There are healthy options for, or ways to make, many holiday staples (e.g. fat-free Pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, gravy) and Mike will teach you how on a supermarket tour or in one of his Fitness is Served! classes at the studio. This blog is for the vast majority of us who do not have control over the Thanksgiving menu and would like to optimize the physique situation while enjoying our feast!
Before you begin…adjust your mindset.
Instead of fixating on Thanksgiving as one day or a single meal, consider this a 6-day holiday that starts today (Tuesday) and ends on Sunday. Follow these golden rules and you can avoid the holiday fat gain that typically starts now and balloons through the New Year.
1. Do NOT fast, cleanse, detox, or do anything “extreme” before or after the feast!
Sudden and severe caloric restriction will cause your metabolic rate to screech to a halt, resulting in loss of precious lean muscle tissue and increased fat storage. There is only one type of fasting we recommend and it involves cardio. See next…
2. Rev up your metabolism during this 6-day holiday. Here’s how:
- Keep your protein intake constant, while modestly reducing your fat and carb intake in all of your meals the 2 days before and the 2-3 days after the feast.
- Have a simple protein shake (a scoop of whey protein in water or skim milk) 2-3 hours before the feast begins.
- Do extra cardio today through Sunday. Optimally, 30-45 mins fasted steady-state cardio (e.g. treadmill, stepmill, jogging) upon waking before your first meal. If you can’t “stomach” fasted cardio for various reasons, your goal is to fit in an extra cardio session somewhere during your day…just not immediately before strength training of any sort.
- Skip abdominal training today through Sunday. “Waist” of time. Better served spending those extra 10-15 minutes on the treadmill. For more on abs, listen here.
3. Ways to save at the feast
- White over dark. While 4oz of turkey breast has less than 1g of fat, a similar cut of dark meat packs a whopping 10g of fat.
- Gravy over butter. The better of two fats…in that, gravy has less fat than butter. The bigger issue with gravy (and stuffing) is the high amounts of sodium. For anyone accustomed to a low-sodium diet, you will experience this as noticeable water retention (belly bloat). Don’t worry! Drink plenty of water and your body will flush this extra water weight out over the next few days.
- Beware of dressings, butter-laden veggies, and whatever’s in Aunt Jenny’s homemade casserole!
- Pumpkin over Apple. In terms of pie optimization, choose pumpkin over apple and skip the crust.
- Be mindful of sugars. Cranberry sauce, fruit in salads, wine, mimomas, juices, too! Fruit is a sugar, so it has a similar effect on your insulin levels, fat storage, and ultimately, on your physique, as plain white sugar. For more on this topic, listen here.
- Be selective with fats. Whether it’s a so-called healthy fat or an unhealthy fat, all sources of fat deliver 9 calories per gram, compared to 4 from proteins or carbs. A better strategy is to consume fats sparingly and selectively. Limit the almonds, cheeses, etc, if you really want to put some gravy on your turkey.
Want more help or ready to take your physique to the next level? Schedule a fun and informative supermarket tour with us at your favorite grocery store. Not in Vegas? Not a problem! We’ll provide a comparable level of service personalized to your family’s shopping list and help you all thrive over the holidays and beyond. Sign up today!