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Top Five Ways to Stay Fit During Thanksgiving

The great thing I love about Thanksgiving is the wonderful food associated with this beautiful holiday. Sure I like to go visit the family and friends; but the food, ohhhh the food! I love it all! – the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, green beans, yams, and pie. My favorite is the yorkshire pudding my wife will make, drizzled with a little gravy.

The not so great thing about Thanksgiving is also the food. More specifically, the mass quantity mysteriously found in my mouth throughout the day. I don’t know how it gets there, but it does. Soon after, I find myself uncomfortably full, glassy eyed, lethargic, and even worse--feeling guilty and frustrated with myself that I ate too much. Sound familiar? We've all been there...

As Thanksgiving approaches, some of my friends and athletes have asked me how to avoid bad eating habits on Thanksgiving, and how to maintain fitness during the holidays. So, I decided to create "Dan's Thanksgiving Top 5 List"- a simple set of guidelines you can do to maintain your fitness level and avoid the pitfalls of excessive eating during the holidays, without feeling like you have to “go without”.

1. Enjoy the Food and Take your time. This isn’t a contest of who eats the most the fastest! Enjoy and savor the foods that have been prepared. You will be able to determine how full you are much easier if you slow it down and as my son says, enjoy the taste!

2. Eat your stuffing and rolls last. Do you ever go to a restaurant and fill yourself up on bread before the entrée even arrives on your table? Then you force down the rest of your meal because you feel like you have to? So do I. Try eating your meat and veggies first, and then eat your breads. Trust me, it works!

3. Eat lots of vegetables & salad first. Eating the good carbs found in vegetables and salads provides your body with needed fiber and helps control the peaks and valleys of feeling full.

4. Take a hike. There is one thing I don’t feel like doing after I exercise -- Eating. So, before your big meal, tell your spouse to stir the gravy and set the table while you go for a quick 20-30 walk/run. Or, better yet, go for a walk with the entire family before dinner!

5. Drink a lot of water. Water will help you feel full earlier and desire smaller portions, as well as keep you hydrated.

Lastly, remember to reflect on all the many things you are grateful for and do NOT doubt yourself or your efforts.

Happy Thanksgiving!

About the Author: Dan Aamodt is a part-time triathlon and running coach. His experience spans over 22 years, including racing in the Hawaii Ironman World Championship and over 100 other events. He enjoys coaching adults and youth at all fitness levels. Dan resides in Draper, Utah with his wife, Michelle, and their two children Sam and Abbey. For more information on coaching, you can reach Dan at

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