Unlocking Thanksgiving Indulgence: How to Maintain Your Weight Loss Goals
Thanksgiving, a time of cherished gatherings, also presents a tempting array of culinary delights that can lead even the most disciplined person astray. It's a season of indulgence, and while savouring those delicious meals is a pleasure, the looming worry of Thanksgiving weight gain is real.
But fear not, it's entirely possible to enjoy the holiday festivities without derailing your weight loss journey. Let's look at this together and arm ourselves with strategies to conquer this season of temptation.
Understanding Thanksgiving Weight Gain
The holidays, especially Thanksgiving, pose a challenge for anyone committed to shedding those extra pounds. The aroma of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, and decadent desserts can be irresistible. Many find themselves either struggling to stick to their weight loss habits or, worse, falling off the wagon entirely. The path to weight loss during the holidays is no cakewalk, but we promise you, you CAN do it!
Is it Normal to Gain Weight on Thanksgiving Day?
The truth is, a single day of indulgence shouldn't jeopardize your weight loss goals. The real challenge emerges when the festivities extend for a week or more, involving multiple gatherings with family and friends. In such cases, seeing an extra two to four pounds on the scale is perfectly normal, but it’s important not to let it destroy your motivation.
It is also important to keep in mind that indulging in alcohol and processed foods may also cause your body to retain some additional water weight, so don’t kick yourself when you see that small jump on the scales.
Why Did I Gain So Much Weight After Thanksgiving?
As mentioned, chances are, your post-Thanksgiving weight gain is primarily due to water retention, so don’t overthink it. Those salty, carb-laden dishes, combined with the occasional alcoholic beverage, can result in temporary bloating and digestive issues. Gaining two to four pounds of actual fat in one weekend is highly unlikely. Remember, one pound of fat equals a whopping 3,500 calories – an astonishing feat indeed!
But that’s not to say you should take the day off, because we’ve all been there, one day turns into two, and before you know it, you’re miles off track. Staying on your path to weight loss is entirely possible.
The Effects of Thanksgiving Dinner on Your Body
Now that we understand the dreaded Thanksgiving weight gain a little better, have you ever wondered what else happens in your body as you savor your delightful Thanksgiving feast? Let's take a peek beneath the surface:
1. Serotonin Release
We all get that happy feeling during the Thanksgiving season, and it’s not just because you’re surrounded by friends, family and fun. In fact, it’s just as much the turkey on your plate that gives you that merry attitude. No, really! Turkey contains an amino acid called tryptophan - it’s like a secret ingredient that your body converts into serotonin, often dubbed the "feel-good" hormone. As a result, you might find yourself in a brighter mood, feeling content, and more relaxed.
2. Fullness and Desire for Sleep
Moreover, the combination of turkey and starchy potatoes, rich in protein and fiber, fills your stomach up to the brim, leaving you feeling (sometimes painfully!) full. Alongside that feel-good feeling, that serotonin release also brings a sense of drowsiness, thanks to its conversion into melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy. So it’s no wonder so many people crave a nap after Thanksgiving dinner!
3. Increased Blood Sugar
But there's more to it. The high sugar content in many Thanksgiving dishes can cause a rapid spike in your blood sugar levels. Initially, this may make you feel alert, but it's soon followed by a sudden crash as your body works to balance things out.
4. Caloric Overload
Now, here's the deal with calories. After that grand feast, your body kicks into high gear to digest and metabolize all the calories you've consumed. It's an interesting fact that our metabolism actually increases with eating. To help your digestion and regulate blood sugar, a post-dinner stroll can work wonders compared to just slumping on the couch.
Strategies to Prevent Thanksgiving Weight Gain
Now, the million-dollar question: how can you navigate Thanksgiving without derailing your weight loss progress? Whether you're looking for ways to prevent weight gain or you plan to continue shedding those pounds, we've got you covered with some actionable strategies:
1. Plan Ahead
Having a solid plan is your best defense against temptation. Decide in advance how much you'll serve yourself, including dessert portions and the number of drinks you'll indulge in. If you're heading to a holiday gathering, consider having a small, healthy meal before you go to curb those cravings for less healthy options. If you're the host, explore low-calorie Thanksgiving or Christmas recipes and desserts that can satisfy your guests while keeping the dreaded holiday weight gain at bay.
2. Stay Hydrated
Drinking water can be a lifesaver when it comes to managing your appetite. It keeps you feeling full and can serve as a great substitute for high-sugar, calorie-laden alcoholic drinks. It's a simple but effective strategy for both preventing and losing Thanksgiving weight.
3. Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol is a sneaky weight gain villain. The empty calories from alcoholic drinks can accumulate quickly and put a dent in your weight loss progress. If you choose to indulge, stick to one to two drinks at most, and opt for low-calorie options like vodka soda or seltzer over higher-calorie choices such as beer, wine, or sugary cocktails.
4. Slow Down and Practice Mindful Eating
Take your time with each bite. A simple rule to follow is to chew each forkful at least 10 to 15 times before swallowing. Not only does this set the stage for optimal digestion, but it also slows down your eating pace, allowing you to recognize when your stomach signals that you're full.
5. Make Your Leftovers Healthy
Instead of overindulging in gravy-slathered turkey sandwiches, consider creating a turkey salad or using the turkey to make a wholesome homemade broth. Sending your guests home with leftovers will also prevent you from picking at them throughout the following week.
Post-Thanksgiving Weight Loss Advice from BodySlims
So, you may slip up and experience a slight post-Thanksgiving weight gain. Don’t panic! You’ve got this! Here's our advice:
Don't Be Hard On Yourself
Slip-ups and weight fluctuations happen, and enjoying special occasions is one of life's joys. Instead of dwelling on the past, lead with self-compassion, self-love and empathy. Embrace the wonderful Thanksgiving you had and focus on moving forward.
Get Back into It ASAP
Holiday weight gain isn't a cause for alarm, as long as you promptly return to your routine. With Christmas lurking around the corner, maintaining consistency is vital. Get your motivation going, jump back into your healthy habits, and keep your goals within reach.
Join the BodySlims January Intake
If you're still pondering how to lose weight after Thanksgiving and with Christmas and New Year's just around the corner, BodySlims is your solution. Our weight loss programme puts the power back in your hands. Thousands of individuals have transformed their bodies and minds through our innovative, groundbreaking approach to weight loss.
Here are just a few of the many success stories from people who joined the BodySlims community on our January intake after weeks of holiday season indulgence:
Carla Piera Fitzgerald: Joined BodySlims in January 2020 and has since lost 183 pounds!
Janet Cearley: Joined BodySlims in January 2023 and lost 29 pounds.
Roseann Scotson: Joined BodySlims in January 2023 and has since lost 54 pounds.
Damien Power: Joined BodySlims in January 2023 and lost 36 pounds.
Jennifer Butler: Joined BodySlims in January 2022 and has since lost 45 pounds.
In the grand scheme of things, Thanksgiving is just one day out of the year, so, relax. You can enjoy the festivities, cherish the company of loved ones and relish the delicious food while still being mindful. But remember, when the feast is over, BodySlims is here to help you get back on track.Sign up for our 10-week weight loss programme today and pave the way to your own success!