How to recover from a Thanksgiving feast
I hope that all readers of this blog enjoyed a Thanksgiving Day filled with much happiness, family and friends. I also hope that no one is worrying about what they ate this past Thursday! Keep that feast in perspective: It’s one day and one meal.
Eating for health is not dependent on one big choice or one specific day. It’s a series of seemingly small, smart choices made every day. Taking small steps in the same direction accrues huge benefits over days, weeks, months, years. And if you’re accruing most of the time, an occasional overindulgence is unlikely to throw you off your overall path. So, treat a dietary misstep, no matter how major, as nothing more than a transitory event and start fresh the next day.
For those of you who are still stressing out about that meal in the rearview mirror, or see a whole season of potential landmines ahead, here’s a quick guide on getting back to normal:
- Don’t try to “make up for” your feast with a famine. Instead, get right back to your regular routine by eating a healthy breakfast the next day. Choose something with whole-grain fiber, such as oatmeal (or any Step One product), to regulate your blood sugar and stay fuller longer. Plus, getting back into your normal groove quickly makes it less likely you’ll continue to stray after the big day.
- Give away the leftovers! If you hosted, clear out your fridge – especially if it’s full of dessert! Send leftovers home with your guests. Chances are these are not foods that you usually eat. If you’re like me, you feel guilty wasting food. Which means you will be tempted to keep eating the foods you are actively trying to limit.
- Forego the food courts on post-Thanksgiving shopping days. Instead, plan a lunch with some protein that’s centered around veggies and leafy greens. The protein will keep you from feeling hungry, and the veggies and greens should provide enough fiber to keep your digestive system humming. The big bonus is that greens and veggies are nutrient dense but calorie poor – so you can fill up without packing on the pounds.
- Don’t forget your water bottle. Remember that we often mistake thirst for hunger. When you’re visiting family or hosting friends or on a shopping spree, it’s easy to forget to drink enough. A happy fact is that most fruit boasts high water content. So think about adding some clementines to your snack routine: They’re in season, full of H2O and taste amazing.
- Keep up with exercise. Just like our nutrition plans can get derailed around holiday celebrations, so can our exercise routines. If you took a day or two off, no worries. You’re unlikely to have slipped in your fitness level. Just start out as you usually would on any given Saturday. No need to ramp it up!
- Get plenty of sleep. Changes in sleep can disrupt your metabolism, so stick to your regular routine here, too.
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season, as well as an opportunity to reflect upon what we want to experience in the coming weeks. That would almost certainly include joy, social connectedness, and family and friends … but it can also include living with purpose in a physical way, making sure that we are maintaining physical activity and health-promoting nutrition. Take inspiration from some of my tips for achieving that even when surrounded by counterproductive choices.
Finally, in the spirit of seasonal gratitude, and on behalf of everyone at Step One Foods, I want to extend a personal thank you. Whether you are a customer, a blog reader or simply a believer in our mission (or all three!) we are grateful for your support. We wish you much good health and a wonderful holiday season!
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