Here's some food for thought: the average American consumes a hefty 3,000 - 5,000 calories on Thanksgiving alone -- Yikes.
Listen, we’ve all been there. We’ve overindulged and lived to regret it. Don’t get us wrong: The holiday season is all about celebrating, togetherness, and indulging—in moderation that is.
So Below are 5 key steps to take to minimize excessive calorie consumption and running the increased risk of fat storage that could sabotage your hard work in the gym
People will starve themselves in the morning knowing they are likely to over consume calories for their Thanksgiving meal. With many thinking they are ‘saving calories’ that will be used for later, they are in fact putting their bodies into a evolutionary state of survival: If little, to no food is consumed for even half a day — compared to your usual daily schedule of eating habits — then your body will want to over consume, and store energy in the form of body fat, so as to protect itself against future dips in energy.
Eat close to normal, but with plenty of fresh greens/fiber and limit the calorie-dense foods such as fats and carbohydrates. This could look something like:
|Breakfast: Egg-white omelet, with a side of fresh greens or steamed vegetables (especially dark green, leafy vegetables)|
|Snacks: Sliced carrots, celery, and even a handful of raw nuts.|
|Lunch: Strips of chicken (white meat) wrapped in lettuce, with a handful of shredded vegetables, for a low-carb and flour-free tortilla wrap.|
Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Cold water, with several drops of freshly-squeezed lemon, and a ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, can help boost your metabolism, priming it for your thanksgiving feast later in the day.
You will give yourself a break from exercising today and will add an extra 30 minutes extra cardio the next day.
Once the body ingests excess calories, it will lock them away in fat cells. Extra cardio the next day will hardly make a difference on all these extra calories. Instead, create a deficit first by working on every major muscle group in a total body workout several hours before you’re due to sit and eat, this will not only increase muscle cell sensitivity to food but also limit fat cells from being as receptive. Plus, you’ll also feel a greater sense of pride and accomplishment from just having completed a tough workout, and therefore be less likely to want to over-indulge in those candied yams.
3. Portion Control
You grab a plate that’s typically larger than your average meal portion and begin loading up on all the different foods available. Soon you have your plate stacked high, and no doubt holds more than your entire typical day's calorie intake. Plus, the odds of you going back for seconds, or at least ‘saving room’ for desert, will only worsen your post-thanksgiving guilt. With one big plate of food, you’ll be more inclined to eat it all than you would with needing a second serving of smaller-sized plates.
Opt for a smaller plate, and load up on greens and vegetables first. Not only with the fiber help slow digestion (therefore slowing the surge of insulin that will no doubt be released and will quickly start shuttling ‘energy’ into fat cells for a rainy day), but it will also help limit your intake of the more calorie-dense foods. You can always return for seconds after eating your first plate, of which you’ll be less likely to overload further as you’ll be more aware of extra calories. Make sure also to drink 2-3 cups of water prior your feast to help you feel more full.
4. Give Yourself Time
So you sit down with your mountain-high plate of food, and spend the next 15 minutes consuming as many calories as you would normally do so throughout an entire day. Even if you’ve eaten nothing since you woke up, or won’t be eating anything again for the rest of the day, the volume of calories within such as short timeframe won’t respond the same as other days where they’re more spread out. The result will be a spike in Insulin and high risk of fat storage – and lots of it. Something that even a day’s worth of cardio performed the next day won’t even begin to take care of.
Ok, so it’s a given you’re going to consume more calories than normal within this meal. There are still several steps that you can take to greatly reduce the risk of fat storage, whilst still enjoying a great Thanksgiving dinner. Here’s what you can do:
- Eat around the plate in the order of – greens, protein (turkey), one bite of carbs.
- Take smaller bites – as this will help slow the rate of how much food you are eating.
- Chew your food thoroughly – this will stimulate more stomach enzymes to help digest and assimilate the food once in your stomach
- Wait at least 10-15 minutes before reaching for a second serving. (The signals to the brain to tell you when you’ve eaten enough are often delayed, so allow a little extra time to sense if you really are full or not)
5. Fight The Urge To Sleep
Often after everyone finally manages to free themselves from the table, vowing never to eat that much again, it’s an all-to-familiar scene that we all take a nap, or at the very least, are not very active for at least the rest of the day. The problem here is that the body now has a surge of fat-storing hormones circulating around the blood stream, all-to-ready to dump it into fat cells.
Whilst no one is realistically gong to hit the gym after such a feast (after all, most gyms will be closing early), a little movement will at least help keep the body from loading up the fat cells. Even a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood will be beneficial, and may also help further reduce the risk of late-night snacking as you’ve now taken steps (no pun intended) towards minimizing the risk of damage control.