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Nov 26, 2009

Avoid Gaining Weight over Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving doesn't mean unavoidable weight gain! Put in some planning time, learn to re frame your attitude towards the Thanksgiving foods themselves, and you're headed for more Holiday enjoyment and less Holiday overloading.

Volunteer to host the Thanksgiving festivities. You'll be in charge of the menu, and can plan from the start what foods will be on the table. Pick natural, unprocessed foods, prepared simply but tastily with herbs, spices, and fruits such as lemon and orange. There are many websites and online recipe sites that give detailed "clean eating" menus and recipes. Bring along one or two dishes that meet your dietary requirements, if you have to go elsewhere. Then you can eat the turkey, and those dishes alone, if everything else turns out to be grossly fattening and gloppy. Timing is everything: Eat the main meal at 1-2 PM! Urge that schedule if you can influence the time set for the meal. That way, no appetizers are needed at all, as you are sitting down to eat early. Also, the earlier start time gives you time for digestion (key to feeling good the next day) and for more activity in your day after the meal is finished. If you are active after the meal, it will help you manage physically and feel much better. Grandma was right, have the beautiful meal on the table at 1 or 2! (It works better for the cook/table setter/clean up persons too -- then you aren't too exhausted to enjoy yourself!)

Put a couple hours in between the meal and the dessert (during which time you can move around and be active!). Nothing beats the Holiday peacefulness of everyone happily fed, the kitchen is dealt with, and you can relax with your family and a nice piece of homemade pumpkin pie around 5 o'clock ...Norman Rockwell couldn't draw it any better. Be aware of how to serve yourself and eat the meal. Take tablespoon-size servings of only the various dishes you really want. Leave behind anything you feel lukewarm about! Take bites of what you like the very best, first. Sip the wine (or water, or whatever) in between. Think small amounts, and be mindful of not being greedy and pigging out. Slow down, enjoy and be thankful for each bite, truly savoring the wonderful tastes. When you are full (which comes sooner than you think, if you will pay attention), simply stop. Turn your mind and heart to true thankfulness. Thank God for all the abundance and love around the table. The food is not the key thing, and the food is not going to run away! There will be leftovers for later, or tomorrow. Sit back and visit, or be the person to initiate a "What I am thankful for this year" conversation. Keep your focus, and eat what you really enjoy, and then stop. (If food issues are really a problem for you, consult Over eater's Anonymous or the Weigh Down Workshop, for invaluable help in attaining peace with food).

Avoid hitting the couch right after the meal. Find an activity outlet afterward. Crank up 70's disco hits and dance while helping clean up the meal and kitchen (silly is good). Take a long walk with family and friends to enjoy town and/or enjoy the fall color. Play tag outside with the kids. You get the idea! Just get moving afterward. Don't fall prey to "now or never" thinking. You're allowed to roast a turkey or turkey breast, make a pumpkin pie, or recreate Aunt Sue's special stuffing in July, if you want to! Ditch the "one time only" availability theory, which causes gobbling of Thanksgiving foods. This mindset and focus will make turning down extra Holiday servings a lot easier. Maybe this is your Holiday season to declare a complete alcohol hiatus, and say "enough" to all the extra drinking at the Holidays. Go strictly with water, soda with lime, or a cup of mint tea! You absolutely will feel so much better, be more present, and survive the season with less weight left on your booty and more tread left on your tires. If you do imbibe, try alternating each alcoholic drink with a "hydration cycle" of some kind - water with lemon, diet soda, Perrier, etc.

Remember Thanksgiving Day is just one day! If you blow it, get right back up on the horse and ride. It's making excuses and rationalizations every single day afterward, in the 40+ days between Thanksgiving and New Year's, that will cause you to gain the typical 3-7 Holiday pounds. If you are already overweight, be very diligent with finishing meals when just politely full, choosing clean foods, and daily movement/exercise over the Holidays. Those already overweight are more likely to gain weight than thin people through the Holiday season! Above all, do not let yourself just say "what the heck, it's Thanksgiving (or December, Christmas, or New Year's)" and run wild, stuffing your face with any old food that comes your way. Be picky and really enjoy what you decide to eat!

Have a light heart, and enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving and Holiday Season!


survivor mom said...

Happy thanksgiving to all of you there from Philipines

November 27, 2009 at 5:19 AM
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November 27, 2009 at 5:20 AM
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November 27, 2009 at 7:38 AM