With a long day of marathon eating ahead, any way to boost your metabolism this Thanksgiving will be to your benefit. Sure you could go the route of willpower and just avoid Grandma’s famous cheesy mashed potatoes, or Aunt Helen’s amazing pumpkin cheesecake. However, if you don’t think you have it in you…or if you simply want to indulge for a day while being surrounded by family and friends, we’ve got the tips to get your metabolism to work with you–not against you.
But first, let’s chat a bit about how metabolism works–a scientific interlude, if you will. When you eat food, your body converts that food into energy (measured in calories) that your body needs to do just about everything: move, grow, think, sleep, and so on. All actions–even just chilling on the couch–require energy, but obviously not as much as if you were running sprints. The amount of energy you need is the basic makeup of metabolism.
With that very basic knowledge in mind, it’s easy to understand that the more calories you take in, the more energy you have in the body. If it’s not used, your body stores it, which can lead to fat gain. Not eating, however, can have a similar effect. If you stop eating, your body thinks its energy source is gone or at least limited and will then hang onto the energy it has, making fat loss more challenging.
Bottom line: When it comes to metabolism, eating is good; not eating is bad. But since we’re talking about Thanksgiving, overeating is not so good either. That is, unless you try the following to help combat the effects of feeling as stuffed as the bird in the oven!
Make the Morning Matter: Most turkey day festivities don’t begin until after noon, so start your day in a healthy way. Here are some ideas:
- Stay on schedule: If you usually exercise on Thursday mornings, don’t make Thanksgiving any different. Get up at the same time and do what your normally do to workout. If a class is canceled or your gym is closed due to the holiday, pop in a DVD or grab a friend who’s in town to take for a hike.
- Get a group together: There are a number of Turkey Trot 5ks and other Thanksgiving-day themed exercise events that are happening all across the country. Gather your friends and family for a fun early event that will have everyone feeling less guilty about their turkey comas later.
- Eat a good breakfast: Instead of saving up your calories for the late day feast, eat a balanced breakfast so that you’re not starving by the time the bird is served. You’ll be less likely to eat too much and more likely to make good choices.
Drink Water: Yes, we’re always pushing the H2O, but that’s only because it can do so much good for your body. Not only can water help you feel more full by drinking it all day long, but research shows it can also help to speed up your metabolism. Drink a glass before the big meal, another while you eat, and then another after the table is cleared.
Avoid the Coma: With a belly full of warm delicious comfort food, a nap could easily be in your future. Instead of sleeping off the feast, get moving. Take a walk on your own if you need a break from the family, or bring a sibling along with whom you don’t get enough solo time. If more people are game, break into teams for a football match-up that will likely be more fun that what’s being aired on TV.
Thanksgiving really can be a holiday where you can have your pie and eat it, too. Make metabolism work for you, and the day won’t be one filled with worries of fat gain and guilt. Gobble, gobble!
SlendHer is grateful for you this Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for? Share with others in the comments!