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Your Post-Thanksgiving Workout Plan

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  • The damage is done; now what?

    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

    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 diet and fitness habits. Starting now can lead to benefits you’ll enjoy for the rest of the holiday season, and it will make resolutions easier to keep.

  • Step 2: Clear the holiday fridge

    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

    Step 3: Stock up on smart choices

    Once your shelves have been cleared of temptations, it’s time to bring in the healthy alternatives. Replace the holiday fare with healthier, low-calorie options, and be sure to include a good mix of the following food items:

    • fruits
    • vegetables (especially leafy greens)
    • low-fat meats and dairy products
    • whole-grain bread and grains
    • fish
    • nuts
    • legumes
    • seeds

    Healthy action: Next time you hear your stomach grumbling, turn to these healthy foods instead of pie with whipped cream. The sooner you make the switch, the easier it will be to lose any weight you’ve gained.

  • Step 4: Limit trips and treats

    Step 4: Limit trips and treats

    To get back into healthy habits, you need to cut back on calories and special-occasion meals, which may mean staying home instead of going out. 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 frequently, try to reduce your restaurant trips in the coming months. To keep calories down, limit your intake of high-calorie appetizers and desserts. If you absolutely must dine out, avoid fried foods by choosing the grilled option, and cut calories in half by asking for sauces and dressings on the side. Get a doggie bag before you start, and bag up half the portion for a later time. 

  • Step 5: Commit to an exercise class

    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 barre classes, or stick to an old standby like spinning. 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

    Step 6: Find a workout buddy

    If you went a bit overboard 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. This makes the activity more social and allows you and your buddy to hold each other accountable for the goals you’ve set. This will make your chances of success even higher. 

  • It’s not too late

    It’s not too late

    You may have slipped up by overindulging 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 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.