Thanksgiving is a time for being with family and friends and giving thanks for our blessings.
But it’s also one of the biggest eating days of the year. For anyone trying to watch what they eat or lose weight, the thought of all that food can be more than just a little scary. You want to enjoy the day, but you’re also terrified you will overdo it and completely derail your recent progress.
Not to worry, I have some simple steps for you to follow so you can relax and enjoy the holiday.
1. Eat. First of all, acknowledge you are going to eat more. We all wish we could pass up all that food without a second thought, but that’s not likely to happen. Accept that you will eat. Do not try to go in thinking you’re going to stay on plan. It’s one day. However, I do suggest you eat light the day before and (if possible) the day after. Other meals should also be light on Thanksgiving Day. Do the majority of your eating at the meal itself.
2. Not too much. That said, do not stuff yourself. Just because there is a lot of food does not mean you have to eat it all. Practice some self-control. If you have a favorite dish that you know is super high calorie, have a smaller portion. You can still enjoy it without overdoing it.
3. Practice mindfulness. The biggest mistake we make is eating too much, too fast and not realizing we are stuffed until it is too late. Make it your mission to get through the meal without a stomachache (or needing a nap.) This means small bites, chewing carefully, and really enjoying the food. Take part in the conversation at the table and slow down. You have plenty of time. Take breaks every now and then to see how you feel. Remember, true hunger is in the stomach, not the mind and not the mouth!
4. Keep busy. If you’re at someone else’s home, ask what you can do to help. Chip in with getting things ready and cleaning up after dinner. Keeping your hands occupied means you can’t be grazing. Another trick, hold a glass of water in your hands (since you won’t be having alcohol, right??) That keeps your hands occupied and you won’t feel self conscious if everyone else is holding food.
5. Visit. One of the best things about Thanksgiving is not just food, but family. Take time to really enjoy being with your loved ones. Engage in conversation and really listen. This can be a distraction from the food as well and loved ones will likely appreciate the extra attention.
6. Don’t stress too much. Its a holiday, and holidays were meant to be different. You aren’t going to eat like you normally would. But that’s what makes holidays special occasions. They only happen every so often. Focus on being as consistent as possible on your “normal” days and one day of holiday eating won’t derail your progress. Just be sure you’re right back on track as soon as possible.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!