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12 Ways to Avoid Sabotaging Your Health and Fitness Routine Over Thanksgiving

12 Ways to Avoid Sabotaging Your Health and Fitness Routine Over Thanksgiving

November 15, 2019

Everyone knows that Thanksgiving is a holiday of gluttony. Of course, spending time with loved ones and giving thanks for all that we have in our lives is the entire point, but let’s face it—it’s also about stuffing our faces and drinking unlimited wine and hot toddies. In fact, it’s estimated that people consume around 3,000 to 5,000 calories on Thanksgiving—basically two days of eating and drinking packed into one.

Just because Thanksgiving is full of buttery baked things, endless side dishes, and tasty cocktails doesn’t mean you need to throw off your entire fitness or health routine. There are simple things you can do to help you stay fit and healthy this Thanksgiving without having to sacrifice all the fun.

When it comes to an overall state of well-being, it’s important we take care of our nutritional health, physical health, and mental health. This holiday season, be sure to incorporate these helpful tips to enjoy the day and stay on track.



1. Eat breakfast. You might feel like you want to save your appetite for the big meal by skipping breakfast and/or lunch—not a good plan. By doing this, you’re more likely to overindulge and reach in for seconds. Instead, eat a filling and nutritious breakfast like an egg white omelet with lots of veggies or oatmeal with berries.

2. Grab a smaller plate. Less room on the plate means fewer places for you to be tempted to fill with extra mashed potatoes. Often times, our eyes are much bigger than our stomachs on Thanksgiving and we tend to overeat just because we can. Instead, use a smaller dinner plate and savor each bite by chewing slowly. You might be surprised by how many calories you save.

3. Hydrate. ‘Drink more water’ sounds like something your mom reminds you to do when you’re visiting, but it’s actually a great idea. Not only will staying hydrated keep you feeling somewhat full but if you happen to be enjoying some adult beverages, it will definitely help you feel better the next morning.

4. Skip the seconds. Just because something was extra delicious doesn’t mean you need to go crazy on it. It takes the average person approximately 20 minutes to register that they’re feeling ‘full,’ so take a moment to relax after you eat dinner to see if you really still feel hungry. Besides, who doesn’t love Thanksgiving leftovers the next day?


5. Get a workout in—even if it’s just 20 minutes. With so much going on during the holiday, it’s hard to fit in an hour at the gym. But 20 minutes? Totally do-able. Get on YouTube or download a fitness app and try a 20-minute intense circuit workout. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is another great option to set your metabolism on fire. You’ll feel awesome about getting a good sweat in before eating all the yummy goodies.

6. Opt to do the labor-intensive chores. You’d be surprised how many calories you can burn by sweeping the floors or hand-washing, drying, and putting away the dishes. Wherever you’re spending the Thanksgiving holiday, offer to take on some of the more ‘active’ chores so you can burn a few extra calories after dinner.

7. Take an after-dinner family walk. After everyone has finished their meals, take some time to digest before cutting the pie and stroll around the block with the family. When you’re feeling uncomfortably full of turkey and gravy, it always helps to get some fresh air. Plus, it’s more time you can spend talking and bonding with your family and friends.

8. Sign up for a Thanksgiving run. It might sound crazy to some people but for others it’s tradition. Cities across the United States host races and runs on the morning of Thanksgiving to get a good workout in before the big meal. Do some research and see if your city offers a short 5K or 8K that you can complete before you start basting the turkey.

Mental Health

9. Meditate. The holidays can be stressful. Being around family, friends, and loud and chaotic environments can take a toll on your mental health. Find a few minutes before or during the festivities to take some time to meditate. Meditation lowers stress levels and will help you cope with any intensity that comes your way. There are meditation apps and YouTube videos to help guide you if you’re new to the practice.

10. Get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep before a big holiday like Thanksgiving can have some pretty undesirable consequences. Not only are you more likely to be cranky and unable to handle stressful situations, but it could also have an effect on your appetite regulation. Do yourself a favor and aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep the night before.

11. Keep your goals in mind. Another way to help you stay focused and on track during this high-calorie holiday is to make it a point to consistently visualize your goals. If you know you’ve been feeling better because of healthy eating choices you’ve been making, remind yourself that you want to feel that same way tomorrow. If you know you’ll regret that third glass of wine, focus on that early morning workout you want to accomplish. Visualization of your goals is a great technique to help you stay on track.

12. Don’t be too hard on yourself. When it comes down to it, Thanksgiving is ultimately about gratitude, family, and friends. Don’t spend too much time worrying about food or exercising or beating yourself up for having an extra sliver of pumpkin pie. Enjoy yourself, make smart choices, and resume your normal health and fitness routine tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Written by Ashley Brewer for Knockaround.

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