. . . many things—family, warmth, love, friends, gratitude, service and food.
But it’s just one meal.
Lots can happen in that one meal, but if it stops there—no major problem.
The bigger issue is the long weekend associated with Thanksgiving and the potential for a slide on the slippery slope through the rest of the Holidays.
The key here is to put the Thanksgiving meal in its place. One meal.
Then Friday it’s back to normal.
Refining that skill is essential to weight loss and weight maintenance.
Getting back to reality. Lickety-split.
To help you do that you need a PLAN.
First things first—plan for the day. Are you eating at noon? 3pm? 6pm? Plan accordingly.
You should never go to the Thanksgiving meal hungry.
That is just asking for a binge.
Eat regularly before the Thanksgiving meal.
Even consider a snack before you go.
I know that sounds counterintuitive, but the 150 calories of a protein rich snack will save you hundreds and hundreds of calories at the festive dinner table (this works for restaurant meals, too, by the way).
You will still have all your favorites; you just won’t need a ton of anything to be satisfied.
And speaking of favorites, have at ‘em! Especially the things you don’t get the rest of the year. Aunt May’s stuffing. Grandma’s gravy. Uncle Joe’s pecan pie.
Just not the whole pie—a slice.
And enjoy the heck out of it.
I mean focus on that pie while you are eating it. What does it feel like in your mouth? What does it smell like? Can you pick out all the flavors in this bite? Eat slowly.
When we're really mindful of what we are eating, one portion is enough. It is satisfying.
As for the rest of the evening, make something even more important than the food:
1. Football—either games on TV or the family game in the front yard. Take it to the next level—teams, prizes, practice, coaching. Get into it!
2. People—re-connect with your sister, your grandmother, your uncle, your son. Make a special point to talk to each person at the celebration.
To make it easier, choose a theme for Thanksgiving 2017: find out everyone’s favorite childhood toy or who they were named after. How they met the love of their life or who their mentor was. You can find out some amazing things about your peeps.
3. Service—who needs help? Round up the kiddos and take them on a treasure hunt. Read them a book. Does the dog need walking? Help clean up or pack up left over food for the elders of the bunch (best not to take home leftovers yourself!). Maybe even volunteer in an organized way—find a group in your community who needs help delivering meals.
Now that you made it through the big day, congratulate yourself and get right back to your healthy eating!
Ensure success by making plans for the rest of the weekend, too.
Schedule some outings—walks, shopping, visiting friends, movies, etc. Some activities other than going out to eat. Public gardens are lovely. Bike rides by the beach work, too. Make the most of any open time doing things you love.
Happy, engaged people don’t nibble.
Now that's something to be grateful for.