10 tips to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal without guilt!

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Listen up, friends. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and a lot of people feel some anxiety when it comes to that big old dinner they’re about to eat. If you’re on some kind of serious fitness path and/or diet, you probably think that you have only two options when it comes to your holiday meal:

  1. Don't eat any of it.
  2. Eat all of it.

You may think that it is not possible to find yourself somewhere in between the two with all of the temptations in front of your face.

There is a way, and we will give you some tips.

First, though, let’s start out with a fact. Did you know that the average American has the opportunity to consume more than 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving day alone, between snacking and that all glorious turkey day meal? That’s right. 4,500 calories. That’s waaaaay more than double the recommended allowance for the majority of average Americans with average activity levels. Add into that little fact something else…The Calorie Control Council estimates that somewhere around 2,061 calories of that 4,500 are made up of fats (around 229 grams, to be specific). That’s just crazy talk. That fat intake alone is about three and a half times the normal daily intake!

Let that sink in for a hot second. 

We at Underground Fitness LA firmly believe that the holidays are about family, friends, appreciation and relaxation. 

We don’t believe that the holidays are about guilt, food deprivation, over-exercising. 

So how do you get over those hurdles? You need to get yourself into the right mindset, baby.

As a great and (formerly) all-powerful little lady tribe once said...

I’m a survivor. I’m not gon’ give up. I’m not gon’ stop. I’m gon’ work harder. I’m a survivor. I’m gonna make it. I will survive. Keep on surviving.
— Destiny's Child

How that quote relates, we’re not entirely sure. But you need to make decisions that are a tiny bit better.

Here are the top 10 tips from Underground Fitness LA on how to battle the Thanksgiving food guilt (when it comes to overeating or depriving yourself):

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Chill out.

It’s a holiday and you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself, right?

Chances are you're not working, your family is at home, you're more likely than not going to some big ol' dinner at someone's house (or maybe you're hosting it yourself).

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Eat breakfast. That’s right. If you’re a breakfast skipper, eat a full breakfast in the morning. Make sure you have carbs and protein in there. 

We’re not going to lecture you right now about why you should be eating breakfast daily. It’s not the time nor the place. But starting your day with breakfast is a great way to keep that hunger under control.

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Do something active early in your day.

Whether that’s taking a group fitness class (WE’RE GOING TO HAVE ONE, Y’ALL! CHECK THE BOTTOM OF THE POST IF YOU'RE A DIXIE PARENT!), going for a walk outside, doing an exercise program at home, or dancing around with your kid for 25-30 minutes, move your body.

No excuses. That turkey cooks for a long time. You’re not fooling anyone when you say you're too busy.

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Eat a snack in between breakfast and lunch.

And then eat another snack in between lunch and your big old feast!

Make sure your breakfast, snacks, and lunch are filled with healthy choices.

If you’re one of those people who has to justify things to yourself, there ya go. Eat “healthier” during the day and then indulge a bit more at dinner.

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Drink your water.

All day, throughout the day.

Drink that water.

Aside from the fact that hydration is important, water helps keep you satiated.

At dinner, drinks sips of water occasionally in between every few bites of food. 

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Use your hand to control your protein portion at dinner. We don’t mean by lifting a spoon. Literally, take a look right now at your hand!

Ladies, you’re going to look at the size of your palm from the base of your fingers and thumb, all of the way around in a circle. When you make your plate, take a portion of protein (turkey, ham, etc) the size and thickness of your thumb and slap that stuff down on your plate. Gentlemen, you get two palm-sized portions.

If you really love Thanksgiving day turkey like I do, and you made sure to follow point #3 above and did some kind of exercise, go ahead and add another 1/2 of your palm of protein. BAM.

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Use your hand to control your veggie portion at dinner.

Take that hand of yours and ball it up into a fist. If there are grilled veggies or steamed veggies on the table, take a full fist-sized portion of those veggies and drop those babies down onto your plate. Men? Two fists. WHAMMO!

Veggies! They’ve got fiber, which is not only good for the aftermath of Thanksgiving (sorry but true!), but they also help fill you up.

Note: We said grilled or steamed veggies. NOT creamed spinach or creamed corn or creamed any-kind-of-veggie. 

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Ladies, take that hand and cup it in front of you like you’re holding something very precious.

Guess what’s precious? Mashed potatoes, I say.

You’re going to take a cupped handful of your favorite carbs from the table and gently place them down on your plate. Guys? Two cupped handfuls. 

Stuffing? Carb. Mashed potatoes? Carb. Mac and Cheese? Carb. Yams? Carb. Fruit? Yep. Carb.

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And then use your hand to control the rest of the things that we all want to eat including (but obviously not limited to): green bean casserole, mac and cheese, scalloped potatoes, candied yams, jello, etc.

Take the tip of your index finger and bring it to the tip of your thumb, making a circle. See that circle? Take a portion size equivalent to that circle of whatever these things are from your table that you absolutely love and put them on your plate. Not only will your plate look pretty artsy if you do it the right way (and slightly OCD), but you’ll give yourself the chance to have some of everything that you want.

This includes desserts.

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Enjoy your food. Eat it slowly.

Enjoy every single bite. The faster you rush through your food, the more likely you are to run back and get seconds, suffer from a massive tummy ache, miss conversations that are happening, and feel bloated.

Also, the slower your eat your food, the more you’ll actually feel those fullness cues and prevent yourself from overeating. 

BOOM! Not too hard, right? Let’s recap:

Chill out.
Eat healthier throughout the day.
Do something active and get off of your butt before dinner.
Drink water.
Memorize your hand portion sizes.
Chew slowly. With your mouth shut, obviously. 

With all of these tips, we know that you'll be able to spend your holiday without shame, guilt or feeling deprived. Enjoy that Thanksgiving dinner. Life is about moderation, not deprivation!

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They're scheduled! Turkey Day Bootcamp will run at 6:30am with Kelly and 8:30am with Gen. Black Friday Bootcamp will be at 8:30am with both Kelly and Gen! 


Are you a fellow Dixie Dolphin Parent alongside Gen? If you were linked to this blog via the Dixie e-Blast, there should've been a nice little coupon code in there for our Thanksgiving and Black Friday classes!

See you at Winter Wonderland!

xoxo, Underground Fitness LA 

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