Watch out for this common trap: You persuade yourself that because you’re following a low-carb eating plan, Thanksgiving will be easy as pie. Heck, you tell yourself, it’s all about the turkey, right? Wrong! There’s the stuffing… and the cranberry sauce… and the ooey-gooey marshmallows on the candied sweet potatoes… and before you know it, your stay-on-my-low-carb-food-plan intentions have faded into a drift of apple crumb pie.
So don’t play the role of the turkey this year. Instead, consider preparing with these tips;
Work out when you’re feeling stressed! This holiday season; make a plan to keep pace with your exercise goals by scheduling fitness time on your calendar, just as you would a doctor’s appointment or work meeting.
If you’re traveling or live in an area where winter signals stay-in-the-house season, try out one of the new mini-gym-in-a-bag kits. Traveler Alert: Look for one that includes detailed directions (I emphasize “detailed” after struggling to figure out a weird combination of rubber bands and little rubber exercise ball that was accompanied by an adorable bag–and no instruction booklet). My favorite: Michael Sena’s Traveling Trainer, which contains instructions that are clear enough for beginners but can be made challenging enough for advanced fitness fans. I also like the TRX® Suspension Training Pro Pack from Perform Better. This is the original bodyweight-based, performance training tool that delivers an effective and efficient, total-body workout that builds strength, balance, flexibility, and core stability for people of all fitness levels- indoors and out. The TRX leverages gravity and your bodyweight to enable hundreds of exercises for every fitness goal.
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where it’s outside-walking weather year-round, keep your walking shoes and pedometer handy! Studies show that using a pedometer and tracking your steps gives you more incentive to get movin’! The Omron Premium Pedometer is one of the best, judging by some very unofficial test runs (okay, confession, they were more like fast walks). My friend and I aimed for 10,000 steps a day, which is supposed to represent four to five miles. Sounds corny, but you’d be surprised just how much more motivated you feel when you gaze at your little pedometer around 3 p.m. and it shows only 7,000 steps. Trying the “I gotta get to 10,000” mode, I decided, to opt out of the daily afternoon break, choosing instead to go for a brisk walk around the block.
Don’t like walking? Want to be distracted by entertainment when you exercise? Invest in a good piece of cardio equipment. My current favorite quick fix is the Brookstone Fold-Away Cardio Stepper, which received the Best Overall rating from the Wall Street Journal in a mini-stepper contest. Complete with adjustable steps, a handle, and even a pulse monitor, it’s a winner. Set it up in front of the TV, and you’ll be sweating and filled with endorphins (instead of chocolates!) before you know it. Or… get a variety of exercise videos. For a real kick in the patootie, try Yoga Booty Ballet. I loved the name–and the results–of this creative and invigorating combination of yoga movements, ballet exercises, and, ahem, fitness fixes for your delicate derriere (or, in my case, plump but firm posterior). Or if you are into the more sophisticated heavy duty arena, get the Bowflex® TreadClimber® as a gift to yourself for the holiday season. Get the benefits of a treadmill, stair climber and elliptical — all in one machine!
Two words: Stock up! On what? On foods that you enjoy and that are ON your plan. High-quality protein (want steak for breakfast on Thanksgiving Day? Treat yourself!), low-carb veggies (get the most exotic vegetables you can find), and, depending upon how far along you are on your low-carb diet, perhaps an exotic fruit like pineapple with some nuts or cottage cheese.
Last but not least; eating three meals a day is a must — and feel free to enjoy low-carb snacks between meals. Doing so will keep you fortified and less likely to grab something off plan. It will also maintain your blood sugar levels and keeps you on an even keel so you don’t suffer energy dips and you will have the energy to finish all those holiday errands.