Your Post-Thanksgiving Workout Plan
The Damage is Done; Now What?
Turkey, potatoes, and pie—oh my! Thanksgiving has come and gone, but the few extra pounds you packed on in the process haven’t. With dish after dish of mouthwatering food in front of you, turning down holiday goodies can be challenging even for the most disciplined person.
Steer yourself back on course with this handy guide to bouncing back from a holiday binge.
Step 1: Be Gentle With Yourself
Don’t beat yourself up for overeating. Lay the groundwork for success by congratulating yourself for putting a post-Thanksgiving workout plan in place today.
Healthy action: Don’t wait for the new year to make changes to your food and fitness habits. Starting now can lead to benefits you’ll enjoy for the rest of the holiday season and will make resolutions easier to keep.
Step 2: Clear the Holiday Fridge
The feast is over, but the fridge is still full. If you hosted a dinner party, your refrigerator may be brimming with high-fat, high-calorie leftovers—particularly desserts. You need to start with a clean slate.
Healthy action: Instead of letting leftovers linger, pack them up for guests to take home or take them to a homeless shelter immediately after the holiday.
Step 3: Stock Up on Smart Choices
Once your shelves have been cleared of temptations, it’s time to bring in the good stuff. Replace the holiday fare with healthier, low-calorie options. Be sure to include a good mix of the following food items:
- vegetables (especially leafy greens)
- low-fat meats and dairy products
- whole-grain bread and grains
- nuts, legumes, and seeds
Healthy action: Turn to these instead of pie with whipped cream when you need a nosh. The sooner you make the switch, the easier it will be to lose any weight you’ve gained.
Step 4: Limit Trips and Treats
To get back into healthy habits, you need to cut back on calories and special-occasion meals. Restaurant food tends to be high in salt, fat, and calories—the very things you’re trying to avoid. It’s much easier to control your eating habits at home
Healthy action: If you dine out often, try to reduce your restaurant trips in the coming months. To keep calories down, limit your dessert intake as well.
Step 5: Commit to an Exercise Class
If you’ve packed on extra calories, you’ll need to apply an extra “burn.” What better way to torch that spare tire than by getting into the routine of a new activity? Group exercise classes, offered at most gyms, give you an extra boost of motivation.
Healthy action: Sign up for something you’ve never tried before—like Zumba or spinning—or stick to an old standby like aerobics. If you prefer outdoor workouts, take up cycling or hiking. Many group outings are available for these sports as well.
Step 6: Find a Workout Buddy
If you failed to use self-restraint over the holiday, chances are that some of your friends and colleagues did too. Instead of commiserating about it, why not plan your workouts together?
Knowing that you have a pal for support can help ensure that you don’t skip your workouts. Plus, your post-holiday workout buddy will likely be motivated by the same goal that you are: to get back on track to better health and fitness as soon as possible.
Healthy action: Extend an invitation to your friends to exercise with you.
It’s Not Too Late
You may have slipped up by chowing down a little too hard this Thanksgiving, but that’s not the worst you could do. The worst thing you can do to sabotage your fitness is throw in the towel.
Pull yourself up by the blackstrap molasses and get back into your workout routine today. Lean on others for support and mutual motivation and you’ll really have something to celebrate in the new year.