5 Tips to Beat the Thanksgiving Bloat

Thanksgiving is a time to get together with family and remind yourself of all the blessings in your life. It’s also a time to eat, and I mean really eat! Now that you’ve had a week to let it all settle, it may come as a surprise that the number on the scale isn’t what it used to be. In the spirit of “giving”, here are a few tips on how to get yourself back in shape after a week of feasting.

Don’t drink your calories

Fall drinks are Starbucks’ gift (and curse!) to women everywhere. After going through a stressful weekend of around-the-clock cooking and giant family dinners, nothing sounds better than curling up with Pumpkin Spice Lattes until Halloween. Unfortunately, most flavoured lattes and mochas are packed with sugar and calories that you should be avoiding if you’re trying to lose a few pounds. Opting for teas and water may not compensate for the taste, but they will definitely be rewarding when your jeans don’t feel so tight again.

On top of that, midterms are a stressful time for students and usually lead to studying all night once or twice. While the obvious solution to keep yourself alert would be chugging an energy drink, they are loaded with sugar and won’t be of much help if you’re looking to eat healthier. Opting for fruits and coconut water will give you the same boost of energy without the crash at the end of a sugar high.

 

Exercise

This seems like an obvious one, but it’s surprising how many people go to extreme lengths to avoid exercising the extra weight off. Before ruling exercise out, consider all of your options. Membership to the Laurier gym is included in your tuition, so if you’re tight on money, this would be the ideal place to get a workout without emptying your wallet. The gym isn’t for everyone and that’s totally understandable, but there are ways to make going a little less miserable. Grabbing a friend or downloading new music or movies on your phone can make working out feel less of a chore and more like stress reliever from midterms. If you’re still not feeling the gym atmosphere, there are a variety of classes that you can sign up for to help get you back in shape. Classes are great because they offer a high-energy atmosphere in a group setting, which is perfect if you’ve never set foot in a gym before or aren’t easily motivated to push through your workout.

If the recreational facilities on campus don’t offer what you’re looking for, there are gyms and studios around the Waterloo-Kitchener area, so do a little research and find what works for you!

Stock up on healthy food

Laurier got in the spirit of “giving” this year because we got our first Fall semester Reading Week. Now that you’re back on campus, take the opportunity empty your refrigerator of unhealthy, expired food and restock it with healthier ingredients that can go towards cooking meals with high-protein and complex carbohydrates. Loading up on vegetables, fruits, and lean meats is the best way to make sure you’re cooking healthier meals and cutting out sugar and empty carbs. Granted that not everyone’s schedule can revolve around cooking three meals a day, look around campus for healthy food venues or substitute your fast food meals with healthier options. To avoid caving in for cravings, keep a healthy snack on you throughout the day. This will save you money and satisfy your hunger in the middle of class.

Don’t go to extremes

Stress can cause weight gain and weight gain can cause stress. It’s a vicious cycle that every university student aims to avoid, especially around midterms. Coming back to school after feasting for a week and gaining weight can cause you to stress about your body when you’re already stressing for midterms. With no free time to spend working out or cooking healthy meals, students tend to take to two major extremes – stress eating or stop eating altogether. Stress eating usually leads to binge eating foods that are unhealthy and loaded with sugar. Not only does this stray you farther away from your goal, it also gives you sugar highs that at the time may seem to make you productive, but really just cause you to crash at the most inconvenient moment. Restricting yourself from food because you don’t have time to cook healthy meals has a different effect on your body, but the same end result. If your body doesn’t get the nutrients and energy it needs, it thinks that you are starving and will begin to store more and more fat. Aside from the additional weight gain, you will lose the ability to concentrate due to lack of energy and you will underperform on your midterms.

Bottom line, straying to the extreme ends of the weight loss spectrum will lead to adverse effects and increase stress levels more than midterms are already raising them. It’s understandable that some days you will be too busy to make the healthiest food choices, but don’t let that discourage you from working towards your goal. 

Find your motivation

Whether it’s a super cute Halloween costume or a pretty dress for the holiday season, find something to motivate you to stay on track. Not only will this keep you accountable to get a workout in or cook healthy meals, it will make the process feel faster and your goal feel achievable.