Thanksgiving Goodness Without the Guilt, How To Keep It Healthy & Happy.

Each year when Turkey Day rolls around, the majority of Americans eat until they feel like Joey Tribbiani wearing his Thanksgiving pants in the hit show Friends. The Calorie Control Council documents that Americans “may consume more than 4,500 calories and a whopping 229 grams of fat during Thanksgiving.” Consuming calories typically eaten across two days or more in just one is a sure-fire way to risk sending your health and wellness goals on vacation until the New Year.

Let’s face it– few people possess the discipline to vacuum up a Holiday meal of this proportion, then jump right back into eating and exercising for their goals. From Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving celebrations straight into December Holiday and New Year’s Eve parties, it can seem impossible to enjoy the season with loved ones, while keeping your fitness and nutrition goals in sight. Toss in the fact that you can easily camouflage a growing waistline with layers of clothing, and you’ve got a recipe for potential self-sabotage in your midst.

So, what can you do when friends and family come calling this year?

Option 1
You can devour each meal without boundaries from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. This seems like fun until the New Year rolls around, and you have 2 months of indulging to work off.

Option 2
You can deny yourself the liberty of partaking in food rituals at Holiday parties completely and feel left out. This is no fun and just might lead to a binge eating episode if you repeatedly ignore food cravings.

Option 3
Enjoy each celebration while keeping your health top priority. With a little planning, you can rest assured that you will be proud of the choices you make.

Planning Pointers
Eat and exercise before the festivities begin.
You won’t be as inclined to gobble everything down if you aren’t starving when you arrive.
By exercising early, you will possess that post-workout glow and want to honor it with your food choices.
Find an accountability partner.
Whether it’s a family member, friend, or your trainer, confirm with a partner your plan of action. Having additional eyes on your progress and words of encouragement may be just what you need to prevent yourself from gaining unwanted Holiday pounds this season.
Portion and/or track what you eat to increase your own awareness.
Try My Fitness Pal or the like to track what you eat. When you know the grams of protein, fat, carbs/sugar going into your body, it’s highly likely that you will stop eating sooner.

Wrapping it Up
Focus on the future when you are faced with the temptation to throw your current meal plan and exercise regimen out the window. Ask yourself how you want to feel 2 months from now when the Holiday season is over. Will you still be happy with your choices? Your reality is completely up to you.

Works Cited
“Thanksgiving: The Battle of the Bulge.” Calorie Control Council, 15 Dec. 2015,

About the Author: Courtney Alcala-Herrera MS

Courtney lives in Texas with her husband and their two dogs. Courtney is a clinical research and health education expert whose life mission is to spread health and lifestyle modifications to the public. When she’s not traveling across the country monitoring research studies, you can catch Courtney counseling her fitness clients, prepping for her next bikini competition, or racing off to explore with her husband.


Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.