Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Coach Laura: Tips to Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Meal!

As you know, being healthy isn’t just about exercising. After all, you’re only as good on the outside for what you’re putting on the inside. With the holiday season upon us, and on the eve of a day of feasting, I want to share some tips with you so that it can be a truly joyous, celebratory season, not one filled with guilt and over-indulgences.

To begin with, put aside the anxiety and stress of eating. First of all, you won’t have any fun, and the stress of worrying about food causes your body to go into fat storage mode – the exact opposite of what you really want to accomplish. Let’s take Thanksgiving as an example. If you wait until the one big meal to eat, you’re doing yourself and body a disservice. Your body will go into famine mode, and when it’s time to eat, you’ll more likely overeat. When that happens, your body, since it was in famine mode, grabs all those calories and turns them straight to fat.

Start first by changing your mindset. Instead of worrying about what you’re going to eat, be grateful  that you have a wonderful event to go to where there will be wonderful food. That’s better for your metabolism. Another great thing for your metabolism is to keep it fueled throughout the day.

So on Thanksgiving morning, have a healthy breakfast. It doesn’t have to be huge (nor should it be!), but healthy. Fruits, whole grains and a protein are great options for that. Then throughout the day until the big meal, have small protein snacks. Examples of that are jerky, or a hard-boiled egg, or hummus with vegetables. Eat lots of vegetables, but especially protein, and especially animal protein, which is the most easily absorbed. This will keep your blood sugar stable and your muscles will have fuel to store any extra sugars (like the pie for dessert) as glycogen instead of fat.

That way your body is getting more and more excited for the big event and will be more able to use the food properly and convert it the way it should rather than just turn it immediately into fat. You’ll be hungry but not famished, and this will help the fat-burning hormones in your body to be primed and ready to handle the delicious food that’s been prepared.

This is a holiday of giving thanks and of feeling gratitude. Don’t put a shadow on the day by feeling guilty for over-eating. If you’re like me, you’re feeling blessed and have a lot of reasons to give thanks. Above all, enjoy the day, count your blessings, and enjoy your food!

To your health and happy eating,

Coach Laura

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