It's the time of the year to not only be with the ones you love but to also appreciate what you have. While holiday feasts are great, it's crucial that a cheat meal doesn't become a cheat weekend, and then a cheat month. Here are my five personal holiday hacks for keeping your fitness on track this Thanksgiving and throughout the season:
1. Eat normally
I think we've all tried to "save room" for a holiday meal by not eating a lot beforehand. But having a normal breakfast and lunch with small, healthy snacks before dinner will help keep you from feeling ravenous and going overboard. What's more, feeding your body throughout the day keeps your energy levels up, which helps burn more calories.
2. Stay hydrated
Drinking water is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health. It's no surprise then that it is just as important, if not more important, to drink water on Thanksgiving. Hydrating throughout the day and before a meal can make you feel less hungry, preventing you from overeating. It can also help reduce bloating afterward, and even speed up your metabolism to help burn off extra calories.
3. Savor every bite
When you savor each bite, not only are you able to appreciate the time and work that went into the dish, but you are also effectively preventing yourself from overeating. Most people on Thanksgiving eat as if it's a race, exceeding the amount of food their body actually needs or wants before their brain can even tell them to stop.
4. Listen to your body
When your body is full, stop eating. Take the time to enjoy your family and friend's company. This will give your brain enough time to receive the signal that it's full so you don't overeat. Studies have shown it takes up to 20 minutes for the brain to get the signal that the body is satiated. Often, we eat so fast that our brain doesn't receive the signal to stop until it's too late, and we're uncomfortably stuffed.
5. Hit the gym the very next day
No excuses! It's true -- cardio is excellent, and you should aim for 30 minutes. But the day after a more substantial meal is the perfect time to weight train or do some high impact athletic training like boxing.
Remember that it's progress, not perfection. If you end up indulging a little too much on Thanksgiving, don't beat yourself up. After all, it's only one day. Just get right back up and be ready to hit the gym hard the following day.
Follow Annie Parker on Instagram (@msannieparker).