Written by Dr. Guillermo Escalante, DSc, MBA, ATC, CSCS, CISSN, your personal trainer in Upland and Claremont.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it is often the beginning of an avalanche made up of poor choices that may lead to unwanted weight gain. While the food, family, and friends are often the best part of the holidays, they could potentially wreak havoc around your waistline if you are not careful.

These 6 tips will help you come to the holiday armed to make better choices in order to help avoid unwanted results.

1. Tip #1: Do some exercise! Instead of making Thanksgiving a day off from your exercise routine, take care of your body and squeeze some exercise into your day. It might be better to do this first thing in the morning before the day gets too busy. Even a brisk 20-30 minute walk will help to stimulate your metabolism for the day. If you actually like to exercise, then perhaps challenge yourself to a longer 60 minute exercise session consisting of weight training (30-35 minutes) and high intensity interval training (25-30 minutes) where you do a more intense pace for your cardio for 30-60 seconds followed by an active recovery at a moderate pace for 2-3 minutes (repeat the interval until you complete the cardio session).

2. Tip #2: Eat A Good Breakfast! Your mother was right. Eating a well-balanced breakfast consisting of some protein (i.e. eggs/egg whites, cottage cheese, Greek Yogurt) and good carbs (i.e. oatmeal, fruit, whole wheat toast) is a great way to go. This will stimulate your metabolism for the day and set you up for success without having to binge eat when the Thanksgiving meal is served.

3. Tip #3: Eat About 2 Hours Before the Thanksgiving meal is served! Contrary to what you might think, it is better to eat before the big meal is served. It is wise to eat a small healthy snack such as a piece of fruit and half a handful of nuts. If you are not starving when all of the food is served, you will be less tempted to make poor choices.

4. Tip #4: Drink a 12 oz Glass of Water Before you eat your meal! Very often it is dehydration, not huger, that drives us to eat large quantities. Drinking a large glass of water before you eat might help you to curve your appetite.

5. Tip # 5: Minimize Alcohol Intake. Alcohol has calories too! There are more calories per gram of alcohol than there are per gram of carbs or protein (almost double!). Keeping your alcohol intake to 1-2 lower calorie spirits will help you keep your calories in check.

6. Tip #6: Eat what you like! Yes, enjoy all of your favorite foods. However, fill your plate primarily with salads (use dressing sparingly), white turkey breast, and veggies and consume these foods first. Then, go ahead and have a small portion of any of your other favorite foods. By this time, you will not be so hungry that you will overeat the less ideal food choices.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Edge Physical Therapy, Fitness, and Wellness Center

Upland Physical Therapist | Strength Training and Physical Therapy
Upland Physical Therapist Advice: Low Back Pain.

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