After 20 years in the fitness industry I have a hard time accepting that Thanksgiving is a day of indulgence. Yet, while you may be on a diet or watching your food intake, bringing any sense of deprivation into the day may cause you to overeat out of sheer rebelliousness against “missing out”.
Cut yourself a little slack and let yourself enjoy more food than usual on this special day. The NEXT day, Friday, November 24th, you can join me for a “28 Day Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge” between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Details are here
1. Be sure to eat properly prior to the meal. Don’t skip any of the meals during the day – eat breakfast and lunch. The only difference is that you may want to eat more lightly than usual. However, skipping eating normally will just tempt you to overeat at the Thanksgiving meal.
- Snacks, if needed, should be raw veggies or fruit.
2. Take small amounts when serving yourself. Take one small piece or scoop of everything that you enjoy to begin with. Remind yourself that you can always take seconds! This approach is considerate of the need to avoid waste.
Using a smaller plate can also fool your eye into thinking that you have more on the plate. This is a traditional dieter’s trick.
3. Honor the food.Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks for the food that is on the table. Think about the contents of your plate and how it was once alive and is now about to provide you with energy and nutrition. Think about all the people whose efforts brought the food to the table, from the farmer to the cook.
4. Pause.Before you begin to eat, notice everything about the food on your plate. What are its colors, textures, aromas and anything else of note.
5. Take small bites and chew everything well. This relates back to the previous step––as you bite, savor the things that you noticed about the food when you took time to assess, such as texture and taste. Also, small bites and slow chewing aids digestion, as enzymes in the mouth begin to break down the food for you.
- Rest your eating implements on the plate between each bite.
6. Chat with others.You’re more likely to realize that you’re full (before you feel sick) if you talk, rather than shovel food into your mouth non-stop! During the meal, make an effort to engage others in conversation between bites. This shouldn’t be too hard if family members (you haven’t seen for a while) turn up with news of the events in their lives.
7. Avoid wolfing down your food.Eat slowly and savor the food you’re consuming. If you finish everything on your plate, wait a minute. You can tell a story to everyone else, or just sit back and relax.
8. Take seconds only if you’re still hungry.Repeat the eat-wait-take more cycle until you feel satisfied, but not stuffed. Aim for feeling good, not feeling so stuffed that you can’t eat another thing or feel ill.
- Leave room for the dessert. As bad as sugar is for us, one small piece of pie or other dessert is sufficient to end the meal. If you feel too full, leave dessert until much later (like before your workout the next morning!).
9. Get away from the table.Go for a walk, play football, entertain a child, play with a pet or help clean up! Head out to volunteer for those less fortunate on Thanksgiving. This will keep you from munching just because there’s food in sight. Here’s a great workout I put together years ago at your neighborhood park. View the video here
- And, stay away from snacks arranged away from the dinner table. If they’re so tempting, move to another spot where the snacks are not in view.
Then, congratulate yourself on a job well done! You can even laugh at everyone who feels so full they can’t move! In fact, you might take a moment to share the secret of enjoying a Thanksgiving meal mindfully with them––just don’t be preachy and tell them all about Your Personal Best Training Studio for the over 50 crowd!
Lastly, whether you are one of my loyal clients, a non-member or-out-of-town, sign up TODAY for my “28 Day Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge” that starts MONDAY, November 27th – Christmas Eve. It’s so affordable even doing 50% of this challenge could maintain you! Details are here