If you’re Canadian (like me!) then Thanksgiving already happened for you but this is great information for really any holiday that involves, family, food, and friends.
Are you in the United States or celebrating Thanksgiving in November? Then this is a must-read for you.
When you hear talk about giving thanks or feeling grateful (the message of Fall!) it’s easy for it to feel like these are just buzzwords – that they don’t have any real roots.
But, what I’ve learned is gathering with friends and family is the perfect time to get clear on what you’re truly grateful for and why. It can also help you not overeat and really be able to enjoy the day that much more.
Focus on Family Not Food
The most important thing to remember when you’re celebrating a holiday…it isn’t just celebrating the food. You come together to be with family; to talk, catch up, deepen relationships, or maybe even repair relationships that have suffered.
In our culture, there is this joke about wearing your “fat pants” or stretchy pants because it’s a holiday and the message becomes more about the food then the time spent with the people you love.
It becomes about doing what you want for this particular day and just worrying about it later. But this one day can turn into a weekend or even week filled with the temptation to overeat and over drink. The fat mass that can accumulate can be significant and you can find yourself continuing to overeat long after the holiday ends.
You want to learn how to enjoy yourself and not let it through you off because your goal is to not have a stop and start mentality but a lifestyle that is doable every day of the year – while still enjoying every moment.
That’s why the first step is remembering to focus more on your friends and family. Really sit down and catch up with a family member, be fully invested in the game time or conversation with a friend.
This will help you be less focused on the food and help you tap into the grateful aspect of the day a bit more.
When it comes to food, I’m not going to tell what you can and can’t have. That’s not how I work. You can have everything – it’s the quantity that creates the impact.
But let’s dive into the most common foods at Thanksgiving so you feel prepared…
Turkey – it’s a great, lean protein and an excellent choice for your plate. Turkeys side dishes can be carb heavy – mashed potatoes, wild rice, fresh buns or bread, roasted squash with butter – and the meal is typically light on veggies.
The best thing you can do here is be the person who brings the veggies. Pick 1 or 2 of the carbs from the list above you love the most and replace the other one with a healthy portion of veggies.
For me, I always skip the bread because I know I can really have bread any day of the year and I fill up on more veggies and feel quite satisfied.
How much really does matter and so does your mindset around it.
Manage Your Mind
When it comes to overeating at Thanksgiving, do you ever feel like this?
“OMG! I love the dressing and I only ever have it once or twice a year…”
Well, thing is, you probably will have it at Christmas because the meals are similar and this is also isn’t the last Thanksgiving or comfy meal you will ever have.
When you shift your mindset to realize this isn’t the only time you’ll ever get to enjoy yourself, you can take the pressure off yourself a bit.
How about when it comes to over drinking at Thanksgiving?
Alcohol can be a slippery slope in a social situation… the more you drink, your inhibitions go down in terms of food meaning you end up eating more. The more you eat, the more you feel like crap, so you have another drink and it can put you in a vicious cycle that halts your progress.
Employ the 0, 3, 9 principle. It looks like this…
- Some days you commit to 0 drinks. If you know you’re going to be going out at the end of the week, decide which other nights are your 0 days.
- When you go out, decide your limit is just 3 drinks. Plan them out and enjoy them.
- Overall, no more than 9 drinks a week.
Here’s the deal: it’s ok if you’re not perfect. What matters most is that you stick with it and keep trying it, even during Thanksgiving.
Consciousness is everything. Weight loss doesn’t happen just when you feel like it. It happens when you are committed all of the time.
This means you also have to navigate wanting to people please or give in to the peer pressure to overdrink or overeat.
Use Your Words
“You’re not going back for seconds…?” “That isn’t all you’re eating, right…?” “Oh, don’t you like it? Are you sick?”
“Are you on a diet or something?”
The fact that you’re trying to lose weight again can be very sensitive especially if you’ve had people who were supportive but often critical. Or even the person who tells you to not worry about your weight so much.
When you’re trying healthy eating patterns, people will notice it, and it’s natural to feel defensive or protective.
So, you feel like it will be way easier to suffer through it or overindulge but that won’t bring you closer to your goal.
That’s why you have to use your words. Acknowledge how excellent the food is, ask questions about it, talk about what you liked about it, and let people know you are saving room to enjoy the entire day.
You have to be proactive about yourself and your weight. Use your words to take a stand for yourself.
Holidays can also be a time when emotions run high. It can become a way to not be with your feelings.
I know this too well. The first year after my divorce, my kids weren’t with me that Thanksgiving. I was sad and I was questioning all the decisions I was making in my life.
I did want to drink wine – not just a glass, but several. But you know what? I didn’t because I had just come through a massive transformative journey. I had put so much in that I was committed to not self-sabotaging.
When you’re just beginning this journey, it is you vs. you and you vs. your habits. But I promise that you can stop numbing with food and alcohol.
If you haven’t started yet and are beating yourself up…
Staring at a pile of clothes on the floor angry with yourself because nothing fits.
All it is a wakeup call. Life is asking for you to come back home to you. The universe gives you messages until you start to pay attention and take care to live a good life.
Here’s a few ways you can get started…
Successful Weight Loss Means Doing This First – this will help you start off on the right foot. It isn’t about a diet or another cleanse. This is about something deeper. It’s one of my favorites that I think can really help.
Small Bites Can Have A Big Impact – portion size is major and no one is helping you through this. This will make sense of it and help you make sense of serving sizes and what it really means for you.
This isn’t about just being at a good weight – it’s about you feeling good in your body. Taking the stand – now is the time. If not now, then when? I invite you to get started.