"What should I eat on Thanksgiving?!" a question that we are asked too often, and truthfully, there is nothing you 'should' or 'shouldn't' eat. Thanksgiving foods can actually come together to form a decently healthy meal. All in all, it is a holiday, and this is only one meal out of the entire week, so you CAN enjoy the meal without and not worry about what and how much you are eating. The day is about enjoying time with friends and family, not stressing about food or being uncomfortably full. Diet culture tries to ruin holidays by telling us we have to stress over them and worry about weight gain and eating things that aren't "healthy". When in reality, holiday meals are just a few out of the entire month/year. If you find yourself making a big deal out of the holiday and worrying that you will overeat beyond comfort levels or it will ruin your whole week, here's how you can prevent just that:
1. EAT during the day before the feast
It can definitely be tempting to not eat all day in an effort to "save calories" or "compensate", but that will only cause you to be RAVENOUS, and probably cranky and unable to focus on having a good time with your fam. Not to mention, you will be about 1000% more likely to over eat...and then next thing you know you are uncomfortable. Eat a good breakfast and maybe a snack during the day before dinner so that you can still have an appetite for the feast, but not be distracted by your hangryness all day.
2. Survey the table and take everything that you want
Instead of having everything just for the sake of having it, take a gander at the table and ask yourself what looks good - it doesn't matter if it's ""healthy"" or not. Remember that when you have rules and restrictions you are tempted to break them. But if you don't make a big deal out of the more "indulgent" foods, you can enjoy them without feeling guilty and move on.
3. Eat your favorite food first
Don't delay your gratification! If you eat your favorite food first, you're likely to be satisfied sooner, before you over stuff yourself and feel uncomfortable.
4. Drink lots of water
Every try to put on your shoes after Thanksgiving dinner and they feel a little too snug? It's the sodium. Be sure to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and keep your digestion moving so you don't get as bloated.
5. Eat Mindfully
We hear it all the time, and it doesn't sound THAT important, but it is backed by research that if you eat more mindfully, you enjoy the food more and are satisfied before getting too full. How can you eat mindfully? A good way to know you are eating mindfully is if you are able to describe the food - what it smells like, what it tastes like/feels like - after eating it. This will also help you SLOW DOWN, and give your body more time to send signals that it is full before you get too full beyond comfort levels. And remember- it's easier to do this if you aren't ravenous by the time you sit down, so skip back to tip #1.
...Other than dinner, it's just another day of the week
It doesn't have to be a huge deal. Stressing about it going to set you up to do the things you are trying to avoid in the first place. Thanksgiving day is really just another thursday out of the year, except you'll be surrounded by family and have more food for dinner than normal. One meal is not going to make or break your health. Enjoy the holiday, turn the main focus away from the food and focus more on your family, friends, and gratitude. Next day, eat normally! You don't need to intentionally restrict your food or do a juice cleanse or workout extra, going from one extreme to the other is just not necessary, doesn't help, and can actually (and probably will) make things worse.
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