Published in the November 25 – December 8, 2015 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Tracee Gluhaich

Tracee Gluachaich

Tracee Gluhaich

As much as I love Christmas, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s a time to spend with our families and friends, focus on our many blessings, and share the infamous turkey meal with all the fixings. Our November holiday is essentially stress free: no card mailing, shopping, wrapping or decorating.

Thanksgiving is the official kickoff to the six-week holiday season and the indulgence it frequently brings. I’m talking about the numerous office parties, cookie exchanges, cocktail parties, ornament exchanges, gifts of home-baked treats and See’s candy. Even Starbucks saves the most decadent holiday coffee drinks for this season, so we must try them all before they disappear.

The average holiday weight gain is five pounds. Note the word “average.” This means that some savvy party-goers gain no weight, while others pack on 10 pounds or more. One of my past clients gained 10 pounds every holiday season. After 10 years of this behavior, he ended up 200 pounds overweight.

A typical Thanksgiving dinner adds up to a whopping 2,500 calories, so you can see how building that muffin top is easy to do. And this is just the starting lineup of the many holiday indulgences.

Beware of some major fat traps: peppermint mocha — 470 calories; pecan pie — 500 calories; stuffing — 340 calories; eggnog — 400 calories. And this doesn’t include adult beverages, which not only add empty calories, but decrease your resolve and trick you into thinking that one more slice of pie won’t hurt.

Assuming you want to belong to the savvy group of holiday revelers, please practice some tips to stay lean and stuff the turkey, not yourself.
• Exercise first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, to boost your metabolism and get that furnace burning in your body. My favorite is weights and some high intensity interval cardio.

• Save your carbs for the party. Fill up on protein, healthy fats and lots of fibrous veggies during the day.

• Keep track of your calories on apps like My Fitness Pal or Lose It. The compound effect of calories over the week is what gets you. One fun night out will not increase your pant size.

• Drink two large glasses of water before attending a holiday event. This will fill up your stomach so you are less likely to run to the appetizer table, which are typically very high in calories.

• While at the party, socialize away from the food. The whole out of sight, out of mind thing works.

• Offer to bring a healthy dish to the party. Your hostess will appreciate the gesture and you can count on something healthy to nosh on if necessary.

• After the meal, clear the table immediately and go for a walk or play some games.

• Chew your food until liquefied. This is often overlooked because we are in such a hurry to talk, that we don’t take the time to completely chew. This practice will aid in digestion and will allow you to feel full with less food.

• Fill your wine glass with water in between glasses of wine. This will hydrate you, fill your belly, and keep your hands full.

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• Enjoy! Eat clean all week and allow yourself a splurge on the weekend. Honestly the studies show this is more effective than constant calorie deprivation. It not only tricks your metabolism, but it eases your mind, and allows your to enjoy life a bit more.

Remember there are 52 weeks in a year. What you do the other 46 is far more important than these six. Enjoy the season, celebrate your blessings, and find a way to serve those who are less fortunate.

Love yourself and fill your body up with all good things. Wishing you all a happy and safe holiday season.

Tracee Gluhaich is a local health coach and personal trainer. Check out her website at www.highenergygirl.com. She wrote this for Morgan Hill Life.