*Disclaimer: every year I update my blog post from the Odyssey –> How to stay fit and healthy on Thanksgiving to remind myself to have a healthy and happy holiday. This year, I have tweaked it again! Hopefully, you will find this post helpful and informative* <3
The holidays are coming and I don’t want to ruin my gains! This year, I have been laser focused on my health and especially my fitness. 2019 was a year of getting fit, cutting out meat, and easing my mind, but the Holidays are imposing a serious threat to my gains! So the big question is how do you stay fit and healthy during the holidays? First thing first……
What are gains?
Gains are progress that you have made in your diet, in the gym, or in your physique. For example:
After a few months of working out you can see muscle definition in your calf, back, arms, or legs. Your muscles are more defined or bigger than they were before.
In the fitness and bodybuilding world, the word gains or gain(z) is part of our vocabulary and gains are celebrated no matter how big or small.
Look at these GAINS:
I know you do not want to lose the gains you made over some macaroni and cheese and green bean casserole? Yes. No. I don’t know, maybe?
I hear you, food is too good and the holidays make food even better! The problem with the Holidays isn’t one day of overrating. This food frenzy can last from Halloween to Christmas! Think about the candy, the turkey, the pies, and the desserts. All that adds up! A couple of months of overeating can damage your fit and healthy goals.
If you are worried about overeating, I am here to help! All you need to do is fill your plate with veggies and eat more protein and don’t overeat! I’m going to go in depth with how you can do this below.
Although I’m a vegetarian (After 2020, I became a pescatarian again), thoughts of holiday turkey are still on my brain!
Before I became Fitsavvy, I used to be that person that ate too much, so much, my stomach would be pregnant with a food baby. If you had a food baby before, then you understand my pain. You can’t even look at food! Two years ago, I created a few tips to keep your gains and to prevent the overeating frenzy, but today, I have a new and improved list to help you stay fit and healthy during this holiday season!
1. Don’t starve yourself
Hey, this isn’t the 80s anymore! Please eat: starving yourself is not the solution! When you starve yourself, you become prone to binge eating. This is a cycle you do not want to get in! I know people that stay stuck in this cycle for years and can’t get out. Just say not to yo-yo dieting.
2. Fill up on Protein
Protein is your saving grace. Protein keeps you full and satisfied. Instead of picking pasta and casseroles for your plate, pick lean (unfried) chicken or turkey and or tofu/tempeh. I would save the fatty meats for another holiday. Meats like ham and bacon are high in sodium and high in nitrates. Leave them out of this tradition if you can.
3. Balance out your plate
I’m not going to tell you what to eat, but I will offer you a few suggestions. On your plate, make sure you have 50% of dark leafy greens, 20 percent of starchy veggies and plant-based protein, and 30 % of pasta. Fruits and more vegetables are freebies! Dessert? pick the best two!
Start a Fit Holiday Tradition
Forget the traditions, have holiday spaghetti or a seafood boil instead! Have you seen the new social media challenges? Planksgivings? You can make fitness fun by participating in exercise challenges and inviting your friends/workout buddies.
If you can’t find time to workout, why not do something different like travel to a new place or country! In 2018, I went to London for Thanksgiving! I didn’t eat Turkey, but I had a ball. In 2019, I participated in a planksgiving challenge at the gym.
The Shard, London UK , November 2018
Find a Healthy Substitute.
List of substitutions for recipes:
- Plant based milk for regular milk (1:1 ratio)
- Cashew, coconut, or oat milk for creamy milk alternatives
- Unsweetened applesauce for oil (1 cup of oil = 1/2 cup of applesauce 1/2 cup of oil)
- Olive oil for Canola oil (1:1 ratio)
- Butter for Cream Crock (1:1 ratio)
- Vegan butter for butter (1:1 ratio)
- Crushed fiber cereals, hemp seeds, or barley for bread crumbs (add seasonings and herbs, if you don’t like cereal try wheat crackers)
- Use garlic powder/pink salt for regular salt
- Maple syrup for a natural vegan sweetener
- Swap Paleo flour for white/wheat flour.
Save the seconds for later.
If you haven’t learned anything from me by reading this post, remember this advice:
You don’t have to eat all your food in one day!
You can eat tomorrow. Save the rest for later or at another date. This is a simple tactic I learned in college.
Healthy Food Choices .
Turkey (white meat), roast beef, sweet potatoes, raw veggies and dips, green beans, collard greens (vegan), sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, butternut squash, corn bread, whole-wheat rolls, cranberries, roasted root vegetables, vegetable casseroles, apples, chutneys, wild rice, and cranberry sauce (no sugar added).
Holiday Health tip: Add different recipes from cultures around the world to spice up your Thanksgiving*
- Unsalted chicken stock for chicken stock
- Vegetable stock for chicken or beef stock
- Whole wheat rolls instead of white
- Potatoes for rice
- Cook greens with a turkey leg instead of pork for greens and veggies (It’s a Southern thing)
- Cook greens and veggies without meat
- Use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for vegans use Kite Hill dairy free products
The Do’s and Don’ts of Turkey Day
- Drink more water to flush the toxins out your system. If water is not your thing, sip on unsweetened tea, coffee, or my favorite: carbonated water. (Yoga is great for detoxing your body as well)
- After you feast, go on a walk with your family for 20mins- 1hr. This will help with digestion (any family activity will do such as basketball, dancing, ice skating, etc)
- Pick one: casserole or macaroni and cheese
- Top your food on top of each other. If it doesn’t fit on the plate, it doesn’t work
- Beat yourself up about your food choices
- Wear loose fitting clothing (you’ll tend to eat more with clothes that are loose rather than more fitted)
- Starve yourself till dinner time
- Eat past overeating
- Eat standing up