It’s that time of year again! Thanksgiving!!! The time when family gets together and enjoys one another while slowly nibbling on a few bites of tasty oven baked turkey and Broccoli. High fiving each other while wearing their neatly pressed khakis and new sweater that fits their svelte bodies just right and playing a game of bean bag toss in the yard. Wait…no, that’s not right, I was just looking at the Target ad.

The reality is for most of us is that we’re all running around like turkeys;) with our heads cut off trying to prepare our house to look like that Target ad. Then everyone arrives and starts grazing on snacks until the meal is served with it’s 27 dishes and 37 desserts. Fast forward an hour… the older half of the room is asleep while the kids run around like they each have just had a pot of coffee. It’s funny the difference in the way we react to too much sugar as we age. The difference is the number of years we have been abusing the system. This could turn into a whole other topic so I will just get to the 5 ways to beat the holiday bulge.

1. Exercise-Whaat!!! I knew he was going to say that. It’s true, a lot of us have more free time once the day is here. Think about it. The entire 16 hours you’re awake you are deeply involved in Thanksgiving activities? No! Ok, some of you are saying, “but Chad we are driving to XYZ and it takes blahblablah hours to get there”. All the more reason to get some exercise after all that sitting. Here are some suggestions on how to sneak in some exercise. First, if you’re that guy that just said you’re driving a long ways , I have a tip just for you. Try pushing the car for the first half mile. Just kidding! Go a full mile! Another idea, one you might actually do. Grab a relative you haven’t talked to in a while and go out for a long walk. If he/she refuses to go, offer to pull their lazy butts in a wagon. Then make sure when you’re as far as you going, refuse to drag them back and start heading back to the house. They may be mad at first but trust me they will thank you later! Another idea. Try chasing the kids around if there are little ones. You will automatically get nominated “the fun uncle/aunt/grandma/grandpa/parent” Just make sure you don’t overdo it. you don’t want to have that title stripped and replaced with a story about “remember when “uncle joe” tripped and busted his face on the concrete because he was trying too hard to keep up with us”. So to recap: take a walk, play with the kids, push a heavy object (maybe a pushup?)

2. Smaller portions- Use a salad plate. This way you can taste everything in a smaller amount. The trick here is to not let that plate pull you back to the kitchen and force you into filling it up again. the biggest problem at Thanksgiving really is the portion control.

3. Eat slower- this really goes hand in hand with the tip listed above. Seriously, eating slower and enjoying it more is the key. You must remember in our fast paced, action packed, hyper competitive culture that this particular meal is not a race. And if it was, who wants the trophy? The trophy being; yours pants fit too tight, you feel like you’re going to barf and you end up looking like the guy pictured at the top of this article.

4. Eat protein,fiber and fat first. Here’s an easy to remember acronym. PFFF (Premier Fitness Food Fight…just kidding…Protein Fiber Fat First). Ok, so that’s not an easy to remember acronym but if you apply that with eating slower it will provide a winning combination. PFFF will fill you up and make it little harder to be a total glutton on this day of Thanks.

5. Mindset- Remember the point of this day! It’s to truly be thankful for all the things you’ve been blessed with. In case you have forgotten, here are a few things to jog your memory. You live in The USA. While you may not agree with who was elected you are still wealthier than 60% of the world even if you’re poor in this country. If you are reading this be thankful you have working eyes and probably have a functioning body to go with this. If you live inside and have indoor plumbing, be thankful. If you don’t, go sell the device you’re reading this on and use the money to acquire shelter;). There is an endless supply of things to be thankful for. Remember to have your strategy mapped out before you head out to to your Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings!