Are you going to stick to eating clean?  Decide right this minute what you are going to do and where you are going to give.  Write it down and read it ever so often and right before you go into the meal.  This step will take into account everything above so really think about it.
My Thanksgiving plan is pretty simple.  I will be picking up the honeybaked ham and roasted turkey breast because it’s just easier to buy that stuff and it tastes amazing.  Making cranberry sauce, dressing, mac and cheese, fresh green beans or collared greens, spinach salad with homemade dressing, roasted root vegetables, and a baked fruit side (probably pears or apples…not final on this one).  Dessert will be a sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie cookies (very clean recipe I found from @josiephelps on instagram).  A nice mix of new healthier traditions my husband and I want to start with some old family traditions.  
The swaps I am making from my usual Thanksgiving are:
      Old                                                       New
Potato Salad                                      Spinach Salad
Green Bean Casserole                        Roasted Root Vegetables
Canned Cranberry Sauce                   Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Last thing I will say about planning a health(ier) turkey day – burn some extra calories.  Agood way to help the fact that this is a food based holiday and for most of us not celebrating at home alone, it’s just what it is.  I plan on getting up and hitting INSANITY hard in the morning and getting my family up and moving with a walk or Dance Central (or both!) as the day goes on.  The moving is as much about working off some mac and cheese as much as it is to just get us away from the kitchen for a little while.  I tend to graze on Thanksgiving, even when the food is put up, because it is totally acceptable on that day to do it and nobody gives you that look you get 99% of the other days of the year of are you going to eat THAT??  Go put up holiday decorations, go shopping (stores apparently open at 8pm, whoa), dance, walk, crochet, knit, do SOMETHING that takes you just away from the food and keeps you busy when that feeling hits. I personally plan on making much smaller quantities than normal to help us not have leftovers for days, but I know for some of us that isn’t really possible because we aren’t in control of the menu.  
Okay…that’s long but I hope it helps.  Add on if you would like in the comments 🙂