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How I Actually Navigate a Big Meal

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    It’s Thanksgiving in the states, and I am visiting my mom and stepdad in Florida with Jade and Dan. 2012 has been an amazing year, and I was just telling Jade that it has been the Year of the Mindset for me, especially considering I started with my first spiritual coach last year and hired my first business coaches about a year ago too. I have adopted and practiced new mindsets around food, exercise, business, self-compassion, psychology, time, self-worth and interpersonal relations. It’s been a great year and I have much to be thankful for.

    One of my mindset switches over the last few years has been around food. I have written on my eating strategy many times, and it remains one of moderation. So unlike many fitness or nutrition holiday blogs that may tell you not to overindulge or to simply abstain from alcohol or do double cardio, I decided to give you the ACTUAL STEPS I really use when navigating a big meal. I call it my “Big Meal Strategy” or my BMS :)

    I’m not going to pretend I eat perfect. I don’t. But I also never overdo it, because I have learned and practiced certain strategies that allow me to feel satisfied without needing to eat everything in sight.

    The low-carb cheesecake I made this Thanksgiving :)

    My #1 goal for these meals is to simply MAINTAIN my weight. These simple strategies allow me to maintain my weight, feel satisfied and wake up ready to eat clean the next day.

    Eating everything you want at a holiday meal only makes you feel worse. In fact, “comfort food” makes us feel more UNcomfortable.

    Using these strategies, I usually wake up without a food hangover, food baby and don’t feel like I want to just give up and go on an eating rampage :)

    And here they are:

    1) I do drink alcohol, but keep a 2-drink-max rule. I also only let myself drink red wine or vodka/soda (extra lime please).

    2) I don’t eat starch or sugar. Period. This is a hard & fast rule for me. I don’t eat “real” desserts; instead I make and BRING my own healthy, low-carb version (i.e. “dessert defense”). I don’t eat bread, potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, crackers, etc.

    3) I let myself eat as much fat, protein and fibrous veggies as I want. This includes butter and sauces on veggies, cheesy broccoli, creamed spinach, low-carb cheesecake, fatty dark meat, cheese plates, etc. I don’t stress too much about fat (even saturated) because these foods make me feel more satisfied so I don’t need as much and I don’t reach for the sugary stuff (also I don’t feel deprived because I get to eat fat). If I want seconds, I usually add more protein to my plate.

    4) I drink water like it’s my job, and I always drink AT LEAST 1 liter after the meal, before bed. With lots of extra sodium and alcohol, I always want to prevent water retention as much as possible. And one way is to drink more water. The fastest way to start SHEDDING water is to drink more of it. Sure, I might get up a few times to pee during the night, but that’s preferable, because it’s proof I am not retaining water :)

    5) I do an intense weight-training workout the day of the meal. I usually do a leg workout, or if not, I’ll do a full-body workout. The idea is to get as many muscles involved as possible and lift heavy to the point of failure. The idea here is to use the extra cals at the meal to push muscle building, not fat storage. Muscles are primed for growth in the hours immediately post-workout so I lift heavy & hard to ready them up.

    My goal is to feel satisfied, but not blow it. I practice these and I am able to achieve that balanced place. See what you think, maybe try 1 or 2, adjust as needed. And remember, food will always be there, so the urgency of needing to try everything at this very meal loses it’s impact. Try it :)

    Related: 14-Minute “Home for the Holidays” Workout (no equipment needed)

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