Focusing on your upcoming Thanksgiving dinner indulgences can often overwhelm you with guilt. But a few simple lifestyle changes NOW can help you lose a few pounds before turkey day. From now until Thanksgiving, follow these seven simple tips and you’re sure to enter the holidays feeling healthier, happier and several pounds lighter. Then you can relax and really enjoy your Thanksgiving bounty!
1. Pack a snack.
This ensures you’ll have healthy options when hunger strikes. If you’re like me, the clock hits three and you immediately have the urge to raid the candy machine or kitchen pantry. The right snack can satisfy me until dinner and keep me from making non-nutritious and calorie-dense choices. From now until Thanksgiving, pack a healthy snack of 100 to 200 calories each day. Great options include: a small apple with almond butter, fat-free sugar free yogurt, veggies and hummus, fresh fruit smoothie or a small handful of almonds.
2. Drink more water.
One can often confuse thirst for hunger—making us more likely to overeat throughout the day if we’re not getting enough water. During the winter months, it’s easy to become dehydrated without even realizing it. Factors such as cold air, wind and inadequate fluid intake can all contribute to dehydration. Staying hydrated can help encourage good choices. Not to mention, drinking water is important to your overall health and weight loss. Focus on increasing your water intake from now until Thanksgiving and you may just notice you’re less hungry than normal.
3. Indulge in moderation.
If you’re like me, you have your favorite indulgences—perhaps pizza, potato chips, ice cream, cookies or chocolate. The key is to indulge in moderation. Try allowing yourself no more than one not-so-healthy indulgence per week. And keep your portion size in check.
4. Order smart.
Restaurant meals can wreak havoc on your weight loss goals. Simply making some special requests and slight substitutions can have you on your way to losing weight. Ask for your meal to be grilled, baked, poached, steamed or blackened and steer clear of menu items described at buttery, basted, creamy, au gratin, smothered, fried, crispy and sautéed. Request your salad dressing and sauces on the side and opt for oil-based dressings rather than cream-based. Skip the bread and order a salad and an appetizer instead of an entrée. Don’t be afraid to ask for your food to be prepared the way you want it!
5. Sleep more.
Studies show that lack of sleep can cause weight gain. From now until Thanksgiving, try to hit the hay 30 minutes earlier. You might be surprised at how much better you feel. Plus you could be giving your body just what it needs to drop some excess weight.
6. Save calories.
Make small, effortless changes that will reduce your daily calories and aid in your weight loss. Even the smallest change—like asking for non-fat milk instead of whole milk in your morning coffee—can make a difference. Also choose smaller plates and glasses as this has been shown to help control portion size. Lastly, keep late night snacking to a minimum or better yet, have a cup of herbal tea after dinner in place of your normal snack.
7. Exercise early.
Busy, busy, busy. That’s how I feel during the holidays. Therefore, I find that the only way I’m likely to exercise is if I do it first thing in the morning before the chaos of the holiday season begins. Working out first thing in the morning will ensure you’ll burn off those extra calories so you can indulge on Thanksgiving day without guilt. If you want to lose even more weight before Thanksgiving, adding just 10 minutes to your current exercise routine can give you just the extra calorie burn you need to drop even more pounds.