Ah, Thanksgiving. There's nothing quite like this holiday: eating lots of food to celebrate having food. It makes perfect sense in a environment where food is often scarce, but for most of us in today's American society, food is available 24 hours a day, and we can easily lose the focus of the holiday's original purpose. It does, however, create a time where we can gather with family and friend around the table.
For those of us who don't want to gain weight over the holidays, taking control of the Thanksgiving feast is critical. Focus is your key word for the week:
Focus on your head:
- Focus on what Thanksgiving really means to you.
- Remember the "thanks" in Thanksgiving. Be grateful for everything you do have in your life: food, clothing, family, friends, health..and even life.
- Write down 5 things you are grateful for each day this week. Steer yourself away from focusing on what you don't have.
- Tell someone "thanks" for something every day this week.
- Do something for others. Donate food to a local food pantry, serve the homeless at a shelter, visit or call someone to cheer them up or just to talk.
- Eat breakfast. Start your day right. Skipping only leaves you hungrier for pie.
- Drink water throughout the day.
- Eat small healthy snacks. It's important to keep your blood sugar level in the normal range. If you don't, odds are that you'll lose control around the stuffing.
- Place a fresh fruit or veggie tray out for the entire group to enjoy.
- Choose one or two things that you really want the most for your Thanksgiving meal. Plan to have small or moderate portions of each---deprivation usually backfires. I plan to enjoy my lemon sweet potatoes and a piece of pumpkin chiffon pie.
- Take tiny portions or skip the foods you don't care about as much, or ones that you can have any time. Eat what you will enjoy.
- Make sure you can still see your plate when you look down on it. This is a surefire way to exercise portion control.
- Half your plate should be fruits and veggies. The ultimate healthy plate goal!
- Be mindful of your eating. Sit down. Chew your food. Eat slowly. Enjoy how the food looks, smells and tastes.
- Stop eating when you are full.
- You control your food choices; don't let the food decide for you (or anyone else for that matter!)
- Take a walk before and after dinner.
- Play ball with the kids.
- Put on the Ninetendo Wii, or another gaming system, and play the active sports games with everyone.
- At the end of the day, list all the wonderful things you accomplished.
- Forgive yourself if you slipped up. It's not what happened that really matters, it's what happens next!