Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to practice gratitude as well as self-care!

In a few days, Americans will consume over 46 million turkeys. In addition we’ll gobble down an average 3,000 calories during the average Thanksgiving meal according to The Calorie Control Council! Beyond just the abundance of food available, the holidays can trigger emotional stress in some people. Because of this, we decided to compile a list of ways to keep you healthy and happy during the holidays!

Here are some tips to keep your holiday SAFE, ACTIVE and HEALTHY before, during and after the Thanksgiving holiday:

Prior to Thanksgiving:

  1. Exercise: Don’t forget about your weekly/daily exercise routine. On the days leading up to Thanksgiving, be sure to get to the gym. Also, you can go outside for a daily walk (or whatever your chosen exercise may be). Often, when individuals feel stress or they’re busy, the first thing they decide to sacrifice is the exercise. You should never skip it! In fact, you should make it an essential priority the week before Thanksgiving. This won’t just help you stay on track. In addition, it will simply make you feel good at the end of each day.
  2. Eat well: On the days leading up to Thanksgiving, continue to eat healthy! Eating well will help you stay on track before the big binge day and will aid in motivation to get back on track after the day has passed.
  3. Plan: If you’re cooking dinner, try and find some healthy substitutions for the side dishes. Check out some our healthy recipes on our blog: Elite’s Healthy Recipes. If you’re traveling to a dinner, ask the host what the menu looks like. And if healthy options are lacking, bring a healthy dish yourself!


On the Day:

  1. Eat a nutritious breakfastDon’t skip breakfast. Starving yourself to save up for your Thanksgiving dinner is never a good idea! Instead, have a light but nutritious breakfast to jump start your metabolism and prevent over-eating at dinner! Try a breakfast smoothie or an egg white omelet, with your favorite vegetables. It’s also been proven that those who skip meals end up binging much more than those who eat a good breakfast.
  2. Exercise: After you finish watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the first 20 minutes of the Dog Show, go outside for a family walk. Starting your day off with light exercise will help you gain some mental clarity and peace of mind before the hustle of the holiday starts! A nice walk can also help burn off some of the extra calories after the meal! Also, you can take the dog for a walk, have a nice game of tag football or soccer. Just get moving before the big meal!
  3. Participate in a Turkey Trot: Our area is home to many great turkey trots. Check out these two in Alexandria and Pineville. These events range from 1 mile walks to longer runs!  Many of the turkey trots also have kid races in order for the whole family to participate! The turkey trots also raise money for great local causes!
  4. Limit your indulgence: If there’s a specific Thanksgiving dish that you know is your ultimate weakness, try to limit yourself to just one helping. For example, if you know desserts are your downfall, then make prior plans to only have one helping, and that’s it. Or, if gravy’s your downfall, only allow yourself one scoop from the ladle.


Post-Thanksgiving Day:

  1. Get right back on track: Don’t spiral into a period of bad eating until New Year’s Day. Again: one bad day isn’t going to ruin everything. Therefore, make sure you start eating healthy again and have a fridge full of healthy foods.
  2. Yoga and Meditation: Holidays can be stressful and Thanksgiving is just the start! Take a deep breath and allow yourself to reconnect to what you are grateful for this Thanksgiving season. Yoga is not only great for the mind, but also good for the body! Start a practice of taking time to meditate or practice yoga or stretching during the holiday season to help reduce your stress levels during the coming busy season.
  3. Get to the gym: Don’t wait more than one day to get back to the gym or back to exercising after Thanksgiving! The earlier you return, the easier it will be to get back into your  routine. Who knows? The gym might have a Black Friday sale!


Enjoy the day and forget the guilt: One bad day isn’t going to sabotage your entire year. Please enjoy the day with your family, however you may celebrate it, and be safe and healthy!!! And most importantly… Be thankful!

All the Best from your Elite Physical Therapy Family!


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