Let Yourself "Indulge" this Thanksgiving

Yep, Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  It came so quickly this year, didn't it?  I can't believe it's this week!  Seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Halloween and the start of Fall!  Anyway, I'm sure you're all catching up on the latest tips for not over-indulging this year, and looking for ways to cut down on the calories during your Thursday feast.  There are many sources out there on revamping recipes to be healthier, ways to cut back on the amount of food you eat, etc.  So instead of giving you the "usual" pointers for a healthier holiday, I decided to give you some non-traditional ways to be healthier, but also let yourself "indulge". 

1 | Get moving! (That includes you, chef!)

Thanksgiving is usually filled with sedentary activities - watching the game, sitting around the dinner table, idly chatting in the living room, or even taking a long nap after the feast.  Try to combat being sedentary by getting yourself and your family/friends up and outside!  "But the game is on - I can't miss it," you say?  How about going out and tossing a football around during halftime?  "But I'm slaving in the kitchen all day - I don't have time to go outside."  There are plenty of mini exercises you can do to right in the kitchen while you work!  Squats while mixing?  Sure!  Lunges to your cabinet/fridge and back?  Okay.  Jumping jacks while you wait for things to boil/mix/bake/etc.?  You bet!  Before you know it, you'll have gotten in a full workout by the time the table is set!  (Scroll to the end of the post for a Turkey Day workout you can do right at home!)

2 | Actually allow yourself the pie (within reason).

I think this is an important tip.  Just like one healthy meal won't make you entirely healthy (although it IS one step closer), one indulgence won't make you overweight.  This is NOT by any means a green light to have a free-for-all at the table, however.  What I mean is it's okay to tell yourself that SMALL indulgences are allowed!  In fact, I believe they actually HELP with keeping you on track for heathy eating.  No one person can eat healthy 100% of the time, and if they do, I guarantee you there isn't a day (or many days) that goes by that they don't think about indulging.  Sometimes being SO strict with your diet can do more harm than good (when you finally allow yourself to give in, you go nuts!).  So, bottom line, if you want the slice of apple pie, or the mashed potatoes with butter, have it - in moderation.

3| Volunteer.

True, this isn't a way to add exercise or healthy eating to your Thanksgiving Day game plan, but volunteering to serve a hot meal at your local shelter is a great way to "indulge" in spreading love, giving thanks, and getting up and about instead of sitting stuffed at a table.  Get some friends and family together and find your local homeless shelter, senior center, or anywhere accepting volunteers on Thanksgiving Day.  Spread the love and be thankful you are able to do so. 

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with fun and memorable moments with your beloved family and friends.  Remember, one healthy choice at a time, even if that means having that slice of pie (but just one!).  Until next week, have a healthy and happy week (and holiday) ahead. 

Fit & Healthy Vacation - Part 2

Hi All!  As most of you know, I was on vacation this past week visiting my parents in Nashville, TN.  It was a GREAT time filled with so many activities to keep us moving and feeling active.  I can't wait to visit them again soon.  My previous vacation post was about those activities, so this time I thought I would share some general tips on staying healthy, active and fit while traveling and being away from home.

  • Planning your meals (yes, the time is worth it).  Hunger can get the best of us and make us cave on even the most regimented diet.  What often happens during travel is arriving somewhere starving and needing food immediately.  When you're at that point of hunger, all you can think about is when you are going to get food in your belly!  You might not be thinking of the healthiest options in those moments and the quick, good-smelling-but-bad-for-you choice, like fries and a cheeseburger, is way more appealing than a healthy sandwich and fruit.  My best advice here would be to PLAN when and where/what you will eat in advance.  I truly believe that if you don't take the time to plan out your meals, you are setting yourself up for nutritional disaster.  

On my trip down, I knew I was going to have to buy breakfast and lunch at the airport.  I knew there were healthy options at various restaurants, so I made a plan and stuck to it.  Obviously I didn't plan out what exactly I was going to have, but I knew what my overall options were and the plan was to choose the healthiest.  (Breakfast = whole grain oatmeal and an iced coffee with unsweetened soy milk; Lunch = made-to-order turkey sandwich and a cup of fruit.)   On the way back home, my mom was so sweet and packed me a lunch, brown bag and all, with an almond butter and apple jelly sandwich, an apple, and some multigrain chips (see picture below).  The fact that I had that with me during my layover meant that I wasn't tempted to hit up Chipotle or Arby's and also meant I could save a little money, too.  (If some of you are questioning whether TSA lets you bring premade food through security, yes they do!  Some restrictions apply, I'm sure, but I've never had a problem with sandwiches and dry snacks.)

  • Snacks!  Bring them! This goes along with the planning advice above.  Pack snacks to bring with you!  Non-perishable, easy (and healthy!) grab-n-go snacks are key to curbing hunger until you can get a full meal.  For me, this meant some Kind Bars, granola, and multigrain chips.  These are my current favorites: 

I suppose it might go without saying, but packing easily accessible snacks for when you're on the go, even for day trips to-and-from, running errands, etc. is a smart way to silence that stomach until you have your next meal.

  • Go out and explore.  Getting outside is a great way to add some activity to your trip, not to mention fresh air and sunlight.  And by getting outside, I don't mean by car.  In a new area you've never explored?  Go see what it has to offer!  Take a walk, go on a run or bike ride around to see what it's all about.  Who knows what you might find!  Our activities included many walks, disc golf, and a hike in a park that we had never been to. 
  • Maintenance workouts.  These are great for travel situations when you're away from home, your gym, and/or your exercise classes, and need to still maintain all your hard work.  Now, the maintenance workouts probably won't be as intense as your regular routine, but that's okay!  In fact, that's kind of the point.  They're enough of a workout to make your muscles work and maintain what you've built.  There are so many different exercises you can do with little equipment and even no equipment at all.  For example, a sturdy chair or bench can serve as a great tool to use for arm and leg exercises, and there are many body weight exercises you can do right on the floor.  That said, I was fortunate enough to have access to some equipment while at my parent's house - my dad has a set of resistance bands, dumbbells and a stability ball, so those all got used frequently.  Here is an example of one of the workouts I did while I was away:

(Note: want more workouts?  Have no fear!  I am in the process of designing a few workouts that you'll be able to access here on the site, as well as download, so you can have them with you on the go whenever you need.  So stay tuned!)

I hope you find some of these tips helpful when planning your next vacation or trip away from home.  If you want any more information on these tips or any others, leave a comment below!  You can also shoot me a private message on the Contact page.  I'd love to answer any questions you might have and/or hear your thoughts and feedback. 

That's it for this week!  Stay tuned during the week coming up - there will be a special Halloween post geared toward a more healthy, less sugar-crazed holiday!  If you haven't already subscribed, you can enter your email on the right side of the page so you are guaranteed not to miss a post.  Until next time, have a healthy and happy week ahead!