Thanksgiving is coming up soon. Preparations are already underway – the menu is being planned, dishes assigned to family and friends to share, or maybe you are the host this year with the bulk of the cooking falling on your shoulders. Whatever your turkey day responsibilities may be, most likely you’ll be sitting at the table next Thursday with a whole lot of food in front of you. Despite the joy of being with friends and family, that can bring up some serious anxiety for people. How do you keep yourself from overindulging again??
Here are five simple recommendations to keep in mind as you celebrate this Thanksgiving:
1 – Start with water. So many extra calories and uncomfortable feelings (headache, bloating) come from the combination of overindulging in alcohol or sweetened beverages and not having enough water. Generally, you should aim to consume half of your body weight in ounces of water each day – more if you are in a dry climate, at higher elevations or exercise moderately. Make a conscious effort to increase your water intake if you are falling short of that number. A great way is to start your day with a large glass of water first thing in the morning.
2 – Don’t pass on the vegetables. I know it can be hard to fit everything on your plate, so serve yourself a decent portion of veggies first – green beans, Brussels sprouts, carrots – whatever your options are, load them up!
3 –Be present and receive the meal in front of you. So often we eat mindlessly. Especially with the great preparation and excitement of the Thanksgiving meal, there can be a sense of “dive in!” when it’s finally time. Practice mindful eating by engaging all of your senses. Before you take the first bite, allow your sense of smell to notice the different flavors, take in the colors on your plate, look up, see and listen to the voices of those you are sharing this day with. Enjoy your experience.
4 – On to Dessert… as a child at my Italian grandparent’s house, we had about as many dessert choices as there were people at the table (upwards of 12 most years)! That’s hard to resist. Dessert is part of the Thanksgiving experience. I don’t expect you to pass on it, but you can be selective. Do you really need a full size piece of every cake and pie? How about a sliver instead? Or just pick your favorite and enjoy!
5 – At the end of the meal, get up and move. Help clear the table. Offer to take the kids outside for some fresh air or walk the dog around the block. Stretch your body. Enjoy nature. Don’t make the day be all about sitting and eating.
Lastly, smile, hug and be with your loved ones. Put any differences or past grievances aside and find some points of connection. A healthy life is about more than the food you put in your body. Our relationships and connection to spirit are two big elements of our lives that shape our health and happiness. Give thanks for all three this Thanksgiving and celebrate your healthy life.