Everybody fortunate enough to be sitting at a Thanksgiving table is going to consume an excess of calories, whether your table is filled with healthy choices or not-so-healthy ones. In fact, Americans are estimated to consume over 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving!
There are tons of articles out there giving you advice on how to control your caloric intake during these types of holidays, and while the tips and tricks they contain have some merit and the writers’ intentions are good, those types of articles may actually be doing more harm than good. Why? Because Thanksgiving is about GRATITUDE, not GUILT or ANXIETY, and if you’re worried about overeating or feeling terrible about yourself after the meal, you’re defeating the purpose of the holiday itself. If you’re sitting at a table with a ridiculous amount of food in front of you, having negative feelings about it does a disservice to those who would do anything to be that fortunate.
So let’s assume you’ve already overeaten… what next?
Don’t Feel Guilty
First of all, one meal is not going to ruin all the progress you’ve made with healthy eating, exercise, and mindfulness over the past year (assuming you’ve been working on it). Secondly, beating yourself up with remorse or guilt after gorging yourself is counterproductive… those levels of stress raise levels of hormones such as cortisol in your body, leading to further weight gain, inflammation, and lack of sleep… so just be at peace with your enormous meal and focus on moving forward in a healthy, happy way.
Don’t Diet – Just Eat Whole Foods
Trying to make up for a huge meal by going on a crash diet is another bad idea. The best thing to do is to allow your body to adjust naturally to foods that will nourish each and every one of the cells in your body. That means avoiding processed garbage and simply enjoying large amounts of whole foods. It doesn’t matter what they are – as long as they come from the ground or a plant and look the same as they did when they were picked – fruits, veggies, whole grains, tubers, legumes, seeds – eat a ton of them (while listening to your body of course) and your body will naturally balance itself from the Thanksgiving meal likely full of sodium and unhealthy fats.
Gradually Add in More Activity
You don’t need to go kill yourself in the gym or try to run 50 miles next week either (unless you’re used to doing that and you love it). Simply add more movement into your life consistently over the next few weeks. Go for walks or hikes, take the stairs, lift some weights, do a little hot yoga – whatever would be enjoyable for you at your level of fitness without shocking your body into much higher levels of activity.
Drink Tons of Water
You’re going to need to flush out the excess sodium (and possibly some other toxins) from your system. Drinking water will help cleanse your body of waste, boost your metabolism, and acts as an appetite suppressant. We highly recommend drinking water infused with H2, aka molecular hydrogen (you can buy tablets to do that here). H2 is a powerful detoxifying agent, boosts your metabolism, controls your blood sugar, increases your energy, reduces inflammation, and improves your sleep (among many other things) and will help you get back on track in no time.
Noticing a trend here? The bottom line is this: treat your body WELL, don’t punish yourself in any way, and use COMMON SENSE. After all, it’s only one meal, and consistency always trumps intensity. If you take care of yourself on a daily basis (even if you haven’t been so good about it lately), your body will normalize quickly. Our bodies WANT to be healthy and fit, you just have to remove the obstacles to achieve it.
Have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving, enjoy the time with family and friends, and we hope to see you back here soon!