If you’re trying to lose weight, Thanksgiving can be a particularly challenging time of year. We all want to enjoy quality time with friends, family, and loved ones, but the large meals and sweet treats can derail our weight loss efforts. To help you handle Thanksgiving without gaining weight, we’ve put together this practical guide. It’ll walk you through dealing with pressure from friends and family, tips for a healthier holiday season, and some tasty food swaps that don’t compromise on flavor.
So this Thanksgiving, don’t freak out! Here’s exactly how to handle Thanksgiving like a dieting pro.
Dealing with pressure from friends & family
One of the reasons people overeat during Thanksgiving is the pressure from friends and family to do so. Everyone is offering you junk food and giant portions, then interrogating you when you politely decline. It can feel like they’re holding a magnifying glass over your eating habits and the easiest way to cope is to simply give in. But this can sabotage your efforts and undo all of the hard work you’ve done so far. So, here are some practical ways of dealing with pressure from family and friends:
- Commit in advance – make a commitment that you won’t overeat. This simple act will make you less likely to give in to pressure on the day.
- Be prepared with your response – know what you’re going to say so that you don’t feel like a rabbit caught in headlights.
- Explain your reasoning – convey how hard you’ve worked to get to this point and that you don’t want to undo your efforts. People generally want the best for you so won’t want you to sabotage your achievements.
- Make it clear that you’re not judging them – it may be flawed logic, but people often think that you must be judging them for eating unhealthily if you’re ‘being good’ which is why they get so defensive.
- Tell the host beforehand – let them know if there are things you won’t be eating so they don’t feel blind-sided on the day. Offer to bring a dish so that it’s not creating extra work for them.
If you’re hosting, then scroll to the bottom for some tips on how to make healthier versions of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes.
Practical tips for a healthier Thanksgiving
Now that you know how to deal with pressure from friends and family, it’s time to address the main event. How can you reduce the temptation to overindulge and avoid gaining weight during the Thanksgiving period? Here are some practical tips that you can use to minimize any impact on your waistline.
Make dishes from scratch
Shop-bought stuffing, pies, and snacks often contain lots of calories, unhealthy fats, and chemical preservatives that can play havoc with your digestion. Making your own versions from scratch is almost always healthier since you control exactly what’s going in. Many Thanksgiving staples such as desserts can be prepared well in advance so you don’t feel overwhelmed on the day.
Prioritize protein & green veggies
When faced with a Thanksgiving spread of food, prioritize protein (such as turkey or vegetarian nut roast) and green vegetables. This will ensure that you fill up on the healthiest elements of the dinner and mean you have less room for cream-laden potatoes or processed accompaniments. Fill your plate with the healthy options first and then you can add small servings of other things if you have space.
Alcohol can be a big calorie culprit during the holidays. A welcome drink before dinner and then several wines or beers during the meal can equate to hundreds of calories on top of the food itself. Swapping alcohol for sparkling water will reduce your calorie intake and help you to enjoy the taste of the food more too.
Workout in the morning
If you know you have a big meal ahead then do a workout first thing in the morning. It’ll get your metabolism working harder so that your body burns more calories throughout the day. That way you’ll burn off your meal at a faster rate than you would without exercise. For some people, this also eases the guilt of eating a big meal, but remember that food is nourishment and not a sin!
Try an appetite suppressant
If you don’t think you’ll be able to resist the temptation of Thanksgiving food, then try taking an appetite suppressant like PhenQ. It’ll help you to resist the urge to overeat and reduce the amount of fat that your body stores from food. It can also boost your metabolism to help you burn off any excess calories you do consume. Plus, unlike some diet pills, it won’t affect your digestion or cause diarrhea if you do indulge in fatty foods.
Healthy Thanksgiving food swaps
There are lots of ways to make healthier versions of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Here are just a few ideas that’ll enable you to host for non-dieters while sticking to your plan:
- Turkey – Grill or bake it instead of deep frying
- Creamed potatoes – Swap for cauliflower mash
- Stuffing – Make it with quinoa instead of white bread for extra protein
- Green bean casserole – Swap for sprouts, red cabbage, and pulses
- Pumpkin pie – Try this healthy twist on the traditional recipe
Incorporating these healthy swaps will allow you to reduce the calories in your Thanksgiving meal without sacrificing on flavor. Plus, you’ll set a positive example for others at the table by demonstrating that healthy foods can be delicious too!
Handling Thanksgiving without gaining weight
These tips will help you to resist pressure from family and friends to eat unhealthily so you can make your own choices as to what you want to enjoy. By committing in advance, being prepared with a response, explaining your reasoning, and making it clear that you’re not judging others, it’ll be much easier to stick to your guns and eat healthily. Making food from scratch, prioritizing protein and greens, avoiding alcohol, working out first thing, and incorporating healthy food swaps, mean you’ll be able to enjoy Thanksgiving minus the excess weight gain.
If you want a little help to resist temptation, PhenQ can suppress your appetite so that you don’t crave large portions and can maintain your weight loss progress.
Do you have any tips for handling Thanksgiving without gaining weight? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.