thanksgiving dinner basketThanksgiving should not be dreaded just because you’re sticking to a plan that improves  your nutrition or helps with weight loss. Here are some tips on how to stay happy and  healthy for Thanksgiving.

Can you gain weight in one day? 
There are so many factors that go into weight gain – metabolism, sleep, age and more.  One day is not going to tip the scale one way or another. Instead, focus on your big  picture. Instead of obsessing over how off track you might get with indulgent treats,  focus on the joy of being around family and friends. Don’t worry, we’ve got a plan to help you feel comfortable with your choices and enjoy fully…

How to set yourself up for success with a healthy Thanksgiving 
It’s about the big picture, not just one day. By creating and sticking to a plan that helps with your weight loss, muscle-building or nutrition goals, you don’t have to worry as much about one meal. Speed up your metabolism over time with regular exercise and nutrition planning.

In the week leading up to Thanksgiving, make sure you’re getting in a good mix of cardio and weight exercises, eating balanced meals and drinking plenty of water. It will set your body up for success.

Get your metabolism moving before the big meal
Thanksgiving morning 5k runs are popular and I’m all for it. You do that turkey trot! But something to keep in mind – your metabolism will be at its peak around two hours after a cardio activity. If you can, try to time a cardio activity closer to your Thanksgiving meal so your body is ready to burn that turkey and mashed potatoes like a pro. Why not take a walk around the neighborhood or play some football with your cousins before digging in?

Making a healthy thanksgiving plate
Don’t hold back on your favorites. This is a time to enjoy. But you don’t have to feel so uncomfortable that day and the next. Here are some tips and indulge but not go overboard.

    • Veggies – offer to bring those cauliflower salad! Having more nutritious veggies on the table, like carrots, spinach and cauliflower salad will give you the fiber to better digest everything else. 
    • Balance carbs and protein – from rolls to mashed potatoes, there’s a lot of carbs flying around Thanksgiving. Enjoy them! But do know –  you will feel so much better with balance. Try to balance your favorite Thanksgiving carbs with protein and veggies to make a plate that will make you feel your best. 
    • Alcohol – one night of drinking will not make you gain weight long-term, but you will feel so much better mentally and physically if you set a limit for yourself that you feel good about, measure it and stick to it. 
    • Two plate rule – I tell my clients to follow the “two plate rule” – make a plate that brings you joy and pack a plate to have leftovers, but don’t take the pan of green bean casserole home. It’s all about balance. 

Bonus tips to successfully navigate Thanksgiving
On Monday, November 22, I had the pleasure of being back in-studio at Fox 4 News Kansas City, discussing how to successfully navigate the holidays.  Enjoy the segment.

Get an expert to help 
Accountability is golden and even Michael Jordan had a coach! Instead of forging the path alone enlisting a health coach will:

    • Awaken you to your own unique skills, strengths, abilities, and untapped potential by utilizing behavior-change techniques
    • Optimize your physical, mental, and overall well-being so you can truly thrive in life
    • Acts as both your personal trainer and nutrition coach by designing customized workout and nutrition plans

Be kind to yourself
This is a time to enjoy the comfort of your loved ones. Mental health and happiness is just as important and is tied to your physical health. Enjoy yourself. Love yourself and be kind to yourself.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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About the Author

Candice McField, MBA, ACE Certified Health Coach & Fitness Nutrition Specialist