The season is upon us, the season of overindulgence despite our best efforts. Over the years, I have helped clients avoid the pain of the Thanksgiving “hangover” by providing some basic tips. Following are some of my tips.
1. Relax. All too often people will approach a meal-focused celebration by promising not to over-eat. Trust me, that is the first step to overeating. Go to your celebration with the intention of enjoying the food and steer clear of the all to common “Thanksgiving bloat”. If you tell yourself you will completely shun the once-a-year treats, you’ll likely overeat. Begin the festivities by having a large glass of water and enjoy. Before you sit down to dinner, have a full glass of water. Before dessert, have a large glass of water. You’ll stay hydrated (there’s a lot of sodium in holiday food) as well as limit the likelihood of overeating.
2. Keep in mind the reason for the holiday. I’m not sure how Thanksgiving turned in to a gorge-fest, but it has. The purpose of Thanksgiving as I understand it, is to reflect on all of the blessings we’ve been given throughout the year and focus on that. Instead, we tend to focus more on eating all we can in the shortest amount of time! Thanksgiving has become an eating event vs. a celebration of the true meaning of the holiday. This year, focus more on the holiday and less on the food.
3. Savor the food. I’ve been at Thanksgiving dinners where it’s almost like someone has waved a checkered flag, and everyone just starts shoving food in to their mouths. Stop, look at the variety and color and abundance of food. Take in the moment. Be thoughtful about what you’re putting on your plate, it took someone a long time to make it. With each bite, savor the taste, chew it thoroughly and WAIT until you’ve swallowed the food in your mouth before you start putting more food in. Simply put, slow down there Mario Andretti!
4. Eat a good breakfast and/or lunch. Many folks will skip breakfast and lunch in order to “save room” for Thanksgiving. Not only does skipping meals stifle your metabolism, it also creates excessive eating. You’ll likely eat twice as much by skipping meals, feel lousy and wish you hadn’t done that. Eat normally (healthy, maybe more veggies) before your Thanksgiving feast to avoid unnecessary overeating.
#5. Go for a walk. Almost every year, I run the Turkey Trot here in Naperville. It is a wonderful way to kick off my Thanksgiving. I start off with the run, thankful for the ability to do so. I’m thankful for my community and all the wonderful things they do to raise money for such great causes, and I’m energized for the day. Getting in a walk, run or any activity gets your priorities right for the day, including what you eat!
Enjoy the holidays with your families and loved ones. And aside from being thankful for family, friends, jobs, food on the table, housing, etc., don’t forget to remember the blessings of good health. Take care of your body and it will take care of you!