Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays: a time of celebration with Friends, Family, and Feasting!!
We don’t want to worry with our weight or dieting. Yet on the other hand, overindulging can make us very uncomfortable, especially if we forget to wear those pants with the stretchy waistband. This event can set the pattern for six weeks of holiday overeating and dare I mention weight gain. A 2014 study found that particularly heavy meals also can quadruple the risk of a heart attack, especially those with elevated risk factors.
Here are some TIPS to enjoy a more balanced and healthier holiday:
1. GET OUT FOR A WALK. Starting the day with a walk or a turkey trot is a great way to get the metabolism going before the feast. Studies suggest that exercising within 12 hours before a meal can prevent one of the most damaging effects–a post-meal spike in a type of fat called triglycerides. If you can’t do a morning outing, fitting a walk in between dinner and dessert is also great – it will also help boost digestion. If you can’t get out for a walk after the meal – at least get up and do dishes. Not only will your hosts appreciate it, you will burn some calories (60 calories per half hour), and standing also aids digestion. Research shows that the person who does the dishes in the house tends to be less likely to gain weight. Anything is better for your digestion than lying on the couch!
2. HYDRATE. Thirst can sometimes be confused as hunger. When we are drinking enough water, we feel better and digest our food better. An 8 oz glass of water before a big meal can help to prevent overeating. Large amounts of fluids during a meal may dilute much needed digestive acids, interfering with proper digestion.
3. SKIP THE SECONDS. Serve yourself a small amount of everything that you like, and don’t go back for seconds – you won’t feel deprived, but will reduce the total amount of food that your body needs to digest. You won’t feel super bloated at the end of the evening, and it can lessen the load on your heart.
4. CHOOSE YOUR DESSERT WISELY. Even if you didn’t go overboard on the Thanksgiving dinner, the dessert can really send you off the deep end. Pecan pie is perhaps the worst of all Thanksgiving finales – just 1 slice has more than 500 calories, 9 teaspoons of added sugars, and 21 grams of fat. While Apple pie weighs in at 400 calories a slice and the winner for “Healthy Desserts “is Pumpkin Pie at 300 calories and lots of Vitamin A. Of course, whipped cream and ice cream toppers all contribute to the calorie tally.
5. PRACTICE GRATITUDE. The sweet potatoes, turkey and cranberry, and pumpkin pie is not the only part of Thanksgiving that I love. At the beginning of our little feast, everyone takes a turn sharing what we are most thankful for. The children and adults get excited as they express their gratitude. Scientists have found that “habitually focusing on and appreciating the positive aspects of life is associated with well-being.” I call it an Attitude of Gratitude.
Thanksgiving dinner prepared with love and sharing with friends and family all that we are thankful for is all we really need to celebrate Thanksgiving. (Well, maybe have some digestive enzymes on hand – just in case)
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever”.
That’s what Thanksgiving is after all!!
– Mary Hand, Oasis Coordinator