Don't Pray To The Fitness Gods: The 5 Commandments For A Fit Thanksgiving

Don't Pray To The Fitness Gods: The 5 Commandments For A Fit Thanksgiving


It’s Thanksgiving week! Who's excited?! I know I am!! I have grown up cooking up a storm with my Dad the day before Thanksgiving and I look forward to it every year! Actually, I'll let you in on a secret. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. (Yes, above Christmas.) 

I love food and I love family time, PLUS Thanksgiving doesn't come with all the stress of buying cherished gifts for loved ones. What's not to love?

Well, I guess there is ONE thing. Often times when we’re feeling like we’ve been doing a great job eating well for our bodies and working out consistently we get a little nervous around the holidays because we don’t want to undo all of our hard work! So, in that case I guess what's not to love is the anxiety inducing food marathon, and the accompanying guilt. 

That is totally understandable! So to make sure you’re at ease and enjoying your holiday I want you to set up a game plan! I'm going to tell you exactly what to do to keep your Thanksgiving stress free (when it comes to the calories... I can't help you with the awkward social interactions with your recently divorced uncle, sorry.) 

Here are your 5 commandments for a fit thanksgiving! 

1) Though shall let themselves off the hook ahead of time.

There's no reason to have a slice of your aunt's famous pumpkin pie if you're going to feel bad about it with every bite you take. You should enjoy and savor every single bite, totally guilt free. Life is about more than calories in/calories out and body fat percentage. Plus, those calories are the same whether you enjoy it or not, so you might as well make the most out of it.   


2) Though shall still squeeze in their workouts.

Sometimes, it's a one day only celebration, in which case this rule is less applicable (although it's always good to get your workout in on days you'll be eating a little extra fuel!) But for longer holidays and vacations, you'll likely feel more energetic and "in shape" if you just continue to squeeze in your workouts. Extra fuel (aka your mom’s biscuits and gravy) can be put to really good use if you just keep up with your workouts and continue to challenge our bodies physically. Holidays are busy,there’s no arguing that, however I am still pretty certain you can find 15-30 minutes to fit in a workout. I’ve definitely checked out and given up on workouts over vacations in the past, but I always regret this because I end up feeling sluggish, guilty, and bloated. Make time for yourself and just get it done. You won’t regret it (but you know that!)

3) Though shall understand the scope of the consequences.

If I asked you if you thought you could lose 5 pounds of fat in one day I would likely be met with resounding laughter. That’s obviously impossible, right? (That’s rhetorical. YES, it is impossible.) A holiday or special occasion is not a diet crisis and ultimately will have very little impact on your overall health. So, since it’s equally impossible to gain 5 pounds of fat in one day, please don’t be that person talking to their coworker next monday about how they gained “X pounds” over the holiday. You’re well educated about the human body. You understand the laws of physics. You know that can’t happen and that the scale is a terrible indicator of body composition anyway. Said another way, you can't lose fat/get strong/attain your "ideal" body in one day, and that's GREAT news because that also means you can't undo weeks of hard work or progress in one day either! Relax. Enjoy it.


4) Though shall prioritize enjoying foods that are WORTH IT.

If you don’t love something and you’re just eating it because it’s there, well, stop. Stick to eating foods you really want so that you know the calories are “worth it”. This is a double whammy because it will help you cut out calories on the stuff you don’t really like but it will also encourage you to be mindful about your choices and truly enjoy the worth it stuff. If you savor your food you will overeat less, that’s a fact.

5) Though shall set a time limit.

I will repeat this: ONE day of indulging and overeating won't undo your hard work. FIVE days of sugar laden buttery treats might linger though. It's helpful to set expectations ahead of time. This allows us to plan ahead and know when we might want to make healthier choices and when it's time to let loose. Giving yourself a time limit will set you up for a guilt free holiday, but also set your mental timer of when and how you’ll get “back on track” when the celebrations are over.

That's IT! Those rules aren't so tough, right? You can totally do this. Thanksgiving will be filled with good food, lots of love, and absolutely NO food guilt. K? 

Great!!! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! This year I am extra thankful for YOU! Thank you for reading my blog and helping me spread the science behind health and fitness. 

xo - Ashley

PS: Do you geek out on the "science-y" stuff like I do? Have you heard of Carb Cycling but you're not sure where to start? Are you spending hours at the gym and still waiting to see results? Carb cycling is a very smart, very real world, useful strategy to give you better workouts and let you enjoy more of your favorite foods, while still burning fat and gaining muscle! Learn more here OR download my guide below!


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About Ashley:

Ashley is a Pilates instructor and entrepreneur in NYC who specializes in biomechanics and exercise nutrition for women. She uses the science behind exercise physiology to empower her clients to lead healthy, happy lives. Her passion project is writing “The LEAN Life Newsletter” which goes out every Tuesday and focuses on Lifestyle, Exercise, Active recovery, and Nutrition and serves as the backbone for her L.E.A.N. Life online health and fitness programs. She aims to get this information into the hands of as many women as possible so they can feel stronger and more confident in their bodies. For more information head to or @AshleyBrownPilates on instagram, or click here to get on the L.E.A.N. Life List!