The Thanksgiving Blitz- Wrap Up

Putting a Bow on a 4 Week Healthy Holiday Program

Catching Up on The Blitz

A reminder if you are just joining me for this blog series, Blitz is a Football term, this is when the defense sends extra pass rushers after the opposing team’s Quarterback. I chose this term because there is Football on Thanksgiving, and it is part of my strategy this year; I went out to Blitz Thanksgiving this year, it was not going to get me!

To catch up on the beginning and weekly updates from this 4 week program, please take a look at my week 1 post, and also weeks 2 and 3.

My Plan

A reminder, my plan was to focus on maintaining my frequency and intensity of exercise through the Holiday season, and to not gain weight or belt loop holes in between November-January. Part of my plan was focusing my nutrition on mostly whole food sources, and avoiding processed food (mostly products containing grain and added sugar). My Thanksgiving plan was a good test and gave me a progress report at the mid-point of the season.

My Specific Goals

I made myself some specific, measurable, realistic goals to hold myself accountable.

  1. Make sure that added Sugar, Grain, and Alcohol stay in the treat category (once per week max), focus on whole, unprocessed food being dietary staples.
  2. Keep weight on the scale, and belt loop the same, or improve them (I don’t want to have to loosen my belt on January 1, compared to November).
  3. Assure that my weekly frequency of cardio exercise stays the same, even when the weather gets colder.
  4. Add volume (reps and sets) to my upper body, body weight exercise routine of Pull Ups, Dips, and Push Ups.
  5. Assure to wear blue light glasses before bed each night, consistent bed time, strive for 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.

These goals were tracked weekly to see how I was doing, and if any adjustments were needed.

My Top Tips

During the program, I included a series of tips and strategies that worked well for me, I invite you to take a look at them below and hope they may give you some ideas or inspiration.

Intermittent Fasting: Put simply, intermittent fasting is going period of time without eating or drinking anything with significant calories (black coffee has some calories, but does not break a fast). There are potential metabolic benefits to fasting, and it is also a strategy to help manage your overall intake of food in a day. If you eat breakfast at 6 am, Lunch at 12 noon, dinner at 6 pm, and have late night snacks after dinner, your overall intake of food/calories will likely be higher than if you manage all meals within an 8 hour time frame each day.

The basic concept is to have a 16 hour fast, and an 8 hour period in which to eat your meals; this protocol can be adjusted to incorporate a longer fast and shorter eating period as well. The style I used this week was one meal a day (OMAD) intermittent fasting.

This is something I have in my dietary toolbelt because I spent some time building this metabolic flexibility while trying out the Keto diet for 30 days in September. If you started off trying to manage with one meal per day, it may be quiet uncomfortable if you have not spent some time trying out fasting and adjusting. If you wanted to give intermittent fasting a try, here is an idea:

  1. Eat dinner at 6 pm after a normal day, no late night snacks.
  2. When you wake up, do not eat breakfast, only have black coffee, tea, or water (no sugar or artificial sweetener.
  3. If you get hungry before 10 am, drink plenty of water.
  4. Eat your first meal at 10 am.

You have just fasted 16 hours!

Hydration: Hydration is important with any nutrition plan, but especially with intermittent fasting. Your body will sometimes send signals that indicate hunger, when actually you are thirsty and just need some water. And when I say hydration, I mean pure, clean water…you can have other beverages during the day, but the majority of your fluid intake should be water. Here is a helpful previous post on Hydration.

Eliminate Trigger Foods: Trigger Foods are foods that you are unable to stop eating once you have even a little bit, and they are different for everyone. It doesn’t matter if the food is “healthy” or not, what matters is your ability to control intake and stop eating the food. Mixed nuts may be considered “healthy”, but for me they can be a trigger food, so I avoided them during my Thanksgiving blitz.

Eliminate (or greatly reduce) Grain, Added Sugar, Alcohol: This is a strategy I picked up during my Whole 30, and found that there are exponential returns on your health and energy levels when eliminating these food and drink groups. If you think of your trigger foods from above, I bet you a vast majority of them either have grain, or added sugar (or, you have a harder time controlling the trigger food if you have a few drinks).

