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Six Tips to Stay Healthy over Thanksgiving

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The Thanksgiving holiday has always been one of my favorite times of the year. I enjoy spending quality time with family and friends while giving thanks for the love that we share and the many blessings that we have. My family always cooks the traditional Thanksgiving fare and typically serves enough food to feed a small army. Every year I tell myself that I will not over indulge, and every year I wind up curled up in the corner of the couch in a food coma watching Football. This year will be different though, I pledge to follow these 6 simple rules to minimize the damage from my Thanksgiving Day Feast!

1: Engage in some kind of intense physical activity BEFORE the feast is served.

Try to workout about 30 minutes to an hour before your big meal. This will open up the metabolic pathways so that you do not necessarily store all those excess calories as fat. Having a full-scale intense workout with sweat dripping heavy lifting would be ideal. However, if you do not have access to a commercial gym, there are other options at your disposal. Go outside and run 8-10 sprint repeats. Make sure to warm-up properly before this kind of activity, especially if you are in cold weather. Perform 10-12 repetitions of a 15-second sprint with a one-minute recovery in between. If you do not have time or are in poor weather, then try doing 50 burpees! Perform 5 sets of 10 with 30 seconds of rest in between each set.

2: Load up on the protein!

Make sure to hit the protein stations first and try to fill half of your plate with turkey, ham, or roast. This will help to limit the amount of space you have for all the starchy potato concoctions and casseroles. Moreover, eat the protein on your plate first. This will help fill you up before you scarf down those other fatty and carb filled foods.

3: do NOT go back for seconds!

That one plate of food probably contains well north of 1000 calories, which is plenty enough for any human being in one sitting. Eat slowly, savor every bite, and stop after one plate.

4: Limit yourself to one dessert selection.

I know, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, they are all so good! But they are also all filled with butter and sugar. Pick your favorite and eat a small portion of that one. You and I both know that is enough.

5: Walk it off!

It is tempting after a big meal to sit on the couch, watch football, and fall into a food coma. But the best way to feel better about this over indulgence is to go for a light walk around the block a few times or do anything active. Other options could be playing ball with the little ones or helping with the dish cleaning process.

6: Avoid the leftovers!

Make sure your Thanksgiving day feast is a one-time indulgence and do not store the leftovers in your fridge for lunch the next day. Try to plan your meal preparations accordingly and if you have leftovers, then let your friends or family take them or simply discard them.

Let’s follow these six simple guidelines together this Thanksgiving and save the expansion of our waistlines by doing so. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Matthew Miller, CSCS

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