Have you ever thought (or Googled) “What are the best exercises to burn off Thanksgiving dinner?” or “How many calories in the average Thanksgiving meal”? If so, you aren’t alone.
For many, the idea of having a holiday celebration that’s defined by a huge meal, numerous sides and a table full of pies can feel daunting. You work so hard to stay on track with your workouts and diet, and you fear this one meal will throw everything off.
Please rest assured.
Here’s the surprising truth about burning off your Thanksgiving meal...You don’t have to.
One meal or one day will not throw off anything. Let me repeat…
One day of eating foods you don’t often eat will never ruin your diet or your body.
In fact, stressing about it does more harm than simply enjoying and truly savoring every bite.
Eating a salad doesn’t make you healthy.
Skipping a workout doesn’t make you unhealthy.
But, celebrating time with your loved ones through food, connection, dessert and gratitude actually is an example of living a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
This may come as shocking news because our society (and specifically, the health and fitness industry) loves to use this time of year to market all of their holiday-focused tips and strategies.
You don’t have to buy into them.
You can bake a pie and eat it too.
While I am here to give you full permission to eat any and all of the things that you’ve been craving (or only get to have once a year), I also understand that you still want to feel your best.
Here are three simple tips to help you avoid feeling overstuffed without restricting yourself.
1. Don’t fast before your Thanksgiving meal.
With the anticipation of a big meal (and perhaps the concern about all of the calories), you may want to fast or not eat at all on Thanksgiving until your family dinner. The problem? This deprivation will likely result in overindulgence, which often leads to feeling overstuffed, heavy and lethargic.
Instead, stick with your usual eating habits the morning of so you aren’t sitting down to dinner on an empty stomach.
2. Begin with small portions of your favorite foods.
For most, Thanksgiving dinner is a buffet-style affair. Instead of filling your plate with as much food as possible, remember that you can always go back for seconds or thirds if you’re still hungry.
So, start your meal with a small portion of each of your favorite foods. After savoring every bite, reassess. Are you content? Are you still hungry? What are you excited to have more of?
This simple strategy kicks restriction to the curb while also allowing you to be present and mindful of how much you actually desire to eat vs. forcing yourself to finish everything on your plate.
3. Enjoy every bite.
My wish for you is that you can release all guilt surrounding your Thanksgiving Day meal. There are no good or bad foods. There is no food that is off-limits. If you want to eat something, guess what? You get to!
The biggest tip I have for you is to enjoy every single bite. Eat slowly. Be conscious of the taste, smell and texture of your food. Not only will this help you be more mindful of when you are satisfied (vs. stuffed), but it will also create the type of experience you deserve.
Food is meant to be enjoyed, especially with your favorite humans sitting around the table eating, beside you.
Eat what you want.
Savor every bite.
Life is way too short to stress about one day of celebration.
So, go get your celebration on. You can get back to your usual diet and workout plan tomorrow.
You might also be interested in: TV Families I Want to Celebrate Thanksgiving With