Avoid holiday weight gain this Thanksgiving

If you are anything like the average busy mom, this Thanksgiving weekend will be a whirlwind.  When you aren’t preparing food or cleaning up food, you’ll be eating food, right?  And if you’re anything like me, you’ll head into Thursday telling yourself, “I will not eat to excess today.”  And then the day will begin, the chaos will take over, and come 7 PM, well.. do I really need to describe it in detail?  None of us really want to relive it anyway, right?

If it happens to us all, how can any of us overcome it?  And even more so, I think many of us will say to ourselves, at some point during the weekend, “It’s one weekend.  It’s one holiday.  I just don’t feel like stressing and fretting over calorie counts today.”

The good news is, I agree!  You absolutely should not spend the holidays stressing or obsessing about what you will or will not eat!  This is a time to relax, enjoy, and ultimately, just be present with those we love.  If you accomplish just that this weekend, it will be a success.

Your goal then, for this holiday weekend:  be present.  Enjoy.  Be grateful.  Connect.  And ideally, feel amazing instead of stuffed and lethargic, right?

Here are five simple ways to avoid holiday weight gain this weekend, none of which involve obsessing or stressing!

Number One:  Have a plan.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.  Go into this weekend with even a relaxed plan of attack, and you will dramatically increase your likelihood of exiting the weekend feeling great about how you did with your fitness and nutrition.

The five items here will help you come up with a plan, but only you know what your weekend is going to look like.  Will you eat out every night?  If so, you may want to consider making one might an indulgent night, and the others a bit more focused on clean eating.  Will you be traveling?  Then consider where and when you will squeeze in your workouts.  Maybe you’ll take a set of DVD workouts.  Maybe you’ll take your running or walking gear.  Maybe you’ll make a plan now (yes, now- right now!) with another family member that you’ll work out together.

So, right now, think about the following:

  • When will I squeeze in my workouts?  What days?  What will I do?
  • What are the meals I’ll have some control over?  What are the one or two meals that I will consider treat meals and eat without guilt, within reason?

Number Two:  Move a bit.

Let’s now address Thanksgiving itself.  It’s a crazy, hectic day for many of us. If you are hosting, you may be in the kitchen with your head in the oven at 6AM, right?  So how on earth are you going to get a solid, legit workout in?

Maybe you won’t on Thanksgiving.  But you can plan to move a bit, at some point during the day.  And you will feel so much better if you do.

When can you make it happen?  Plan today for when and how you will MOVE tomorrow.  Will you get everyone outdoors for a walk after the meal?  Will you set the alarm 30 minutes earlier and do a quick workout before you begin baking, or before you hit the road?  If you plan for it, it’s much more likely to happen!

And if I may make a recommendation?  If at all possible, make it a family affair!  Just one more way to make a memory together.

Number Three:  Sip a lot.  

Okay, be honest.  Did you just think, “Oh, heck yeah, I’ll be sipping a lot, Cori!  On wine!”?  🙂

Okay, as with all things yummy and indulgent, if you are one who enjoys wine, have a glass or two this weekend!  But, as you might guess, I was referring to water.  One of the easiest things you can do this weekend to help keep yourself on track is to just drink as much water as you possibly can.  Keep your favorite water bottle or tumbler on hand at all times.  Strive to drink half your weight in ounces of water each day.  And then drink a bit more.  It’ll keep flushing your system, help you feel full sooner, and honestly, the feeling of refreshment it provides can make you feel more motivated to stay on track!

Sip.  A lot.  Of water.  😉

Number Four:  Sit down already!  

It is a holiday, remember?  Just as I want you to plan for how you’ll squeeze in some activity and eat mindful of your goals, I want you to relax and enjoy yourself!

Think retreat, not escape.  Don’t push so hard for so long that you collapse.  That kind of sitting doesn’t count towards really making for a joyful, memorable weekend.

Plan to make yourself let go of the to-do list and just enjoy your loved ones.  Watch a movie.  Chat with someone you’ve not connected with in a long time.  Read a book.  Snuggle.

Just sit down, deliberately, and regularly, throughout the holiday weekend.

Number Five:  Be present.  

(If you only do ONE of these, do this one!)

Despite the stress and the chaos, you and I both know this weekend will FLY by.  Recall the last time you hosted the big meal.  Didn’t it feel like you spent days, maybe even weeks, planning, preparing, shopping, setting the table?  Then you cooked.  Then, in a blink, your wonderful family descended upon the food, and before you knew what happened, you were cleaning up the aftermath.

It’s going to happen.  You’re going to invest a lot of time preparing, or maybe you’re traveling this year. Either way, there’s a lot of time and energy invested in the holiday itself, much of which has nothing to do with the reason for the holiday: gratitude.

So, this time, head into it all with an intention to be present.  Notice your children.  Notice your loved ones.  Notice how it feels to notice them.  Spend as much time there as you can.  I promise, it’s far more fulfilling than pumpkin pie.


Which of these do you feel excited to embrace this weekend?  Which will challenge you the most?