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15 ideas for you to survive (and thrive) this Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Nothing like a good meal, great company and some football!

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, for anyone who values their health and fitness, Thanksgiving can be the start of a downward spiral.

Here’s 15 ideas for you to use this Thursday so you 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 you might as well make the best of it, right? Try lowering your expectations. The less you are disappointed, the more you are likely to appreciate and enjoy the day.

Example, for the first 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.

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 no expectations.

2. Wear your best belt and your tightest pants

It’s a lot easier to stop eating when you know you’re full. One telltale clue is when your clothes and belt starts telling you. Sounds obvious, but stopping when you’re full is probably one of the harder things to do at the Thanksgiving table when everyone else is helping themselves to seconds and thirds.

It will be easier to stop if you wear very tight pants because then you’ll have to push away from the table when you’re stuffed. You’ll just be too uncomfortable otherwise.

3. Save your calories for dinner

If you want to be a great guest and enjoy the meal the most, skip the hors d’oeuvres. A good basic rule-of-thumb is don’t eat anything that doesn’t require a knife and fork.

4. Always hold a drink and a napkin

Do you really need an appetizer before a huge meal? You can’t control what your gracious host does, but you can control yourself. 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 your inhibitions and might trigger you to eat more than you 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 – let it go! If you’re annoyed, you’re more likely to overeat.

7. Focus on the special stuff

Don’t waste your calories on large portions of food you can eat everyday. Limit the variety you have. Let’s make a rule: Only two items on your plate at any one time. Having a lot of different items on your plate stimulates your appetite.

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.

9. Don’t make a diet fopaux

Just like you wouldn’t wear every accessory you own at the same time, you don’t need to go heavy on 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 your Aunt Grace won’t remember how much you take, but she’ll remember if you liked it enough to take seconds, especially, if you 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 mashies are so good I’m taking seconds!” She’ll be really happy…and your body will be really happy too because you’ll actually be eating less even though you’re going in for round two.

11. Slow down!

Seriously! Slow down. Pretend you’re a NY Times food critic. Really taste each and every bite. Put your 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 you really hungry? Most likely, you’re just bored.

13. Plan activities

The holidays aren’t only about food, are they? They are about enjoying each other’s company, having fun 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. 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 or two or three. We all will. And we’ll have the other 364 days to do it right!

Just like any other day, Thanksgiving will have its ups and downs too. There is no perfect day much less perfect Thanksgiving.

As always, if you’re consistent with your diet (and exercise) for the other 364 days you should be in great shape. If you’re not, I guarantee it’s because you’re not staying consistent with your diet and/or exercise. You might want to consider giving yourself – or someone else – the gift of MBT.

Finally, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for reading! Enjoy your family and friends and, of course, have a happy, healthy and fit Thanksgiving!


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