Happy Thanksgiving! (17 Tips To Splurge WITHOUT The Weight Gain…)
I’m the LAST person to tell you to eat a bucket of kale and just suck it up on Thanksgiving.
Food is AWESOME – and there’s nothing I love more than cooking splendid meals with my beloved husband and family.
But I have cracked the code to eating freely on Thanksgiving WITHOUT the weight gain.
Yes – I said SPLURGE without the weight gain!
“But Stephanie…” You might be thinking. “What’s wrong with a few extra pounds during the holidays?”
Here are the startling facts. They’re real downers – but don’t worry – I’ll have some GREAT tips to follow!
When Holiday Weight Gain Is Scary…
Gaining weight during the holidays is actually a pretty DANGEROUS prospect.
Did you know that people may gain between seven and TEN pounds during the holiday season?
In fact, The New England Journal of Medicine even indicates that most people won’t lose a single POUND of the weight they gain during the holidays.
Are YOU 5, 10, or even 15 pounds heavier that you were just a few years ago?
This may be due to accumulated Holiday Weight Gain!
A lead researcher at the University of Oklahoma claims that Thanksgiving kicks off a “high risk” time for people who are already overeat.
People virtually BINGE at Holiday Gatherings… and this period goes on through the New Year!
Have you heard of the “Merry Christmas Coronary”, or the “Happy Hanukkah Heart Attack”?
According to a study with researchers at Circulation, emotional stress and overindulgence may be the reason that cardiac problems skyrocket during the holiday season – especially on Christmas Day!
Overeating puts undue stress on your heart. Plus, too much salt and alcohol weakens it even more…
Binge drinking may lead to atrial fibrillation, which can lead to stroke, heart attack, and even heart failure.
Here are 20 AMAZING Tips To Help You DEFEAT Holiday Weight Gain, without denying yourself of delicious foods!
Workout when you wake up on Thanksgiving to create a caloric deficit – helping you burn off extra calories before you indulge.
Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, and former president of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) says, “eat less and exercise more’ is the winning formula to prevent weight gain during the holidays,”.
My all-time favorite holiday exercise?
Taking friends and family on hikes through the stunning Colorado mountains!
The photo above is my gorgeous poodles and I on a hike with family just a few weeks ago!
2. Incorporate Family Into Your Fitness…
Find a way to make a walk a part of your festivities.
Then take your favorite Aunt or family member out for a walk in the evening after dinner.
Getting the family in on fitness is a great way to spend time together while effortlessly burning calories.
3. Drink SlimTea First Thing When You Wake Up…
The benefit to this is three-fold.
First, drinking 100% Organic Oolong on an empty stomach stimulates your metabolism.
Plus, Oolong in the morning helps stimulate digestion – helping you feel lighter and more confident throughout the day.
What’s more, SlimTea helps increase your energy expenditure by up to 43% – making it easier for you to fit in those pre-meal burpees, long-distance jogs, or even pepped up morning walks to start the day off on the “right foot”. 😉
4. But DON’T Skip Breakfast!
You may think it’s a good idea to fast until dinner.
(I used to do this too – trust me – it’s not good for weight loss.)
Experts say that eating a small meal in the morning actually helps stimulate your metabolism while helping you have MORE control over your appetite throughout the day.
My favorite fat-loss breakfast is my Holiday Frittata. (Don’t waste the yolks! You’ll be starving right away if you only eat the whites – and you’ll miss out on all the delicious nutrients your body needs!!)
5. Learn How To Make Substitutions For Slimming…
It’s easy to say, “cut the fat, sugar, and calories!”
Well… easier said than done!
My favorite trick for cutting calories is to make substitutions, rather than make my food more bland.
For instance, I love to use soaked, pureed cashews in place of cream in soups. (It really works!)
Instead of mayonnaise, use protein-packed yogurt in your dips.
OR, make your own homemade mayonnaise without all the nasty chemicals.
Don’t ditch sweetness – but learn to make substitutions for healthier options.
Instead of dried fruit on salads (usually riddled with chemicals, preservatives, and sugars!), I love to thinly slice natural dates in salads.
You also don’t NEED to brine turkey in tons of butter or drown your foods with oil.
In fact, “there is more sugar and fat in most recipes than is needed, and no one will notice the difference if you skim calories by using lower calorie ingredients,” according to expert Connie Diekman.
6. Curb Carb Cravings BEFORE You Indulge
I keep Slim Tea Capsules in my purse at ALL TIMES.
Taking one capsule 15 minutes before a meal CURBS carb cravings.
SlimTea Capsules also rev up your metabolism for increased fat burning.
Our capsules are some of the BEST, 100% NATURAL ways to kill cravings and melt belly fat.
In fact, one Oolong Slimming Tea Capsule has nearly TEN TIMES the powerful fatburning polyphenols of green tea!
