Get Back on Track After Thanksgiving

Heather's tips for moving past any overindulgence

By Heather Marr


Everyone overdoes it sometimes. It’s a part of life. The trick is having some strategies to help you get back on track—fast—so that one treat meal doesn’t turn into a week’s worth of indulgences. The first step is recognizing that one big, yummy meal isn’t going to pile on the pounds or undo all the good work you are doing in the gym. So get past it! Put it behind you! Enjoy your turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving because Thanksgiving comes but once a year. Then, the next morning, try these five things to start feeling more in control of your wellbeing.


1. Chug water

Every gram of carbohydrate eaten off diet will add to your body an extra 2.7 grams of water. Combined with high sodium treats which also lead to fluid retention, excess carbohydrate consumption may leave you feeling and looking bloated. I always tell my clients to chug water when they feel this way. This is the best way to flush extra fluids out of your system. Even though you may not feel like drinking liquids, it’s very important not to restrict water as that will have the opposite effect of what you’re hoping for and only worsen your condition.


2. Do a heavy leg workout

After eating all the yummy foods at Thanksgiving—stuffing, cranberry sauce and pie—you are primed for an excellent workout the following day. Use the glycogen for a HEAVY workout. I tend to schedule a leg day for myself and for my clients but you can also do a heavy back day.


3. Don’t try to compensate by not eating

This is going to set you up to fail. Sometimes people overindulge and then try to compensate the following day by starving themselves. This sets you up for a very unhealthy cycle of bingeing/starving. Instead, get right back on track with your clean eating plan the day after.


4. Freeze leftovers or just get rid of them

Getting back on track and eating healthy can be hard to do with a pile of leftovers in the fridge. The reality is that you are either going to eat them or they are going to go bad, so do yourself a favor and eliminate the temptation by getting rid of them. If you genuinely don’t want to eat them then throw them out or better yet, give them to someone who will appreciate them. Check with a local shelter or soup kitchen to see if they could use them or you can even pack some into containers and hand them out to homeless people you may see. Another option is to freeze them and save them to defrost for a treat meal at a later time.


5. Don’t beat yourself up

Don’t fall into the trap of criticizing yourself. Treat meals are part of a long term healthy plan. If you enjoy a nice holiday meal with family and friends that does not mean that you failed and you might as well give up on your goals. Life isn’t all or nothing. Enjoy the day, spending time with family and eating foods you love. Then move on.

Make the most of this relationship.