Thanksgiving: To Go All Out or to Go in with a Plan


Have you considered how you might handle your nutrition strategy for Thanksgiving and other upcoming holidays this year? You know what they say; if you fail to plan, you are planning to fall, and the last thing we want is food anxiety during a time that can be enjoyed and celebrated.

The first step is to decide what your priorities are.

For some, their goal will be to enjoy time with their family, some good food, and to make memories with ZERO emphases or care for “staying on track” with their nutrition protocol. We feel this is appropriate for most people. The reality is, three nights of holiday dinner spread over two months is insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

For others, their goals will be to maintain momentum toward a specific fitness goal they are working on consistently through the holiday season. We are more than happy to provide a thoughtful strategy to allow both groups to enjoy their holiday in whichever way that best serves them.


If you fall in the first group, the strategy is simple.

Enjoy your day and make beautiful memories. 

Focus on the people, the conversations, and the fun.

Eat with balance all day. 

Do include fruits, veggies, and protein but don’t worry about tracking or portion sizes. Instead, allow your body’s cues in the moment and experience to guide you—pause consumption when you feel full. 

Now, if you’re in the second category, there is no reason that you can’t enjoy the holiday with balance, and we are here to help you strategize! 

Here is our recommended plan for Flexible Dieters tracking their macros and looking to stay on track with their weekly and monthly targets. (There is some math involved, but with a smartphone calculator, a piece of scrap paper, and a pencil, you can do this!)

Flexible Dieting Strategy – Borrow from 4 days leading into the holiday. 

If you’re actively working towards fat loss, wanting to stay on track with your goals, but would like to indulge extra for a holiday party, you can do the following:

  • Decide about how many extra calories you’d like to eat on Thursday. (For example, 1000 calories.)
  • Divide that number by four days. (Example, 1000/4= 250.) 
  • Subtract that number (In this example, 250) from your goal calories for four days leading into the holiday. (For example, if your nutrition target is 1850, 1850-250= 1600)
  • Set this number (1600) as your target for the four days leading into the holiday, and then allow yourself 1000 extra for a holiday. (In this example, this would give you a 2850 calorie budget for the day of the holiday.) 

If you go with this approach, be sure to hit your protein targets and eat lots of volume foods to keep you full and satisfied during your lower-calorie days leading up to your holiday meal or party. 

Degrees of Flexibility: 

The more rigid application of this option would be still weighing and measuring everything but allowing yourself the extra calories on the designated day. 

The moderately rigid application would be eyeballing portions and tracking what you eat, but not weighing or measuring. 

The most flexible option is to eat freely with portion sizes in mind(mindfully including protein, veggies, and fruit). If you choose this, you will enjoy as you wish, taking some mental inventory of your calories allowing for around 1000 extra for the day, but you will not actually track, weigh or measure anything. 

One more thing:

You may find yourself in a situation in which a family member or friend wants you to try a food or dessert that they have prepared. Using these above suggestions, you can make the decision as to whether or not it is the right food for you! If you decide that it is something that you want to eat, enjoy it! Don’t guilt yourself and try to remember balance and moderation – there will ALWAYS be more opportunities to get more. Start with one serving first, and then decide if you’d like a second serving later.

If you do not want to eat the food, respectfully tell your family member or friend “no thank you.” Remember, no is a complete sentence but if you do need to give an excuse for why you don’t want the additional food you can say “I’m not hungry,” “I don’t like that particular food,”  or “I’m allergic.”  However, you do not need to justify this decision to anyone else. We like to apply the concept, “My plate, my business, your plate, your business.” You can just leave it at that! What people put on their plates is not anyone else’s business.

We hope this was helpful for you! If you have any questions or want to work with one of our coaches for personalized strategies for your daily life, we are always here to help.

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