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Your Post-Thanksgiving Survival Guide

Put down those leftovers and step away from the table!

Raise your hand if you ate a teeny weeny bit more than usual this past week, and now you’re looking in the mirror…slightly agitated.

If you didn’t raise your hand, it must be because your family can’t cook. (Kidding!)

Thanksgiving is the designated holiday for family and friends to come together and shot off their cooking skills. Everyone wants to have “that dish” that’s so delicious that people talk about it for years to come. And, what means that everyone’s coming with the most sugary, salty, and oily thing they can put together in their minds.

It doesn’t dawn on us to tip a pot to the side and watch the butter run along the top of those yams, or to think about how the frosting on Meemaw’s Red velvet cake is little more than confectioners sugar and cream cheese. I’m almost certain we never think about how much of the breaded items came from some box in an aisle in a grocery store, with any untold number of carcinogenic, health-depleting substances within.

Basically, for many people, Thanksgiving is YOLO-time. But this article isn’t about that.

There are countless essays on the web about what to do to prepare for the holiday, and how to approach the holidays with fitness in mind. We, however, need to talk about what can be done after the holiday has passed. Because, yes. You know you need it.

Your first tip is to ensure that you’re eating fiber, and lots of it. Let’s face it – copious amounts of overeating are to be promptly followed by copious amounts of, uh, quality time spent on the potty, otherwise you’re heading back to work with a distended belly and pants that don’t fit. Raw or lightly-sautéed dark leafy greens combined with water makes an amazing natural way to get rid of the excess gunk, and feel less bloated and full. Everyone’s individual needs are different, so start by slowly incorporating fibrous fruits and veggies into your diet. Before too long, your pants will be fitting normally in no time.

Your next tip is to drink all the water. If you’re a social drinker who might’ve had a few libations this past weekend, then cheers! With water. Water helps flush your system naturally of any additional toxins that might be floating around, and will also help aid you in safely riding your body of anything lingering around in your digestive system. Sometimes, with alcohol, even one night of excessive drinking can dry out your skin, make it splotchy, or even cause acne buildup along your face. Keeping the water flowing will help reverse that.

Thirdly, mind your workouts. If you know full well that you’ve acted up during Thanksgiving, keep it 100 with yourself – now’s probably not the time to start skipping workouts. Don’t let that post-holiday guilt get you down. If this is the only time of year that you can spend with Aunt Pookie, and you know that you had an extra slice of her crumb cake, don’t let the guilt from that cake have you sitting on your couch moping. You ate it, you enjoyed it, now go put your feet to the pavement!

And, lastly, use this as your guideline for understanding just how much “clean-up work” you’re willing to do, post-holiday affair. If you’re not interested in feeling like you’ve got to suffer through hours of exercise, time in the bathroom, and massive hangovers, then let this serve as a lesson on how to treat the next event, the next function, or the next family gathering. As I always say, your body will thank you for it!

Erika Nicole Kendall is a trainer certified in women’s fitness, fitness nutrition and weight loss coaching who also chronicles her own 160lb weight loss journey on the award winning blog, A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss. Hit her up on Twitter, or check her out on Facebook.