How to get back on track after Thanksgiving

We have all done it – the promise to not overeat, the promise of just one piece of pie and the promise to get right to the gym the day after Thanksgiving instead of hitting the stores. If you stuck to these promises you have a head start. If not, do not dismay! While sticking to the promises may have given you a head start, it is more important what you do from this point.

Let’s start with the first promise: not to overeat. Really, are you going to beat yourself up over the fact that you enjoyed yourself and celebrated in a way the entire country has been brought up to follow? So what if you took a few more pieces of turkey or a couple extra scoops of stuffing. If you feel like you overate during the holiday, just put yourself back onto the meal plan you would usually follow during the regular year. One day of over-indulgence will not destroy you. It takes a frequent and repetitive pattern of overeating to make a serious negative impact on your health. If you feel really guilty, throw in an extra five minutes of low-intensity cardio.

Promise #2 has an inherent issue: no one eats just one piece of pie. Even if you ate one piece for the big dinner, there is probably a half a pie (along with all the other leftovers) sitting in your kitchen calling your name. Here are some pointers for the leftovers:

  1. 1. Take the sweets (pies, etc.) and divide them into 2” squares. Eat no more than one square per day. Even better, freeze them and only take them out one per week.
  2. 2. Work non-sweets (turkey, stuffing, etc) into your meal plan at moderation. Refrigerate them to make them last longer so you do not feel obliged to eat them all quickly.
  3. 3. Spread them around. Give them to family members as they are leaving so you are not stuck with all the food in your home.

Getting to the gym the day after Thanksgiving is our third promise. If you feel this absolutely necessary, go ahead and do it. Do not forget the importance of rest and relaxation, though. If you have family around or things to do, take a day off! You may say that you took the day before off as well, but, yes, you can take two days off. Just relax, enjoy yourself or go for a walk and enjoy nature. Rest and relaxation is just as important as hitting the gym – your body will thank you and you will be ready to start up again full throttle!

Always remember that minor setbacks are not uncommon. While they may make you feel discouraged, pick yourself up and keep on pushing. There is no reason to be upset if you choose to enjoy yourself over a holiday. Take time, relax, and whatever you do, do it in moderation. You can pick back up right where you left off before the big day.

*This post was authored by Christopher Downey.