Thanksgiving is less than a week away. Losing serious weight before the holiday is just not reasonable. However, preparing your digestive system and moving your body before the grand feast is absolutely doable.
Avoiding excess weight gain throughout the holiday season is not a difficult task, says Certified Integrative Nutritionist and certified Health Coach, Donna Parker. “Digestion is the perfect place to start.”
Focusing on a healthy digestive system can not only ensure success, but also optimal health. According to Parker, proper digestion allows your body to absorb the nutrients from the food you are ingesting. Poor digestion can ultimately lead to disease including Crohn’s Disease, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), diabetes, fibromyalgia, and more.
Parker’s healthy tips to prevent “tipping the scale” this holiday season:
Chew your food thoroughly — 20-30 chews per bite.
Eliminate an acid trip by drinking warm lemon water before meals or take digestive enzymes to help break down proteins in your stomach through hydrochloric acid.
Monitor servings: half of your dinner plate should be veggies, one quarter lean proteins and the last quarter complex carbohydrates like squash, quinoa or brown rice.
Eat some protein at every meal. Proteins and fats signal to the brain that you are eating. These signals usually reach the brain within five minutes of chewing. So, by including fats and proteins with each meal, you are likely to eat less and be more satisfied.
Get your fiber in. Average fiber intake is about 15g per day. The recommended intake for women is at least 25g and for men 38g. Fiber can help prevent weight gain and digestive problems, lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and help control blood sugar levels.
Moderation is one of the key strategies to avoid developing that muffin top. You can taste everything on the buffet table, but in moderate portions.
Chelsea Kruse, mind body manager at exhale Santa Monica and Venice says that knowing you have a busy week ahead with a 3,000 calorie meal right around the corner is a good time to pre-plan, clear your mind and move your body.
“To optimize your Thanksgiving Day get a good night’s sleep the night before, start your day with a glass of lemon water (and continue to hydrate throughout the day), and schedule an early morning workout to get your body moving. By exercising first thing, you will maximize the effects mentally and physically all day long.”
Kruse suggests that in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, try to vary your workouts so the holiday rush doesn’t shock the system.
Try rotating various high intensity and low impact workouts: High-intensity workouts: HITT class — Core Fusion Extreme or a run outside with Low impact exercise: barre or yoga class to increase strength and flexibility of the mind and body.
“If you can’t make it to a class, make sure to carve out some time to lift your heart rate and burn some pre-meal calories at home,” says Kruse.
Grab a mat or towel, chair/stool or low step, a stopwatch or phone, and maybe a friend or family member to buddy up with. To create an at-home circuit, do each exercise for 40 seconds, repeating 4 times through. Try these moves at home:
1. Toe Taps
Standing near a chair or stool, alternate tapping toes on the platform. By driving your knees up towards your chest and increasing your pace, you will increase the intensity. [For more of a challenge, jump to switch your feet; to modify, use a lower step or stool and slow your pace.]
2. Tricep Dips
Placing your hands on the edge of a chair or bench, lift your hips up and keep your shoulders over your hips; knees over ankles. To isolate your triceps, bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle, then re-extend the arms. [For more, you can change your pace to single dips, or slow it down by lifting for 2 counts and lowering for 2 counts.]
Coming onto your mat or towel, place your shoulders over your elbows, press the forearms into the ground and engage the core, and lift into a plank keeping your shoulders and hips aligned. This will activate the deepest muscles of your core, the transverse abdominals. [For more of a challenge, keep the knees lifted with an option to tap the knees to the mat and re-extend the legs. To modify, lower the tops of the thighs to the mat keeping your abdominals engaged.]
4. Mountain climbers/knee tucks
Push into a straight arm plank (upper push-up position). Placing your feet on gliders, a towel, or even socks on a hard floor; keep your shoulders over wrists and core engaged. Alternate drawing knees into the chest. [For more of a challenge, draw both knees in simultaneously or pick up your pace with single legs. To modify or without a slick surface, you can take a mountain climber position by running the knees into the chest instead of sliding.]
exhale’s Thanksgiving week schedule will accommodate the busy holiday and travel week. If you’re staying close by, head to exhale on Thanksgiving morning for a HITT class or active flow. SoulCycle studios are teaching 90 minute Turkey Burn classes and Poise Fitness of Hermosa Beach will be teaching two mid-morning sweat sessions.