How to Enjoy Thanksgiving Regret Free

photo-1456404823214-a69ef7a1fae5Thanksgiving is next week, so we thought we would give you a few tips on how to avoid the regret you may feel on Black Friday.  No, we are not talking about the “I spent too much money on Black Friday” regret (that’s a different story), but rather the “I ate too much food yesterday” regret. Below are a few tips to keep in mind while you are preparing yourself for the holiday season:

Create a caloric deficit by increasing your regular exercise routine during the week. When preparing to consume the holiday meal you can increase your exercise routine during the week, work out the morning before the chaos begins and/or plan to exercise the day after. Exercise will increase your heart rate it will have you feeling better about yourself and not as guilty when you eat a piece of pumpkin pie.  You may want to bring a friend or family member so you don’t have to exercise alone.

Eat a healthy, balanced breakfast. This is an important habit for everyday life, but it is particularly important over the holidays. Eating a healthy, balanced breakfast can help reduce cravings later in the day and help you avoid overindulging at dinner.

Stay hydrated. Make sure you are well hydrated by drinking water throughout the week. It’s even more imperative to stay hydrated over the holidays if you plan to consume a few glasses of wine or a cocktail (or two). Remember that alcohol can be considered “empty” calories and too much can lead to dehydration. A general rule of thumb: for every alcoholic beverage, have one glass of water.

Don’t skip meals to “save up” or “create room” before the big holiday meal. This is never a good idea. Some people change their eating habits during the day so they can save room to indulge later, but this does not work. In most cases, you will consume more calories by “saving up” or “creating room” for your family feast. This is because by the time dinner arrives you will be so hungry that you eat faster not paying attention to fullness cues. Instead, eat a few small healthy meals throughout the day.

Use one plate and fill it up the smart way. What is the smart way to fill up your plate? When filling up your plate, first add the greens + veggies, second add the protein [turkey, which is a GREAT source of protein] and finally you can add your comfort foods. By filling up your plate in this manner, there shouldn’t be too much empty space for the less healthy (but very delicious) options. Additionally, only use one plate instead of two—rather than putting salad in a separate bowl (which is more common than you think), put the salad on your plate to fill that space.

Relax and focus on what really matters. What do you treasure most about the holiday season? Is it a time to spend with family and friends? A time to sleep in? A time to step away from work for a couple of days? Whatever it is, keep it in focus and don’t forget. Relax and enjoy your day in whatever way makes you happy.

When it comes to food don’t worry too much about overindulgence and the fear of weight gain, instead focus on making the healthiest choices at each meal. You don’t have to eat everything all in one sitting, have you ever heard of left overs? It’s equally as delicious. Focus on the positives that come from healthy eating. Know that it’s okay to enjoy some holiday favorites in reasonable amounts, because who wants to be overly restricted around the deliciousness of holiday goodies? Not me.