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Eating Healthy on Thanksgiving

I don’t think the phrase “eating healthy on Thanksgiving” will be too appealing to most people, but there are some of you out there who are desperately looking to lose weight and plan on staying committed over the holidays. For those of you who are trying hard, you’re definitely going to be tested in a few days when you walk into your family’s house, smell nothing but cookies and pumpkin pie! Mmmm sounds good right? Sure does, but no matter how much the temptations are there, if you want to stay on track with your goals, you’re going to have to find a way to eat healthy on Thanksgiving.

Back before I began P90X, when I was the chubby dude who literally ate everything in sight, Thanksgiving was one of my favorite days of the year. I was that guy who would walk into the house and immediately start digging into food! Cheese, cookies, turkey, you name it, I ate it, and unfortunately that was all before the main meal! When it was time to actually sit down and eat with the family, I would take a few deep breaths because I knew that I wasn’t stopping eating for the rest of the day until I literally couldn’t eat anymore. I would pile the mashed potatoes, noodles, take on 3 pieces of rolls soaked in butter, have as much turkey as physically possible, and then after I cleaned my first plate I would go up for seconds, and then thirds, and yes, then I moved on to the desserts. I literally felt sick afterwards, but I didn’t care because I didn’t know that I should care. Now thinking back, I probably EASILY took in 5,000 to 6,000 calories on Thanksgiving! And then I watched football and napped.

That was about 4 years ago, and things have DRASTICALLY changed since then! From going through P90X, I learned the importance of monitoring your calories and refusing temptations. I committed myself 100% to the entire program, including the P90X diet, and once I started feeling great about the way I looked and felt, the desire to eat unhealthy just sort of disappeared. Eating healthy is a part of my lifestyle, and sure, I will have a few cheat meals every now and then, but it’s very rare, and when I do have a cheat meal, I feel like crap afterwards because my body isn’t used to it. If I wanted, I could have a cheat meal on Thanksgiving and be fine since I’m already in excellent shape and know I can burn it off in a few days, but even at that I wouldn’t go crazy and eat everything in sight! I will make sure I’m eating the right foods, limit any starchy white bread, and not fill myself up to the point of explosion.

So what are some healthy foods to eat on Thanksgiving? For one, turkey is a great food that’s high in protein and not too high in fat. If you’re trying to limit your carbs, then consuming quite a bit of turkey would be the answer. If you’re cooking dinner for your family, try replacing the white noodles with 100% whole grain or whole wheat. Also, stick with veggies, but watch soaking them in a ton of butter for “better taste.” Butter contains a TON of fat and calories and can easily mess up a good day of eating. Next, deviled eggs aren’t terrible, but to make them even more healthy, just take out the middle part and eat the egg whites. Sure, it might not taste as good, but you’re really going to cut the calories and fat that way! Last, if you have a sweet tooth and your mouth waters every time you pass the desserts, try having sweet potatoes as a healthy alternative. Sweet potatoes are complex carbs, and taste great when you put a little Stevia and cinnamon on it. That should satisfy your cravings for sugar and help you stay away from the dessert bar.

Hopefully I was able to give you some good ideas on what you can eat if you’re thinking about eating healthy on Thanksgiving! If you’re in good shape and want to have a cheat meal, then have at it, but if you’re still working hard towards reaching your fitness goals, then make sure you are conscious about what you’re taking in and don’t go crazy. The tips that I gave above should help you enough to get through the day without feeling like a bowling ball! If you have any questions or need help with your diet, feel free to email me at

One comment

  1. Great Post Josh!I am not where I want to be yet, but I am nowhere near the “Bowling Ball” I once was! Happy Thanksgiving buddy!

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