Being Smart About “Eating Day”

It’s that time of year y’all. Next Thursday we’ll gather warmly with family and friends and try so hard to eat an amount of food that is so great, it becomes impossible to move. What a celebration.

So, look. I know it’s tough to be the healthy one, or even think about health and well-being on a day aimed at basically prepping you to be human foie gras (i.e. force-fed until you are a fatty and expensive menu item). Why not just let yourself have one day? One day to pour starch and butter and sugar into your body for hours? I’ll tell you why not. Because we are mature people with self-respect, and we are awesome at fitnessing, and we take no prisoners, not even on Thanksgiving. That’s why not.

So here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna indulge, sure. We’re gonna try some delicious pie that your mom makes, and have some of grandma’s famous stuffing, and we’re gonna enjoy the day. But we’re also gonna be sensible human beings who understand caloric intake and how it affects our bodies. We do not need to each 3,000 – 4,000 calories just because… — I mean actually I really have no idea why we all have been programmed to do that. Thankfulness? Anyway. Let’s get to tips on doing only minor damage on Thanksgiving. We all know this isn’t going to be a HEALTHY day, but maybe we can at least keep the destruction to a minimum. Here we go.

  1. Work out in the morning. JUST DO THIS. Even if it’s 25 minutes. It’ll help burn some of those extra calories, but most importantly, it’ll put you in a better mindset for the day. It reminds you that you are the type of person that works out, has energy, and puts good things in your body. You’re more likely to make better choices for the rest of the day if you spend just a little time getting some sweat on. Here’s a great circuit workout that’s only 20 minutes and requires zero equipment. And here are 11 that are only 30 minutes, most of which have no equipment. Here’s one that is seven minutes. You have no excuses. Just pick one and do it at home before you start your day.
  2. Bring a healthy dish. Whether you’re hosting or guesting, bring or serve at least one healthy dish. If you’re hosting, you should really have 3 or 4 healthy dishes (something healthy to munch on, a couple veggie dishes that aren’t corrupted with butter and cream, and a healthy dessert option). If you’re attending someone else’s Tday, bring whatever your weak spot is. Do you go nuts at dessert? Bring an awesome healthy option, like chickpea blondies or baked apples with cinnamon and honey. Sides are your weak spot? Bring some roasted butternut squash and sweet potato, or simple roasted green beans (add some garlic powder to it). Or you can be a real hero and bring a healthy main dish: some lentil and parsnip shepherd’s pie (vegan friendly). Sub a sweet potato for the russet potatoes in the topping, and throw in some sort of leafy green in the base for max nutritional value (I did collard greens).
  3. If it’s unhealthy: taste, don’t eat. This is based on one of my favorite sayings, from the lovely and talented Bethenny Frankel: Taste Everything, Eat Nothing. Obviously, load up on the healthy option; use those to fill up. But everything else, have just a taste. Remember most foods are engineered to make you want more (PIE!), and you will never feel like you’ve had enough, so having one bite will give you about the same level of satisfaction of having 40. Take a bite of those creamy mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, bacon corn (it’s exactly what it sounds like), sausage stuffing, and gravy, and fill the rest of your plate with skinless turkey breast, green veggies, and whatever other “clean” options you can find. Roasted sweet potatoes? Take a big scoop! Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows? Take a bite. You won’t be depriving yourself of all the tasty dirty traditional Tday foods, but you won’t be totally gorging yourself either. BALANCE, YOU GUYS. That’s what living a healthy fitnessing lifestyle is all about.
  4. Drink wine. There’s gonna be beer, hot spiked cider, and all sort of alcohol goin around. Stick to some nice red wine. It takes longer to drink than beer or a sweet mixed drink, it has fewer calories, and it’s actually good for you heart. You have enough extra calories goin on today. Keep the ones you drink minimal, and alternate between red wine and water. We’ve talked about the alcohol rules before. Remember to follow them.

See? This isn’t hard at all. We can be good at fitnessing AND good at holidays, without being that annoying guest that’s ON A DIET SO I’LL JUST HAVE THIS SALAD I BROUGHT, HAHA. Join in the fun, and don’t insult Aunt Kate by refusing to try her chocolate pumpkin pie, but don’t insult your body by eating a whole slice. Everybody wins.



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