As we come upon one of my most favorite holidays, Thanksgiving, I am first reminded of how much I am truly grateful for! This year has been full of up and downs both personally and professionally and I am grateful for every step forward and every step back as they have each brought me lessons I needed for my growth. I hope you too will stop and reflect on all that you are grateful for.
One of the things I’m finding I’m grateful for this year is that I am not feeling that I have to stick to my family’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner. While I have always loved just about everything that has been made and put in front of me for Thanksgiving, the options just aren’t the healthiest. Agreed? And for someone who is really trying to focus herself and her family more on a healthy lifestyle, I wanted to open our table up for some great tasty options, but not ones that will leave us all laying around like sloths with our pants feeling over tight and wishing we could turn back time.
The turkey is really one of the leanest parts of the meal (aside from a salad of course). Yet, we often cover it in gravy, mashed potatoes filled with butter and/or eat way too much of it. Potatoes and vegetables also tend to be laden with butter, gravy, sugar, etc…. Then we sit and wonder how a turkey dinner can fill us up so much and leave us with a food hangover. Now, I’m all about balance as well, and this is one day and one meal that shouldn’t make much difference IF you are eating pretty clean and healthy most other days. For those of you who are, congrats! Enjoy the day in moderation. If you haven’t been and are really trying to find a way to eat healthier, lose weight and the mere thought of showing up for a Thanksgiving dinner has you sweating and thinking about how you will control yourself at the table and not walk out of your in-laws carrying an extra 5 lbs, listen up. It doesn’t have to be that way.
If you are the host, wonderful! Create the menu. Set some boundaries. You get to choose the menu and what you would like others to bring. Even if your great aunt Maggie will be coming and insists that tradition is upheld year after year, remember you are an adult, it’s your home and you are able to make new decisions for your life and how you want Thanksgiving to look like.
If you are going to a family member or friend’s house and they are hosting, offer to bring a healthy option with you. Maybe it’s the salad, the vegetables or even a healthier version of potatoes. Sometimes being at someone else’s home for the holiday can feel a little more challenging to stay on track and be successful but this is where your brain can work in your favor or set you back.
Set your intentions before you head out the door. Tell yourself that you are able to control yourself around the table. Make a list of all the food you will eat and how much and stick to it. For example, “I plan to eat no more than 3 slices of turkey, a tablespoon of gravy, 1/2 potato, 1/4 cup stuffing and kindly pass on dessert. Yes, I said pass on dessert. It’s one day and that pumpkin or pecan pie is not getting you closer towards your goals and you WILL survive without it. If there is a healthier option for desserts such as apples and cinnamon-go for it! Or better yet, bring your own with some extras to share!
Our brains subconscious will believe whatever our conscious mind tells it. If you are continually telling yourself that you cannot control yourself around the table, that you always overeat, that there is no way you can eat healthier on Thanksgiving at your mom’s house— you know what? You’ll be right!! Instead tell yourself, you have the ability to control what you put in your body. That your body is beautiful and that you will treat your body with love and respect and so you will eat in moderation and enjoy the company around you rather than the food. That you will feel better the following day because you took control of your eating and allowed yourself some grace when it wasn’t just perfect.
Taking “control” of your eating is often more about controlling your thoughts and emotions around the food event than the food itself. Remember that this Thanksgiving and know you have what it takes in you to be healthier, happier and more fulfilled.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and know I’m grateful for you!