Today is Thanksgiving… and just like that, another season of eating is officially here again. But that doesn’t mean you have to fall off the wagon.
And as much as I’d like to say that friends don’t let friends overindulge, science suggests quite the opposite. If you’re not careful, your loved ones could actually sabotage your diet simply by sharing a table with you.
So here’s your annual reminder to watch out for that holiday creep… unless you enjoy waking up ten pounds heavier come January 1st.
Because unfortunately, you can’t count on anyone else to do it for you.
Meals taste better when you eat together
A team of British and Australian researchers recently analyzed 42 published studies on social dining. And they found that people eat significantly more when they’re with their friends and family than they do when eating alone, or in the company of strangers.
In fact, research suggests that family dinners might increase food consumption by as much as 50 percent. So we’re not exactly talking about a few extra bites here. And when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.
They call this phenomenon “social facilitation.” And according to scientists, it’s a remnant of our hunter-gatherer roots, when sharing food served as protection against starvation.
But there are also more obvious factors at work. Eating with others is simply more enjoyable, for one—and tradition (especially around the holidays) openly encourages gluttony. Serving and eating food also strengthens bonds and upholds such traditions.
All of these make for a feast that can be hard to say no to… regardless of the consequences.
Obviously, I’m not about to tell you to spend your Thanksgiving in quarantine. “Social facilitation” may be a real, scientific phenomenon—but it’s also easy to sidestep simply by staying vigilant and planning ahead.
And I don’t just mean squeezing in a healthy snack before venturing out to a minefield of mashed potatoes and stuffing. In fact, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help you survive the holidays—and keep the dreaded weight gain at bay…
Seven “A-List Approved” survival tips
To help stay on top of your diet this Thanksgiving—and all year, really—follow these simple tips…
1.)DO eat a high protein meal earlier in the day. You can’t go wrong with eggs for breakfast—the fat and protein will ward off hunger and keep you fuller for longer. And if you’ll be eating your Thanksgiving dinner later in the day, I recommend enjoying a whey protein shake for lunch, too. (Be sure to throw in a tablespoon of macadamia nut oil to ward off hunger and fire up fat burning.)
2.) DON’T clean your dinner plate. Not eating the last five bites can save you an average of 250 calories per meal. That adds up to about 26 pounds per year. (And that’s if you only do it at dinner! Just imagine if you did this at every meal…)
3.) DO start with salad. Researchers have found that people who eat a salad before their main course consume 20 percent less and feel more satiated than people who don’t. If salad isn’t featured in your Thanksgiving spread, opt for a heaping portion of vegetables instead.
4.) DON’T have wine with your meal. Not even red wine—that is, not unless you want a hefty serving of sugar with your resveratrol. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a couple of celebratory drinks, though. (And I do mean a couple—as in, cut yourself off after two.)
But spirits and sugar-free mixers are the way to go here. Think vodka and club soda with a twist of lime, or a dirty martini without the vermouth.
5.) DO drink plenty of water. Sounds like a no-brainer, but this is something many people forget to do during special occasions. And it’s one of the simplest things you can do to avoid overeating (plus it actually stimulates your metabolism).
6.) DON’T take a post-meal nap. Although it can be tempting (especially after eating turkey), sprawling out on the couch for a long snooze isn’t the best way to recuperate and “let your food digest.” In fact, people who sleep for more than an hour during the day are 46 percent more likely to develop diabetes.
7.) DO take a post-meal walk. Time and again, research has shown that an after-dinner walk is one of your most effective strategies for controlling blood sugar—blunting the highest and longest spike you’re likely to have in any given 24-hour period. Meaning you really can’t afford not to take that stroll once the Thanksgiving table is cleared.
And there you have it! Go ahead and make these good habits a tradition today… and you’ll be thankful not only on Thanksgiving, but for the rest of your life.
P.S. If yourself making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight this year, my A-List Diet can help. In fact, I discussed how it helps you to fight fat with fat in the January 2018 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“The lifesaving reason to make 2018 the year you finally KEEP your New Year’s resolution…). Subscribers have access to this and all of my past content. So what are you waiting for? Click here to sign up today!
“People eat more when dining with friends and family.” Science Daily, 10/04/2019. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191004105637.htm)