Busy days don’t always allow for a nice, relaxing cup of Oolong Tea. But there’s ALWAYS time to take advantage of our revolutionary tea capsules.
Get yours here today so that they arrive before the holiday parties begin!
7. Portion Control Is Key…
I normally don’t count calories and I never really worry about portion control
I eat slowly – which helps my brain register when I’m full.
But Thanksgiving is a key time to use portion control.
Trying a serving of everything will probably result in overeating.
Instead – try a large bite of everything you want to try – and take super small portions of that small bite!
“Don’t waste your calories on foods that you can have all year long. Fill your plate with small portions of holiday favorites that only come around once a year so you can enjoy desirable, traditional foods,” says Diekman.
Bring Your Own Food.
There are two benefits to contributing to the meal, whether it’s at your house or at the home of a loved one.
It’s polite to contribute to the meal!
I always make sure to bring a whopping bowl of spinach with me so that I can eat a bite of spinach in between each bite of other food – which fills me up fast!
One of my favorite snacks to bring to the holidays is a seafood platter with shrimp, gluten-free low-sugar cocktail sauce, grilled calamari, and even some fish roe that I get for a reasonable price at a local Asian foods store.
If you’re attending the party of a more “beer-n-brats” type gathering, bring something low-key that people can still slather in their chemical-laden Ranch dressing.
Veggie platters don’t have to be the overpriced grocery store version with fatty, sugary salad dressings in the middle. Head to the local organics section for Belgium Endive, Snap Peas, Baby Zucchini, Asparagus in every color… and Radishes!
9. Juice Before Getting Loose…
My sister Val is notorious for stopping at the coffee shop for a hot tea with milk or a latte before holiday gatherings.
A professional dancer for many years, she was under intense pressure to keep her tummy taut throughout the season.
This has become one of my favorite tricks for holiday healthfulness!
I stop at the Whole Foods or local juice bar before attending a party to get a nice green juice.
I sip the juice before arriving so that I won’t be hungry during the snacking phase of a party. I may nibble on some olives, veggies, or protein-packed mixed nuts, but it keeps me satisfied until the main meal is served.
This can save hundreds of calories!
When I’m really in a rush, I arrive at the party empty-handed, but request a cup of hot water for my SlimTea and sip that for an hour or so in order to pace myself for the long, food-filled parties my family throws.
10. Don’t Deny Yourself!
Who am I to turn my nose at fine champagne or my Aunt Diana’s mouth-watering meatballs?
And nothing can keep me away from my Grandma’s Homemade Ravioli or my Mom’s Famous Breakfast Casserole. But instead of twelve raviolis, I fill my plate with salad and have one piece of each filling. (One ricotta, one beef. Mmmm…. ravioli.)
Instead of several slices of my dad’s to-die-for homemade bread, I eat the crusty end of the loaf – my favorite part, and a decidedly smaller piece than one from the massive gooey middle of the bread.
The key to splurging smartly is portion control.
I don’t go back to the crock pot with my toothpick four or five times for meatballs.
Instead I take one, try a reasonable bit – savor that bite and let my mouth and taste buds enjoy the fatty meat and fruity sugars – and share the rest.
I’ve never had a problem taking half-portions or small bites of anything.
In fact, you enjoy the food MORE when you savor each bite slowly than if you scarf down seventeen meatballs.
Instead of a glass of champagne every hour – I’ll have a half a glass for dessert. That way I’m enjoying 50 calories of a sugary drink instead of 700 calories of French Silk pie.
And frankly, I prefer to “drink my dessert” as it is!
11. Choose Your Battles… (Mind Trick!)
There are some foods that I absolutely won’t touch at parties. Fried foods. I have a firm line on that one.
It’s good to use a bit of discretion – or even to be resolute about certain foods. There’s something wickedly cool that happens in the brain when you make a choice. When you willfully choose to do something – your brain is filled with chemicals that fill you with a sense of reward.
The more we practice the art of willfully choosing a course of action – or saying “no” to foods that nobody should ever eat – like Velveeta cheese dips – the easier it becomes to practice self-control on a regular basis.
If you have ever suffered from addiction, you know that until you cultivate these higher self-control processes, you feel like a an teenager on the school yard who falls into smoking or drinking habits – it’s harder to say no to things when you haven’t practiced.
Your brain – and your body – will become stronger with each good choice you make.
I find that most parties, weddings, and celebrations tend to provide an abundance of drinks with high-sugar, empty calories, and inevitable hangovers!
My trick is to show up with a nice bottle of wine (or two) – something that’s a treat even for me to drink.
Then I’ll set it on the counter and let it breathe for 30 minutes or so.
