How to Get Through Thanksgiving Without Expanding Your Waist Line
It’s Thanksgiving week in the U.S. … which means airports and highways are choked with travelers headed to visit family and feast away the long weekend.
It’s a lovely holiday in many ways (although there are also ways it is distinctly NOT so lovely!) The good part is it’s an occasion for most people to take a few days off work and celebrate and enjoy some time with family and loved ones – some of whom they might not see that often.
And, although those family gatherings CAN trigger some emotional distress, this focus on gratitude and abundance is an energy of high vibration and love. That is certainly why this holiday is a favorite for many Americans. The emphasis is NOT on buying but rather on BE-ING.
Yet, for some of us there’s a dark underbelly of this holiday: the intense focus on FOOD.
And not just some food, lots and lots and LOTS of food. Most traditional Thanksgiving dinners include 3 or 4 times as many dishes as you might eat on a regular dinner, plus extra desserts. And most of these traditional Thanksgiving dishes carry a lot of memories of pleasure and love – which makes them harder to resist even if you’re on a special diet or eating plan – either for weight loss or health.
Let’s face it – the Thanksgiving meal can feel like navigating a land mine if you’re no longer wanting to stuff yourself the way you might have in the past.
How do you enjoy the holiday without the struggle and angst over what and how much you should eat?
I’m not gonna lie – it can take some doing.
Holidays, tradition, and spending time with family does bring up emotions. And since so many of us have learned to manage our emotions through eating, it can especially be a challenge to be more mindful of what goes into your mouth during the Feasting Frenzy of Thanksgiving Dinner.
But – it IS possible … with a little planning and preparation.
On my Facebook Live this week I shared the following six tips about getting through the holiday feeling peaceful and light – instead of frenzied and over stuffed.
I do these live video trainings each week inside the group Ageless Radiance: Light & Healthy Living for Women Over 40.
What’s that? Not a member yet? Well, head right on over HERE to join the group and the conversation.
You can watch me sharing these tips over there on the replay – or just read about them below.
My Top Six Tips for Making It Through Thanksgiving Without Gaining Weight or Feeling That “Food Hangover”
- Visualize ahead of time. Take a few minutes to think about the actual feast, see what you will be eating and imagine yourself being mindful and tuned into your “Why“. What are you wanting to create? More of the same body and relationship with food? Or a lighter, more energized, fit and vitalized YOU?Spend a little time on Thanksgiving morning (and perhaps during the days before) imagining yourself before and during the Thanksgiving dinner. See yourself feeling clear and connected to what you REALLY want. To that big “Why”.Then, visualize any potential obstacles that might stop you from staying tuned into what you really want, and imagine yourself clearing them successfully. So, or example if you know your favorite dip will be on the hors d’oeuvre table, see yourself handling that gracefully (maybe some of the tips coming up will help with this.)
If you know how to do EFT tapping it’s super helpful to tap while you’re doing this visualization exercise. Just 5 minutes on this in the morning can do wonders to totally change your experience of the Feast. Do this when you are feeling well-resourced – the morning is often that time.
- Load your plate with veggies first. This is an old trick that I’ve used for years – not just at Thanksgiving but at potlucks and any time there’s a lot of delicious food dishes up for grabs.Now, this is easier if you’ve already cultivated your taste buds to enjoy the salad and the Brussels sprouts. But even if they’re not your favorites, do your best to load up on as many veggies as you can BEFORE you get to the rest.When half my plate is filled with salad, green beans or other veggies. I’m forced to take smaller portions of the richer or more sugar-laden dishes. It also means I make sure I get my allotment of healthy fiber and vitamins for the day.
- Take a Break from the Rigid Food Rules. Don’t worry so much about resisting the foods you are trying not to eat. Unless you have a severe allergy or food intolerance, cut yourself a little break during this big holiday. Allow yourself a small amount if you want it. It’s a special occasion and some of these foods you will only see once a year.But – here’s the trick. You need to PLAN for this ahead of time! That’s really the key to make it a guilt-free treat. And, remember it’s just those first few bites that are really special. Maybe even just the first bite. So take a small portion of that delicious forbidden food and savor those few bites guilt-free!
- Have some prepared responses ready for the ‘Plate Police’. If there are foods you don’t want to eat, that’s YOUR choice – even if Aunt Martha or your Dad are insisting you should have it (or eat a second helping!) because it’s always been your favorite.You could say something like, “You’re right I HAVE always loved the candied yam casserole, but now I’m noticing how much better I feel when I have less sugar and I like that even more.” (Be prepared for a less than enthusiastic response if you say that – but just know, their thoughts and feelings are about THEM, not you.You could even be more vague though, saying something like – “it’s funny I’ve sort of lost my taste for it.” And then change the subject as quickly as you can!Pick what works for you – and MEMORIZE IT!! It really helps to have a stock response all planned out if you’re pretty sure you will be dining with the Plate Police this Thanksgiving.
- Load up on the Sparkling. I love sparkling water, especially during festive occasions. Sometimes if I’m feeling really virtuous I’ll just substitute bubbly water with lemon or lime for the cocktails or the wine. (OK, that’s pretty rare on a holiday!)But, even if you alternate in the sparkling water, or fill your glass half with that and half with wine or your other drink, you’ll be consuming a lot less sugar, you’ll be more hydrated and you’ll notice the difference on Friday morning. More energy for your Black Friday shopping or (in my case) for your hiking and family time.6. Don’t Starve Yourself Before the Meal. Remember, it’s not about the calories! Depending on what time of day you will feast, I suggest definitely eating a healthy breakfast with protein and fat. That way your system won’t be screaming for food.When you’re super hungry it can be harder to actually feel the internal cues that signal to your body when you are full. And, if you show up starving, you’ll definitely find yourself overdoing it on the hors d’oeuvres
And, here’s my final not-numbered tip (perhaps the most important of all!): Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not successful in following the above tips. Even if you can engage just ONE of these, you’ll be moving forward to a new relationship with food and feasting.
Holiday meals bring up a lot of old emotion and this can be challenging. Emotional eating is definitely an issue – and if you haven’t worked with it yet, it WILL almost definitely be up for you this week!
Above all be kind and forgiving with yourself and enjoy your Thanksgiving!!