Make the Weekend Winning Time! Use the weekend to get even more sleep, spend more time meal planning, and do some fun movements and exercise. If you party, drink, have treats, and stay up late on weekends (every weekend), you take away progress you are working towards.

Exercise on the Holiday! Even if you are going to have your favorite treats on the Holiday, make it a point to move and exercise. Do something that is fun and meaningful for you; walk, run, push up, pull up, lift weights. Make exercise and movement part of your celebration, you will feel great, and rev up that metabolism before your big day!

Stick to your plan. You made a plan to be healthy during the holidays, make sure you stick with it! No late night snacks on Tuesday, no drinks and delivery Pizza on Wednesday before Thanksgiving Thursday (for example). If your plan is to dial in your nutrition every day except the Holiday, stick to your plan! Part two of this tip is immediately get back on your plan after the Holiday. Allowing the same habits to stick around for another week can be bad news for your goals, so get back to it!

On the Holiday, Eat what you like! What I mean by this is when you are deciding to enjoy a Holiday, or any particular meal, eat the foods you really like. You have already decided that it is ok to indulge a little bit and have some treats, but there is really no need to add foods to your plate that you consider to be just “ok”. For example, if you love Turkey and Mashed Potatoes, but can’t stand green bean casserole, skip the casserole! Do not worry about counting calories on the Holiday, but do consider that eating foods you don’t really love fills you up unnecessarily, can make you uncomfortable, and take away from the enjoyment of the day. Another example of this is eating things simply because they are there, like appetizers. Apply the same logic, if you really like the appetizer being served have it, if you don’t, skip it!

Exercise the Day After. No matter how you feel the day after a Holiday, get up and do something. Even if it is as basic as a walk, getting up and exercise the day after helps renew your commitment to health and wellness.

Challenges I Faced

My first challenge was getting started on this plan. I had a week off from work in early November, and did not make a great plan in regards to my nutrition and exercise routine, so I had some bad habits creep in. Getting started by dialing my nutrition back in, and exercising 5 days a week was a challenge for sure. Writing down my plan and having a strong motivation why I am doing it helped me overcome this challenge and get committed/started.

Another challenge was, you guessed it, sticking to the plan! There are a lot of tasty treats and temptations during this time of the year. My biggest pitfall in years past has been the week of Thanksgiving; drinks after work, eating a lot during the food prep day Wednesday. Building in accountability systems helped me stick to my plan; examples are writing down plans and goals, and telling someone about your goals who can help hold you accountable.

My third challenge to highlight is, getting back on your plan immediately after the Holiday. This started with setting an alarm for 5 am the day after Thanksgiving and making sure I got the hour of cardio in that I planned. Did I want to answer the bell that morning at 5 am? Not really, but I immediately felt great about my decision after finishing the workout. This gave me the momentum to get back on my plan heading in to the critical week after Thanksgiving.

Program Highlights, Tips, and Challenges [Video]

If you prefer video highlights, check out this you tube video where I talk through highlights, tips, and challenges from my Holiday plan.

Daily Journals

I am including daily journals for my final week, to illustrate the importance of getting right back to your healthy lifestyle following a Holiday. Overall I am very happy with my efforts getting back on the plan, the only adjustment I would make is better grocery shopping and meal planning the weekend after Thanksgiving, so I did not lean so much on leftovers Sunday-Thursday and pick at my son’s humus and pretzels. This blog series has been a wonderful illustration for me that one day will not derail your progress! Our day to day, week to week habits and routines are what ultimately will determine how we look, feel, and perform.

Sunday

Exercise: Stretch and foam roll.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee and water.

Around 8 am: Iced coffee (black).

Around 12 noon: Leftover Lobster mac and cheese,1 IPA beer.

During afternoon, 2 Scotches, water, seltzer.

Around 6:30 pm: Leftover stuffed mushrooms, asparagus, carrots.

Monday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 47 minutes, 2.92 miles.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: black coffee.

During work day: Plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: Leftover turkey taco bowl with taco sauce, pinto beans, shredded cheese, sour cream; humus and veggie chips.

