Strategies for Thanksgiving from a Personal Trainer

Thanksgiving! The American holiday with a reputation for tension between family members, and exorbitant amounts of food. For most people  striving to watch their diet and maintain their health, Thanksgiving feels like a loss with no ways around it. If you try not to eat much, you get pressured by family. You have in front of you foods that are only available once a year. It is difficult.

How do we both mitigate the damage done by holiday food and maximize its enjoyment?

Here are my strategies to enjoy thanksgiving while not increasing your waistline, making yourself sick, or feeling miserable.

1. Work out the day before. A solid resistance training workout the day before Thanksgiving will cause your body to crave protein and carbs to rebuild muscle the next day.

2. Be active before you eat. Go on a family walk, hit a light, moderate workout on thanksgiving morning to increase your appetite for what will be a full day of sitting and eating.

3. Employ intermittent fasting. Most families start their thanksgiving meals in the early afternoon. Drink water and wait to eat until the meal. You will be able to eat more and your body will make the most of what you're taking in if you fast leading up to the meal.

4. Walk after your meal and drink a hot beverage afterward. The hot beverage will help aid in digestion and walking after the meal will allow the psoas muscles (hip flexors) to begin aiding in digestion by contracting against your gut.

5. Be mindful of your leftovers. The bulk of damage done by Thanksgiving is not done by the actual meal, but the week after when you have a slice of pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes with every meal. Portion out your leftovers. Limit yourself on the dessert. Get back to your normal rhythm as quickly as possible.

Thanksgiving should be a celebration of family, and not a day that causes anxiety and stress. Do not give this day power over you. Enjoy the holiday, and treat your body well!

Josh Rosen