This Thursday is Thanksgiving in the states and you’re about to get inundated with messages from your favorite fitness influencers (by the way, is there anything worse than the concept of influencers?)
Before you jump on board with their “Thanksgiving Massacre” workout or their tips for “Staying on Track for Thanksgiving,” let me provide some perspective.
Let’s start with training. A lot of gyms and nutrition coaches will put out these crazy workouts attached to a message about “earning” your Thanksgiving day calories.
Don’t EARN Your Thanksgiving
First of all, your food doesn’t need to be earned. You earned it by being alive.
This mindset does nothing but fosters a disordered relationship with food, your body, and exercise.
Second, I don’t care how crazy the workout is, you certainly won’t be burning that many calories and you shouldn’t be trying to. I don’t care what your fitness tracker says you burned, it’s probably not that high.
Also, your body is pretty damn smart and will likely accommodate for the calories burned by keeping you a little less active throughout the rest of the day. Trying to earn your calories through exercise is an exercise in futility.
And again, let me reiterate, this mindset is damaging to your health.
Adhere To Regular Scheduled Training
Here’s a thought.. what if you just kept to your regularly scheduled training? I know, the audacity… but it might just work.
If you can’t stick to your routine because your schedule doesn’t allow it, adjust as necessary. Not by trying to burn or restrict extra calories in preparation for Thanksgiving… but get in whatever sessions you can and move on when your schedule resumes its normalcy.
Now let’s discuss nutrition. This is where you’re going to hear a lot of advice… fast all day or eat nothing but protein and veggies, drink lots of water before dinner, don’t go for seconds, etc.
Unpopular opinion… being flooded with “hacks” to not overeat during Thanksgiving is more likely to cause you additional stress and lead to a “fuck it” mentality.
I mean, I know it’s fun to have a list of rules running through your head when you’re trying to enjoy the experience of a family gathering but what if we tried something outlandish…
Like relaxing and being present.
Enjoy the food. Enjoy the people. Enjoy the conversation.
The only rule is that you’re an adult who gets to do whatever the fuck they want. Even if that means a second serving of pie. No, it’s not going to ruin your progress.
Fitness Industry Scare Tactics
This period of time between Thanksgiving and New Years is grossly overemphasized by the fitness industry to scare you.
The reality is that not a lot of weight gain even occurs. I think the average is less than one pound.
Not exactly cause for concern.
I’d argue that the fear-mongering, messaging about burning extra calories, restricting extra calories, and hacks to stay on track are doing more harm than good.
When you go in with the mindset of earning your calories, you’re setting yourself up for punishing yourself with food and exercise.
When you go in with the mindset of restriction… you’re setting yourself up to binge. Then restrict harder. Then binge harder. Rinse and repeat.
When you go in with the mindset of following rules to stay on track… you’re setting yourself up for a trip to fuckitville once you “break” one of those rules.
I’m not saying all advice is delivered with ill intent or can’t be helpful to some.
However, I wish we would spread the message that health is also about being able to enjoy a holiday with the people you love, without stress, and fully being present for the experience.