Tuesday

Exercise: before work, weight training. Pull up 7,7,6,5,5; Dip 8,8,7,7,5; Push up 11,10,8,7,5; Total Gym row 12,12,12,12; Ab wheel roll 10,10,10,10, 10; Kettlebell Swing 53 lbs 12,12,15,15,15

For the above exercises, what I did is go through each exercise in the order listed, with very little rest in between each exercise, and then take a few minutes rest after Kettlebell swings before starting with Pull up again.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Bulletproof coffee (see week 1 for recipe).

During work day: 2 green teas , plenty of water.

Around 3 pm: 2 oz. Bison jerky

Around 4:30 pm: Leftover turkey taco bowl with taco sauce, pinto beans, shredded cheese, sour cream, pickled garlic; humus and potato chips.

Wednesday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 60 minutes, 3.79 miles.

Food and Drink

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 8 am: Black coffee.

During work day: 2 green teas , plenty of water.

Around 4 pm: Leftover turkey taco bowl with taco sauce, pinto beans, shredded cheese, sour cream, pickled garlic; guacamole and pretzels.

Thursday

Exercise: Deadlift 205- 3 Double Kettlebell push press 35s- 10,10,10 Hanging leg raise 10,10,10

*Of note, had a spasm/tightness in my upper back/shoulders, so I needed to cut my workout short and do some stretching and percussion massage. Could be my body telling me to take it a little easier after a decent training week last week, so I listened.

Food and Drink

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 8 am: Black coffee.

During work day: 2 green teas , plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: Bowl with 2 cans herring, 8 olives, pickled garlic, 2 hot peppers; 1 bag air dried kale chips.

Friday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 60 minutes, 3.78 miles.

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 8 am: Black coffee.

During work day: 2 green teas , plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: Mixed bowl with olives, pickled garlic, cheese cubes, green powder, olive oil; Bacon Cheeseburger salad.

Before and After The Blitz (Progress Report)

Time frame of this plan was November 9- December 4, 2020.

Photos

Before
After

Weight

Before: 201.6 pounds

After: 196.2 pounds

*Goal was met! In my case, I do not consider this “losing weight”, because I am back to where I started before my week off and bad habits in early November. I mentioned in post one that I had put on a few pounds on the scale after taking a week off from work and letting some poor habits creep in. This plan really helped me get back on track and “Crush it!”

Belt Loop 

Before: 4th (4th is ok, 5th is better, 3rd is not good…higher belt loops=lower waist circumference)

After: 5th! *Goal was met!

Cardio Frequency

Before: At least 2 walks (or equivalent) at least 1 jog (or equivalent) per week. Best run of a 4.9 mile loop, 48:30.

After: 3 Nordic Track sessions per week 40-60 minutes duration.

*This goal was met! Had to make the transition indoors due to colder whether, I am happy with cardio frequency.

Best Body Weight Set

Before: Pull ups 6,6,6,6; Dips 4,5,6,6; Push Ups 7,8,8,7 (done as a circuit, 1 exercise after the other)

After: Pull up 7,7,6,6,5; Dip 9,8,8,7,5; Push up 11,10,8,7,6

*The goal to add volume (sets and reps) was met!

What is Next?

Coming soon, I’ll be featuring a new blog series to keep the healthy momentum going through January. A month is plenty of time to crush some health and fitness goals, and also plenty of time to allow unhealthy habits and patterns to creep in, IF you let them. This blog series will feature tips and strategies to make your own healthy holiday plan, and I’ll also include my plan to follow along with.

Jingle Bells everyone, see you soon!

Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com

3 thoughts on “The Thanksgiving Blitz- Wrap Up

  1. Great tips to help people get back into a routine after Thanksgiving! I’m glad that you mentioned trigger foods, too. As much as I like certain foods, even if they’re healthy, too much can cause negative results down the road.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rob, thanks so much for the feedback! Yes I found through trial and error that making a plan for the days and weeks after a holiday is critical, otherwise it is easy to go with the flow of overindulge… good luck with the rest of 2020, let’s make it awesome!

      Like

  2. Pingback: Happy (Healthy) Holidays | Dom's 10 Minute Health and Fitness Tips

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