Over the past few days I’ve seen a lot of articles and blog posts about how to not gain weight over the holidays. Drink a lot of water, use a small plate, wear a tight outfit, plan your meal…these are all suggestions I’ve seen. Some of them might be helpful in not letting yourself get out of control with your eating on Thanksgiving, although, I don’t think I want to wear a tight dress. Ugh! That sounds so uncomfortable. But, here’s the thing that bothers me about these well-intentioned lists, their focus on not gaining weight is just another way of getting you into a diet mentality. And, as many of us have learned, when we try to control our eating it usually ends with a binge.
Instead of trying to drink tons of water or working out before you go to your Thanksgiving dinner because you’re worried about gaining weight, here’s another option. I hate to sound like that annoying Frozen song, but let it go! Don’t worry that you’re going to gain weight, or that you’re going to overeat your relative’s amazing desserts. Relax a little, and just let all that worry go.
Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for what we have and to enjoy being with our family and loved ones. Don’t let yourself get so stressed about eating too much that you don’t enjoy your day.
Here are some tips for a calm and enjoyable day.
- Start your day with taking a little quiet time for yourself; meditate, write, breathe. Do whatever you need to feel centered and calm before you go into a house full of people. Being with family can be stressful. Take a little time for self-care.
- Enjoy your food. If you’ve been waiting all year for your sister’s amazing apple pie, pay attention when you’re eating it. Savor the flavor, notice the texture. It’s fine to eat dessert, but slow down, taste it and enjoy the company of the people with you.
- Check in with yourself. While you should enjoy your food, remember to check in with how you feel. As a kid, I remember going to holiday meals, eating, and then waiting for my stomach to make some room so I could eat more. I made myself too full and uncomfortable. Listen to your body, and eat so you’re comfortable and you don’t feel sick.
- Don’t let family push your buttons. If Aunt Shelly starts giving you unsolicited advice about your kids, your job, your love life, politely excuse yourself and walk away. Breathe, go help move chairs, take a walk…but make sure you’re enjoying those mashed potatoes because they taste great and not because you’re trying to stuff your feelings about what someone said about your unruly child.
- Don’t worry. Don’t stress yourself out over what you might eat. Be in your day and visit with your people. When you’re more focused on that than worrying about what you might eat, the day will be less about the food.
You might overeat on Thanksgiving. If you do, that’s ok. It’s one day. Don’t beat yourself up about it. If you eat too much, let yourself sit with the feeling of fullness. Don’t punish yourself, you don’t have to make up for it with unhealthy behaviors. You don’t have to get stricter with your eating or feel like you have to go burn it off at the gym. Let Thanksgiving be one day and then let it go. Be thankful you had a day with loved ones and be thankful that it’s just one day. Because that’s all most of us can take.
Have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!