Many of us are traveling tonight and tomorrow so I figured I’d write this now. (Safe travels, if you are!)
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it’s all about gratitude!
It’s impossible to be thankful and unhappy at the same time. The two emotions cannot coexist. Thankfulness magically gets rid of every other non-happy emotion there is.
However, it can also be the start of a downward spiral until New Year’s Day – but then on New Year’s day we might feel tired because of the night before, and so the vicious spiral continues.
So here are 15 ideas for us to use tomorrow so we can remain on point.
1. Your life isn’t a Normal Rockwell painting
We all have preconceived notions on how Thanksgiving should be. We can’t choose our family so we might as well make the best of it, right?
Let’s try lowering our expectations. The less we are disappointed, the more we are likely to appreciate and enjoy the day.
Example, for the second time in my life (at least I don’t remember the first 4 years of it) my father and mom are going to be at the same Thanksgiving table. Weird!
This is going to be extremely awkward for my sister and me. As anxious as we are, I’m trying to go into it with out any expectations.
2. Wear your best belt and your tightest pants
It’s a lot easier to stop eating when we know we’re full. One telltale clue is when our clothes and belt starts telling us.
Sounds obvious, but stopping when we’re full is one of the harder things to do at the Thanksgiving table when everyone else is helping themselves to seconds, thirds and fourths.
It will be easier to stop if we wear very tight pants because then we’ll have to push away from the table when we’re stuffed. We’ll just be too uncomfortable otherwise.
3. Save your calories for dinner
If we want to be a great guest and enjoy the meal the most, skip the hors d’oeuvres. A good basic rule-of-thumb is let’s not eat anything that doesn’t require a knife and fork.
4. Always hold a drink and a napkin
Do we really need an appetizer before a huge meal? We can’t control what our gracious host does, but we can control ourselves.
Let’s make it harder to reach for something by holding a glass in one hand (preferably filled with water) and a napkin in the other.
5. To drink or not to drink?
Is alcohol a trigger? Our irrational mind tends to get a lot louder after a few drinks.
Alcoholic drinks are not only loaded with calories (especially the sweet drinks and the eggnogs!) but they are likely to lower our inhibitions and might trigger us to eat more than we really want to.
6. Don’t talk politics
My mom is very intense about politics. My mom can go from extremely calm to extremely angry in less time than it takes to break a wish bone.
If someone says something that annoys you – just let it go! If we’re annoyed, we’re more likely to overeat.
7. Focus on the special stuff
Let’s not waste our calories on large portions of food we can eat everyday. Let’s also limit the variety we have.
Let’s make a rule: Only two items on our plate at any one time. Having a lot of different items on our plate stimulates our appetite. But make sure the items on our plate are special.
8. Is it worth it?
Ask yourself, “Is this really worth it?” before you dig in. Many times, we’re just eating food simply because it’s available. Remember, “If this weren’t free, would I pay for it?”
9. Don’t make a diet faux pas
Just like we wouldn’t wear every accessory we own at the same time, we don’t need to go heavy on all of the sauces, gravy, dressings, etc. Less is more!
10. Small seconds are better than big firsts
Some people show their love through food. Research on memory shows that our Aunt Grace won’t remember how much we take, but she’ll remember if we liked it enough to take seconds, especially, if we announce it.
Try taking a little bit of Aunt Grace’s ‘famous’ mashed potatoes. Tell her how great they are. Then go back for seconds and say something like, “Aunt Grace, your mashed potatoes are so good I’m taking seconds!”
She’ll be really happy, and your body will be really happy because you’ll actually be eating less – even though you’re going in for round two.
11. Slow down!
Seriously! Slow down. Let’s pretend we’re NY Times food critics. Really taste each and every bite.
Appreciate the texture, taste and smell. Let’s put our fork and knife down. Take a sip of water. Engage in conversation. There’s no rush.
12. Forget the post dinner snacks
We won’t starve if we skip the late night turkey sandwich. This is a great time to focus on the family and not on the food. Besides, are we really hungry? Most likely, we’re just bored.
13. Plan activities
The holidays aren’t only about food, are they? They are about enjoying our company, having fun, watching football, and laughter! How about planning a fun activity?
A football game, a big game of monopoly, or how about that game where you have to guess the word while receiving clues? You can’t say the actual word though. And there’s a timer.
Ah, I got it! Catchphrase! (See what I did there?) All these can be tons of fun.
14. Come out of the closet
Eat whatever you like but only out in the open. No sneaking.
15. Perfection doesn’t exist
Most importantly, and this is somewhat counterintuitive, don’t sweat it if you make a dietary mistake.
Just like any other day, Thanksgiving will have its ups and downs too. There is no perfect day much less perfect Thanksgiving.
The key is to focus on how quickly we can recover. How do we do that?
Well, word on the street is that the tryptophan in the turkey is going to make us veryyyyy sleeeppyyyy and tired and lethargic – but in actuality, chicken has more tryptophan than turkey does.
Really it’s the overeating, and lack of movement that drags us down. Bodies at rest stay rest.
So, I suggest on Friday morning, if possible, that we get up and go for a walk or a jog. And if that’s not possible, let’s aim to move around as much as we can.
Finally, from the bottom of my heart, I want to wish you a very happy, healthy, and fit Thanksgiving!
All my best to you,