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How To Tackle Thanksgiving While Also Enjoying It

A pie on a decorated Thanksgiving table

The holidays are upon us and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. There is no better way than to end the year on a good note while also enjoying the festivities... Right?

Absolutely. You've worked hard all year, been diligent in your training, fitness, and workouts. Now's the time to relax.

But wait. You worked so hard all year. Did you really work hard all year just to let loose for the holidays? Then repeat the cycle year after year?

Maybe you are OK with that. And that's perfectly fine. You know your goals best. However, if you don't want to yo-yo your weight or goals year after year, then let's come up with a plan on how you can tackle Thanksgiving while also getting to enjoy it. That way, you get to enjoy Thanksgiving and also feel like you didn't just ruin all the training you've done.

So, how about it? Let's get started.

Tip #1: Have a mindset of moderation.

It all begins with our mindset, and more specifically, our commitment. Ah, yes. The "C" word. We all have problems with commitment from time to time. Whether it's in relationships, training, health choices, diet, self-improvement, etc. The thing with commitment is that it shouldn't be scary. Commitment doesn't have to be an "all in" or "all out" ordeal. Commitment can be in moderation, as well. You can commit to enjoying things moderately. That's right. Maybe the mindset isn't, "I'm going to fast all day so that I can eat as much as I want". Maybe the mindset should be "I'm going to eat normal meals all day, and Thanksgiving is will be a special meal but nonetheless, another meal".

When you fix your mindset and commit to moderation, it makes it a lot easier to maintain and self-regulate. Restrictive diets, let alone restrictive mindsets, are self-limiting and also make you want things more.

Remember how when you were told you weren't allowed to do something, it only made you want to do it more?

As an adult, the same applies, which means self-regulation is more important than ever. The best way to self-regulate and exude self-control is to commit to moderation and be consistent with it. Allow yourself to have that slice of pie, piece of cake, chocolate bar, or ice cream. You may just find that when you allow yourself to enjoy these in moderation, you won't yo-yo between "good" and "bad" habits.

Tip #2: Pound that protein.

Instead of fasting all day then overeating in one sitting, prioritize protein all day long. Protein is crucial to muscle protein synthesis. You literally can't build muscle without protein. Especially if you plan on working out, training, or doing a turkey trot, you'll want to be sure you're properly fueling afterwards so you can adequately rebuild your muscles and prepare for your next training session.

Also, it's a lot harder to overeat protein than it is to overeat carbs. Protein is much more satiating, which will keep you full longer and fend off cravings. One way of fueling up on protein is to have protein with every meal. Personally, this is what my Thanksgiving day will look like.


Four soft-boiled eggs with greek yogurt and honey


Protein shake with milk. I prefer 1st Phorm Phormula-1 Chocolate Mint Cookie.


Chicken salad

Thanksgiving Dinner:

Ham (not a turkey person, unless it's ground turkey), mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, and roasted brussel sprouts.


Pumpkin pie a la mode

Try this out and see how you feel.

Tip #3: Hydrate well and hydrate often.

Most people, let alone athletes, under hydrate. We tend to only drink water when we feel thirsty, however when we wait until those cues kick in, it's likely we're dehydrated already. Most people also think of hydration as replenishing lost fluids with water only. While water is a great start, it's hardly enough for those working out, let alone those serious about their training and fitness.

To maximize your hydration, you want to be sure to include electrolytes. Electrolytes are often sweated out, along with water, so replenishing electrolytes should be a key component to ensuring you're well hydrated.

How do you know if you're dehydrated? Check the color of your urine.

Clear to pale yellow? You're hydrated.

Dark yellow? Dehydrated.

Tip #4: Track your macros.

This might be a little tricky to begin on Thanksgiving day, so if you don't typically track your macros, I recommend waiting until after Thanksgiving to give this one a go.


You typically want to know what your baseline nutrition is. So if you begin on Thanksgiving day, you're not accurately measuring what you would consume on a typical day of eating.

If you are already tracking your macros, make sure to track on Thanksgiving day. This is a great way to hold yourself accountable in your nutrition, but it also provides insight on what and how much you're consuming that day.

Keep in mind, you shouldn't track your macros to make yourself feel bad. Rather, it should be used as a valuable tool to help you gain a better understanding of how you're prioritizing different macronutrients. Doing so will unlock aspects of your nutrition and diet that you didn't realize had gaping holes. How you care about your nutrition will directly affect your everyday lifestyle, as well as your training and performance.

Tip #5: Walk and talk.

That post-Thanksgiving meal seems to have us all feeling a little stuffed and lethargic. If you're looking to lay low and lounge, you should always feel free to do what is best for you.

If you're like me and get antsy post-meal, especially a big one, try going for a family walk.

Walking is one of the best activities you can do after a large meal. Why?

Walking may...

  • Improve digestion

  • Regulate blood glucose AKA blood sugar

  • Reduce risks for heart disease

  • Regulate blood pressure

  • Help with weight loss

If you're someone who gets an upset stomach with activity after eating, try walking at a slower pace or wait 20 minutes before going on a stroll.

***If you’re struggling with your nutrition and fitness in any capacity, private coaching with the The Swimmer's Doc could be the perfect place to start. Visit our website for more information about the coach, methods, and services.

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