6 Tips For Thanksgiving Eating


I can’t believe it’s already here!  Turkey Day!!  It feels like just yesterday that I wrote this post about Holiday Eating and in a blink of an eye, our first Holiday has arrived.  As mentioned in that post, Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of family, friends, thankfulness (shocking, I know) AND delicious food.  But for so many of us that have ever struggled with yo-yo dieting, bingeing or both, it can definitely turn into a stressful anxiety provoking day filled with overeating, guilt, panic and shame.  Not this year!

This year I want your Thanksgiving to be filled with nothing but happiness, joy, peace and your favorite Holiday foods WITHOUT any added stress or guilt.  So today I am sharing 6 tips for how you can make this Thanksgiving an awesome one and leave your Holiday party or meal feeling emotionally stuffed, happy and with your pant buttons still in tact.

  1.  Don’t Show Up Starving.  A lot of people tend to practically starve themselves during the day in order to “save room” for the extra calories that they are going to consume at their Thanksgiving party and meal – this is not a good idea.  All this does is set you up for a binge.  By being completely on empty when you arrive, you’re bound to eat WAY more than you would have if you arrived only slightly hungry and are also more than likely to leave with a stomach ache from forcing your stomach to go from completely empty to overly stuffed in such a short amount of time.  Save yourself the un-done button and guilt storm by eating a sensible breakfast, lunch and even snack if your meal isn’t until later in the afternoon.
  2. Scout Out The Food Before Making Your Plate.  Just because there are 17 different choices for side dishes doesn’t mean you must try all 17.  Take a peek at all there is to offer and put only your absolute favorite Holiday foods on the plate first (hello green bean casserole and stuffing!) 😉  Heck, if you don’t like turkey, don’t even put it on your plate.  This isn’t a time to worry about perfectly balanced meals.  (GASP – did the Health Coach just say what I think she said???)  Yes!  Put the things you look forward to each year on your plate and don’t worry about what that may look like.  That’s the beautiful part about Intuitive Eating; your body is so smart and will make up for any lack of nutrients or vegetables or protein in the next day or so…just listen to your cravings.
  3. Mind Your Portions.  To go along with tip #2, try serving yourself slightly less of a portion of that green bean casserole than what you normally would while reminding yourself that you can ALWAYS go back for more if you’d like it.  I promise you the food isn’t going anywhere so there is no need to pile your plate with 1.5 cup servings of every item (even your favorite items).  Put a little bit of everything that looks good to you in that moment on your plate and then slowly and mindfully enjoy your meal.  Take the time to really enjoy each bite of food and notice it’s smell, taste, texture and awesomeness.  That is, after all, what makes those foods an excitement each and every year….how you remember them tasting.
  4. Be OK Taking Dessert Home.  Let’s be honest, dessert is (at least for me), the most exciting part of Holiday meals.  It’s also always at the end of the meal when, more times than not, I am already full with other delicious food.  Now I am NOT saying you cannot have dessert even if you aren’t hungry, you absolutely can.  Heck, I even plan for dessert by eating slightly less at dinner so that I can have a little bit of room left for the sweet stuff!  😉  Just know that if you are too full, forcing it down may leave you feeling gross and bloated (the opposite of what we’re striving for here) and won’t allow you to fully enjoy it as you would if you were less full or even slightly hungry.  If you are at this point, I encourage you to make a plate with a little bit of all the things that look good to you and allow yourself to eat those the very next time you get hungry.  You will enjoy them so much more and it will even provide a little excitement of something to look forward to!
  5. Engage In Meaningful Conversation.  Instead of making food the primary and most important focal point of the day, make good conversation with friends and family the focal point.  Go into your party/meal with the intention of seeking out people you haven’t talked to in awhile and start up a conversation (away from the appetizer station – mindless eating sand trap).  Not only will this keep your mind from obsessing about food, but it will engage you in what the whole day is actually about – being thankful for family and friends and being filled up with community and joy.  Chances are if you are focused on others and meaningful conversation, even at the dinner table, you will be much more successful in leaving the party/meal unstuffed and un-guilt ridden.
  6. Leave Guilt At The Door.  So you still overate….so what.  It’s one day, most likely one meal, you will be fine.  If you feel yourself starting to go down the panic path that leads to dieting or deprivation thoughts – stop it immediately.  Re-affirm yourself that this was a learning experience and that you did the best you could in the moment.  Extend yourself some grace and compassion by tuning in to what you can do in that moment to feel better.  Maybe that’s to change into comfy clothes when you get home, to heat up some tea and relax on the couch, go for a slow walk, take a hot bath or shower.  Another beautiful thing about Intuitive Eating – you are continuously learning, you are never perfect and you always have another opportunity to honor your body by listening to the very next thing it needs.

With these 6 tips in your pocket, I know your Thanksgiving will be fantastic!  So let’s here it….what do you think?  POST BELOW which of these tips you find the most helpful and because I’m curious….what’s your favorite Thanksgiving food??

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