Something we’ve had great success with over the years is helping clients to strategize ahead of time to be able to ENJOY the holidays while NOT having a total free for all gorge fest from Halloween to January 1st. You know, that magic little place of “balance” we are always talking about.
By pre-planning ahead of time, you can minimize the impact on your health and fitness goals but maximize the amount of food you are able to enjoy.
The way we see it if you’re someone who is tracking macros, you have three options when it comes to strategizing for Thanksgiving. Read over them and see which approach you feel will best fit your current goals (stay with us here, there is some math involved, but with a smartphone calculator, a piece of scrap paper, and a pencil, you can do this!)
If you’re actively working towards fat loss, wanting to stay on track with your goals, but would like to indulge extra on Thanksgiving do the following:
- Decide about how many extra calories you’d like to eat on Thursday. (For example, 600.)
- Divide that number by 2 days because that’s how many days are left until Thanksgiving. (for example 600/2 =300)
- Subtract that number (example 300) from your goal calories today and Wednesday.
So if you’re currently set at 1900 calories, for example, you would drop to 1600 for the week to make room for a high-calorie day on Thanksgiving. Be sure to get all of your protein despite the drop in calories Today-Wednesday.
- The more rigid application of this option would be still weighing and measuring everything but allowing yourself the extra calories (example 1900+800=2700.)
- The moderately rigid application would be eyeballing portions, but tracking everything.
- The less rigid would be eating modestly, enjoying everything you wish smaller portions but being mindful of your intake and trying to keep it around your goal. (for example 2600-3300)
*Note with any of these approaches you will probably still see a spike in weight for a few days following Thanksgiving, but you should be back to seeing fat loss by the following week.
If you’re on a maintenance plan and can handle seeing your weight spike a bit for a week or two you can simply eat as normal leading into to holiday and take a day off from tracking. Remember you are making a conscious choice to take a day off. Don’t make a big deal about it. Own it. Enjoy it. Of course, don’t make yourself sick and have responsible portions, but enjoy the day and relax!
Eat way past your “full” level all day and into the weekend. Feel bloated, tired, and out of shape on Monday. It may take 1-3 weeks to get back to where you were pre-Thanksgiving.
What about training?
If you’re actively following a training program, we would recommend training Monday through Wednesday and taking a rest day on Thursday. You can add 10-20 mins of extra cardio on these days as a strategy to offset some of the caloric surplus you may create on Thanksgiving.
No matter what plan you choose, drink 1 oz of water for every pound you weight all week! (For example, if you weigh 130 drink 130 oz.) Being hydrated helps substantially with bloating from the increased carb and sodium intake.
Remember, the holidays are a time meant to be enjoyed! Allow yourself to sit back and relax while making memories with family and soaking it all in!