This isn’t about a Paleo Thanksgiving, but more about avoiding a Fail-eo Thanksgiving! You can actually do pretty well during the Holidays *if* you are aware, mainly because most of these feasts offer a whole bunch of GOOD choices if you know to reach for them first! Here are my top 10 pro-tips for making the best of it:
1. Reach for the Meat & Veg FIRST – Pure practicality. If you fill up on turkey and salad you’re not going to be as inclined to fiendishly down that whole pie. Mmm pie. There are actually a lot of good choices at most holiday-type feasts, so try to identify the ones that are closest to the “Paleo” framework, and go for those first. Here’s my hierarchy of things you should eat from gooder to worser: High-Protein Appetizers (e.g. Deviled Eggs) -> Turkey or Ham -> with Gravy (yes please) -> Salad (BIG helping) -> Cooked Greens (sure with bacon) -> Sweet Potatoes (preferable w/o added sugar) -> Cranberry Sauce (a little is fine) -> Stuffing -> Other Dense Starches (bread, rice) -> That Second Helping of Those Delicious Cheesy Potatoes -> Desserts -> Liquid Sugar (alcohol and the like).
2. Go Light And Rep It Out, OR Heavy And Stick To Drop Singles – You could perhaps not drink alcohol *gasp*, but let’s assume you are. First, consider a lighter beverage (soda water + X) that you can sip sort of frequently and won’t load you up, OR a really strong/tasty one that you can only take small sips of. If you are “advanced,” probably stick to the lighter one (cause you can probably down that strong drink like a magic trick).
3. Draw A Line In The Sand, Then Just Say No – “Hey buddy can I have $100 from your wallet?” “How about the shoes off your feet?” Cap yourself at some reasonable, still-able-to-make-rational-decisions level of drinks, then JUST SAY NO. Your family and friends will still have a great time without you getting fully sloshed.
4. Recognize Your Triggers – If you have a history of eating or drinking JUST one or two of those, then OMG-I-Don’t-Know-What-Happened OMNOMNOM, it’s probably something that will trigger you to “go all in,” and not in a good way. Reach for an alternative sooner rather than later!
5. Make A Pact – If you have a friend or family member with whom you can identify on this level, agree to help each other out at the big feast by being supportive of one another. Win or lose, just like in a workout it’s nice to have a buddy through it all.
6. Engage In A Good Way – Rather than circling down appetizer lane like you’re a kid working the samples at Costco, talk to your family and friends! STILL single?; STILL haven’t gotten your career started? Few things will curb your appetite like talking to grandma or auntie about THAT ;)! J/K brush those conversations off and talk about CrossFit instead.
7. Train So Hard Cheats Just Aren’t Worth It – Nothing like some AMRAP Thrusters to sober you right up! This is more long-term, but alcohol especially will make you feel just crappy during workouts, AND make your soreness/recovery that much more difficult. All you twenty-somethings, JUST WAIT. The more you experience and recognize this, the more you will internalize the athlete mentality and think of food more as fuel, rather than as something punitive or naughty to punish or reward yourself with.
8. Break The Crime & Punishment Cycle – You don’t get to eat a lot at Thanksgiving as a reward for crushing multiple workouts the days leading up. You don’t have to suffer through a hard WOD after Thanksgiving because you overate. Enjoy your life, AND work hard anyway.
9. Forgive Yourself – It’s just one day. With Christmas and New Year’s and your Birthday that’s still only 4 of 365 days per year. Success with CrossFit and with nutrition is about raising your average, which happens mainly on the long straightaways aka the other 361 days.
10. See You At The Gym – We will be here for you throughout the Holidays and New Year’s to celebrate and share in the never-ending process to better yourself. Keep climbing, and together we can meet these challenges and more!