By: Beth Flory, Co-Owner, Pole Kisses, Bungee and Aerial Fitness, November 20, 2023
It is the most wonderful time of the year… for food! Given that we are a gym for physical fitness, it seems logical that I write a post about healthy habits during the holiday season. There is always a balance between enjoying the bounty of the season to the fullest and feeling guilty about potentially putting on 10 lbs. Every year is an internal battle between wanting to maintain my waistline and loving another slice of pumpkin pie with extra whipped cream. Not to mention, there are so many conflicting messages about fad diets; it can be overwhelming. Here is the reality: unless you have the self-control of steel, you are probably going to overindulge. Here are some tips that I have read and tried that will both keep your spirits high and be guilt free this thanksgiving:
- Keep your body active. Try to attend your regular fitness classes as often as possible. If you are traveling to a city with a pole or aerial fitness gym, think about how much fun it would be to take a class from a different studio! Maybe even invite a family member to join the fun. If no classes are available, walking is a wonderful way to stay active and see the sights on your holiday vacation. You can find lots of excuses to take a walk. Offer to take the family dog for a stroll. Has Grandma lost mobility? She might love a push around the neighborhood in her wheelchair. Maybe your sister needs a break from the baby, so load baby into the stroller and go for a stroll. Take a walk with your favorite cousin to catch up on family gossip or throw in your earbuds and go alone for a little reprieve from the drama.
- Focus on your favorite dishes and skip the rest. I stopped eating dinner rolls years ago; they filled me up without adding anything special to the meal. Thank about, “do I really love this, or am I just going through the motions of filling my plate?”
- Portion control is key! How many times have you loaded your plate with each side dish and ended up with no room? Try taking half or even a third of the normal portion.
- Practice mindfulness and savor your food. I’m just going to be real. Once I see the bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy, it’s like my brain dissociates from reality. Before I know it, I’ve cleaned the plate and am going for seconds. Have I really enjoyed the meal? Slow down, savor each and every bite, and think about how much you care about the person who made this wonderful dish. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full, so the slower you eat, the more likely your body will tell you to stop.
- Don’t finish it if you don’t like it or if you are full. I know most of us grew up being lectured about finishing our plates. (Another reason to take small amounts in the first place.) Do you feel guilty if Aunt Sally sees you dumping her overcooked corn casserole? Put yourself first, and if necessary, wait until Aunt Sally goes to the bathroom to toss your plate.
- If you are the cook this year, think about switching up some of your side dishes with healthier options. Because my family lives out of state, I have had the blessing of eating at many different tables. I appreciate seeing a beautiful salad or lovely appetizer that is full of nutrients. I am sure your guest will feel the same way. Here are some fun options from “Eat This Not That”: 30 Twists on Thanksgiving Recipes — Eat This Not That
Remember, we are all human. Our instincts love to feast, so don’t torture yourself with self-loathing inner dialogue if you eat a second piece of sweet potato pie. Enjoy your time with family and friends and go back to your healthy lifestyle tomorrow. Keep in mind, stress increases cortisol levels, which can also lead to weight gain. Don’t stress out too much, because every day is a new day! Let’s enjoy a guilt free Thanksgiving together.
To our staff and students and Pole Kisses: You are amazing, and we are so grateful for you all! Happy Thanksgiving!