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5 Ways to Minimize Damage from a Holiday Meal

Posted by Trainer Aaron on November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving is coming up tomorrow, and everyone is getting ready for a great meal. However, recent studies have shown that the average American will consume between 3000-4000 calories over the course of a Thanksgiving Day. If you want to be able to enjoy your Thanksgiving, and minimize damage to your waistline, then here are a few tips for you. These tips are great for any holiday or event where you might be expected to eat a lot.

1. Workout with weights the day before. When you lift weights, a couple things will happen that will work in your favor. First is that your metabolism will stay elevated for up to 3 days following a good resistance training workout. Workout for 2 or 3 days in a row, and that effect will compound. You’ll become a calorie burning machine within just a couple days. Also, when your body is repairing muscle, that requires calories. The more calories that are being used in the repair process, the fewer are left to become fat. A good 30-45 minutes the day before focusing on big muscle groups will help you a lot. And if you have time, maybe a mid-morning workout on the day of the feast can help too.

2. Be really good with your diet on the days leading up. The more often you “cheat,” the more you’ll cheat yourself. If you only cheat one or two meals per week, you’ll actually help your body lose weight by boosting your thyroid, which boosts your metabolism. So for at least 3 days before the holiday meal, be really good with your diet, and the one meal won’t hurt you. It may in fact help. Click here to see our rules for a good cheat meal.

3. Eat a high protein breakfast. When you eat a high protein breakfast, like the meat and nut breakfast, you set your body up for a good day. Not only do people find that they are more productive, but they are also better able to handle food cravings. Studies have shown that when people eat a high protein breakfast, they will eat fewer calories over the course of the day.

4. Eat more protein and veggies at your thanksgiving meal, and always eat them first. Protein and veggies burn hotter than sugars and starches. What this means is that it actually takes more calories to digest protein and veggies than it takes to digest sugars and starches. Also, high protein foods promote the release of the hormones that tell you you’re satisfied. If you eat more protein and veggies, and eat them first, you’ll have less room left for the “not-so-good foods” and you’ll get full sooner, which means you’ll eat less. This is a great way to be satisfied from a meal, and still have “portion control.”

5. Make sure it only lasts one day.
The biggest problem with “cheat days” and holiday meals, is not the meal itself, but the fact that once people start down that road, they don’t come back. So everyday becomes a cheat day. If you really want to minimize the damage from a holiday meal, the leave them only for the holidays. The day after, you’re back to normal. Holiday meals should be the exception, not the rule. The problem is that they’re the rule for too many.

Follow those few tips, and you’ll be surprised how little your Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other holiday meal will hurt you. Do things really well and you can actually help yourself in the long run.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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