We’ve worked hard all year long to achieve our health and fitness goals. We get in the home stretch of 2015 and all you can see are the holidays ahead. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. I have had those years where Halloween candy was eaten for a month, instead of just on October 31st. Thanksgiving was pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes for a week, not just one day. I was primed for Christmas with its month-long celebration of eating, parties, and wine. Before I knew it, I had managed to derail months of effort of weight loss within a three-month period. I then could round out the New Year with a nice 10-pound gain. Let’s keep things in check this year. I don’t want to wake up on January 1, 2016 feeling miserable. Here are four tips for staying on track this Thanksgiving and beyond:
- Eat what you really like, not just because it is in front of you. There are some things I love about our Thanksgiving meal. It is my mom’s homemade stuffing, soft and warm yeast rolls with creamy butter, homemade mashed potatoes, and smoked turkey. These things are Thanksgiving to me. My grandmother’s jello salad, not so much. I still think it is odd that jello is used in the same sentence as salad. For years I piled stuff on my plate because it was there and I didn’t even really like it. Those added calories are unnecessary. Eat what you really and truly enjoy about Thanksgiving and none of the rest.
- Always bring something that aligns with your way of eating. I made the mistake last year of listening to someone tell me that I didn’t need to bring any food to Thanksgiving. They listed out the plethora of menu items and it sounded like great options. There wasn’t a need for any more food. When I arrived, I realized that none of the items were health-friendly and the menu had changed. Lesson learned. I like to bring lightened up dessert items, crudités with dip, or a cooked vegetable. I try to bring one item that allows me to keep calories down and still enjoy the other fare in smaller portions.
- Remember it is a holiday for one day, not a week, or month. The night before Thanksgiving my husband and I host both of our families over for hors d’oeuvres and spirits. Thanksgiving Day involves two meals as we visit both sets of families. We then are handed Tupperware with a plethora of leftovers. Before I know it, Thanksgiving hasn’t become one day of indulgences; it becomes a whole week of overeating. It is perfectly fine to splurge a little and enjoy times with my family for a day. If I’m not careful, the splurges extend into a week-long celebration and then a month. This year, I’m just saying no to most of the leftovers!
- Enjoy yourself. While we Americans like to make everything about food, the holidays are so much more than that. It is about spending time with family and being thankful for all of the blessings in our lives. Don’t get so consumed with eating healthy or counting calories that you can’t even enjoy time with your own family. Food isn’t the main event here; it is time with our loved ones (even though they drive us batty sometimes!).
With a little planning and preparation we can enjoy Thanksgiving without going overboard. We can be thankful without feeling miserable the next day. Focus on eating what you truly can savor and enjoy, bring something that aligns with your way of eating, celebrate the day (not the whole month!), and don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!