I always tell my clients, "Never be afraid to indulge. Just make sure it's worth it!" There is no question that the traditional Thanksgiving meal falls under this category (especially when it comes to my Southern Mother's cooking) so I am not going to fill your head with ways to avoid the foods you love and rarely see, but give you some helpful mental tricks to hopefully keep you from having to unbutton your pants at the end of the night.
Eat All Day! Yep, you read right, my friends. The myth of starving yourself till dinner is actually counterproductive for keeping the calories at bay that day. Going into any meal starving will only lead you to binge, eating more than you normally would; so lurk around the kitchen carefully (see Rule #2) for some healthier breakfast and lunch options to tide you over till the main event!
Stay Out Of The Kitchen! Aside from grabbing some pre-game healthy snacks, stay away from Thanksgiving Central, otherwise known as the kitchen. Being there will only lead you to little tastes here and there, which will then lead to a little more and little more and little more, ok you get it. The typical Thanksgiving food is rich in salt and sugar, which makes the "just one lick" rule hard to live by. Don't start eating dinner two hours before the actual dinner. Save your calories for the main event. Moreover, if your Thanksgiving chef is anything like my Southern Mother, she will catch you in that kitchen and not let you leave without that mashed potato spoon in your mouth!
Get Active! I give most of my clients a cheat day each week but make them promise to also do some sort of activity that same day. There are so many Turkey Trots going on all around the country. Find one near you and make a morning of it. It will not only keep you from hanging around the kitchen, but also set your mind and body to a healthier mojo for the day. If you're not a runner, then make it a point to get outside for a brisk 20 to 30 minute walk or coordinate some family touch football to pass the time. However, don't forget to eat something right after! (See Rule #1)
Coordinate The Plate! When it comes time to load up the dinner plates, make it a point to add the protein and any vegetable first. Make these two food groups the majority of the plate and then whatever room is left will hold the mashed potatoes and mac-and-cheese. Take this one step further and eat the meat and vegetables first (or whatever you consider to be the healthiest options on the table). This will start to fill you up so when you get to the really good stuff you will only have so much room! Also a good tip is to drink a full glass of water right before eating. This will also help to take up a little more room in the stomach.
It's All In The Timing! Eat slowly! I have given this tip before for the purposes of controlling portion size and a good way for monitoring when you are actually full. Take the time to enjoy each bite and swallow fully before starting another bite. If you know you are going to want seconds, wait 10 minutes before going to get them. This will let the food process in your system a bit so you will be able to accurately assess how much more food you can actually fit.
Be Mindful. Remember it is the amazing quality of the food we look forward to and not how much of it we can actually eat. It is this holiday's specific smells, flavors, and traditions that we crave. Thanksgiving is more than the food on your plate. If you really think about it, Thanksgiving dinner is just one meal that we can make at any point throughout the year if we really wanted to. Take advantage of everyone being together around the table, talk about the things you are thankful for, and enjoy each other's company. After all, this is the real reason we celebrate this tradition every year.
I will end this post by simply saying that one of the things I am most thankful for this year is all of you who have taken the time to invest in me by subscribing to this newsletter. I truly enjoy being able to help people in any way that I can, but my advice is only as good as the people willing to listen to it. I am thankful for my family, my friends, and my clients. All of them shine a positive light on me each and every day.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
MFM Coach PJ