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Common Challenges:Healthy Thanksgiving Tips

Here we are again, it’s the holiday season. It seems to come up faster and faster the older I get.   As I continue to see clients and get busier and busier, the common theme during the holidays is to work towards a goal of weight maintenance or continued weight loss through the holidays. This can certainly be a difficult thing to do as the holiday season is themed around all different types of food events.  Ask anyone what they think of when they hear Thanksgiving and I guarantee the majority say turkey with all the fixings.
Since our society puts a lot of focus on food and how it makes us feel, it’s no wonder that some can become quite anxious this week.  I’m choosing to forego any big research topics this week to provide some tips on how to make this holiday healthy. 
1)       Focus on the true meaning of the holiday and not the food it’s centered around.  Celebrate the relationships you are thankful for and make this the priority for the day. 

2)      Remember you can always have any of the foods that will be served at Thanksgiving at any time of the year.  Often we associate Thanksgiving alone with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and pies.  If we only “allow” ourselves to eat these foods once a year, we may find we give ourselves permission to eat as much as we want just this one day.  Why stuff ourselves and feel uncomfortable if we don’t have to? 

3)      Don’t save up for Thanksgiving dinner.  Remember, if you don’t eat enough to fuel your body through the day, your body is panicked and thinks its starving.  The next meals you eat will be triggered for storage to prevent another “starvation” mode again.  Eat smaller meals throughout the day consistently and insure you are comfortable.  This will allow you to make good decisions at meal time. Often times the hungrier you are the more likely you are to be in “crisis mode” where you feel the need to eat everything in sight to avoid feeling faint, or getting rid of your hunger pangs or headache.

4)       Portion your plate appropriately.  Remember, as I said above, give yourself the okay to eat or make any of your favorite foods again.  This will take the pressure off of yourself to feel this is your only time to eat your favorite foods.  When portioning your plate: keep your meat at ¼ of your plate, your starches at ¼ of your plate and load the rest of our plate with veggies or fruits.  Since you’ve decreased your portions throughout the day by eating smaller meals, you have a little more room for the extra fats in the gravy, meats, and sides as well as possibly room for dessert.

5)      Be Active.  I can’t say this enough.  Most people will eat more calories than usual on Thanksgiving.  Why not prepare for it and balance it off with a nice walk, run, or bike ride early in the day or after your meal. This is a great thing to do with family.  Walking for a half hour at a medium pace burns approximately 200 calories. 

Here’s to a healthy Thanksgiving and enjoying your time with family and friends.  I’m looking very forward to hosting Thanksgiving for my immediate and extended family.  I’ll be cooking lots of food and hoping the weather stays warm so we can have a friendly family football game after we enjoy our dinner.
Happy Thanksgiving to the Kindred Community


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