If you start the celebration off with a sugary drink such as a martini or champagne right away, this has a few really negative side effects…
- Sugary drinks spike insulin levels. When you have excess insulin levels in your blood – your brain signals your body to pick up fat cells from the bloodstream in order to store more energy. That’s why sugar is your worst enemy for fat loss – an excess of sugar = excessive fat storage.
- Alcohol affects your judgment – if you drink on an empty stomach you’re more likely to drink more, and use less discretion with your food choices!
- Eating sugar doesn’t satisfy you – in fact when you eat an excess of sugar – your brain doesn’t pick up on the fact that you have enough energy in your body and are full. Therefore, you overeat.
My tip is to sip a delicious wine and really focus on it’s flavors, aromas, and texture. Wine has unbelievable health benefits, such as antioxidants and the resveratrol in wine is linked to a healthier heart.
Not a fan of wine? There are a plethora of other low-sugar options in my Holiday Cookbook – available FREE for a limited time.
Best yet – almost every one of our alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages can be prepared with SlimTea!
13. Use Your Guests To Divert Your Attention From Food
My favorite way to divert my attention from food and booze at a party is to play with kids.
I have tons of cousins and it’s easy to spend hours running around, playing games, or throwing a ball with them.
In Chicago one of my favorite holiday pastimes is getting bundled up and creating a snowman with the kids.
It’s amusing for the guests – and it’s an incredible workout.
In Texas where I live now – it’s almost always perfect weather for a walk.
Make a game of it: take a group with you to have a holiday scavenger hunt or sing a carol to your favorite neighbor who lives a few blocks away.
Dig up your dad’s old Radio Flyer sled and trek to a hill near the house.
BONUS: The parents will love you for minding the little ones for a bit while they relax and enjoy the holiday.
And the kids will think you’re the bee’s knees for years to come.
It’s rare to find a dip that isn’t loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, and preservatives.
One way to stay on-track with your holiday is to avoid dips altogether.
Ketchup, dressings, barbecue sauces, and cheese dips are the nastiest offenders.
Instead of dunking your veggies into a bath of chemicals, bring an organic hummus on-hand that will give you protein, vitamins, and is just as satisfying on your veggies.
Opt for mustard instead of ketchup on your grilled foods and if the menu calls for steak sauce or barbecue – find a special gluten-free one and offer it as a gift to the host or hostess.
One trick I use when going to a barbecue is to find a fancy, $8.00 bottle of sauce that is locally made, organic, and gluten-free.
Now you don’t look like you’re not gracious to your host – you’re presenting your healthier option as a gift to the party-thrower!
BETTER YET – make fresh, gluten-free homemade dips.
Loading up on turkey and salad is the easy part of a healthy holiday meal.
But what if you’re suddenly confronted with a room full of ice cream, pies, cakes, candies, and coffee drinks?
This is one of the easiest ways to take an otherwise healthy meal and blow it.
My trick has become a fun game for the whole family.
Everybody wants to try every treat – but it seems like each family brings enough dessert to feed the whole party!
That’s when we cut a couple slices of each desert and put them on plates with a few forks around each plate.
Now I’ll taste my Mom’s homemade pies while also getting a reasonable bite of my Uncle’s authentic cannoli too.
Or if there’s just one dessert you must have – cut yourself a mini-slice and slowly savor each bite.
You may find that the first bit is out of the world – and by the end you’ve spent so much time savoring and appreciating the dessert that you don’t need to finish it!
16. Make Post-Holiday Plans…
My father loves to make post-holiday plans that keep him and my mom on track the day after a party – when most people want to sleep in and gorge themselves with leftover turkey or fried eggs and toast in front of a football game.
My family, however, started a tradition of going on a hike the day after the holiday.
We all pile into cars and trek a few hours south of where they live to hike trails.
It gives us a reason to burn beaucoup calories – and spend quality time together as a family.
Nobody associates it with working out – everybody sees this as a cherished family adventure.
Plan an activity the day after your holiday that will inevitably get you back on track with your weight loss goals, and provide you with quality family time.
17. RELAX A Little!
If you’re preoccupied with thoughts of calories and weight loss, your holiday will be anything BUT merry.
If you enter the holidays feeling confident about your workout routine, weight loss successes, and realistic about your goals; you will BE stronger. At the bottom of every email I write is this quote:
“A Person Is Limited Only By The Thoughts That He Chooses” ~James Allen
Go into your holiday season envisioning all the ways you will stay fit, and merry!
Visualize yourself using all these tricks to conquer the food frenzies.
Envision yourself going to bed at night after the holiday party and feeling fit, sober, and satisfied.
Know that you have already maintained your weight loss goals over the holiday season… you’re just waiting for the universe to catch up to what you’ve already accomplished.
REMEMBER: If you believe it, you WILL achieve it!
(I’m so grateful for you!)