Savor the Flavor Without the Weight Gain

November 19, 2012
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Around this time of year, especially in the United States, it marks the beginning of what is known as the Holiday Season. This is typically a time for family, food, and frantic holiday shopping (I stay as far away from this one as possible). Of these three focal points, food is the one that affects the physical form the most. Days of continuous gluttony coupled with a seemingly never ending supply of sugary treats can have a lasting impact on one's waistline. First in line for the holiday food bonanza is Thanksgiving. I associate three days with Thanksgiving, the day before, the day of, and the day after. Let's start with the day before.

In some circles (mainly the younger crowd), the day before Thanksgiving is known as "Black Wednesday". Once the nighttime rolls in, many people will go out to their local bars and other drinking establishments and pound back a large quantity of alcohol. Aside from the obvious health effects associated with drinking large amounts of alcohol, the calories in these drinks are quite substantial. See "The Hidden Calories of Alcohol". Skip the drinks and save yourself the calories and potential headache. Another nutritional hit taken by many is that this day is a day of travel which means airports and fast food. There is almost no avoiding this dilemma as you are at the mercy of what is available for consumption after the security checkpoints. Try to eat a hearty yet healthy meal before heading to the airport.

The actual day of Thanksgiving is typically laden with goodies. The standards are turkey, potatoes, corn, and some delicious pies. While I personally won't be giving up my pumpkin pie, I can offer suggestions on how to cut back additional calories and make healthy eating decisions. If you're going to eat turkey, skip the gravy. Instead of butter-laced mashed potatoes, try a serving of sweet potatoes with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Corn is OK to eat as long as you forgo the butter and take it easy on the salt. As for desserts... well... you get one cheat day a week right? Take a reasonably sized slice of pie and enjoy.

The final day of this calorie bursting trio is the day after Thanksgiving. Some reserve this day for shopping (and eating on the go). Others may lay around relaxing, eating large amounts of leftovers. Rather than having a second gut-busting Thanksgiving meal, continue eating healthy and remain reserved similar to the day of Thanksgiving. If you are not working, put a little extra time into your workout since you have the time to do so. Go an extra mile on the treadmill, lift an extra set with the weights... really anything to take your workout beyond it's normal realm.

Regardless of how you plan to spend your Thanksgiving, be sure to make it a safe one!

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