It’s Thanksgiving week and this marks the beginning of the Holiday season! We say a collective “how is it the holidays already?!”, I feel you.
So many of you have told me that your biggest health struggle over the holidays is related to food anxiety, over eating, food guilt and less time for workouts. That’s a lot. You feel like you undo all of your hard work throughout the year in these last few months, only to start Jan 1 off with new plans of getting your health in order again. Again, I feel you! Many people stay on that cycle for our whole lives. Read again, same cycle…for their whole lives. Ugh. It’s my goal to help you end that cycle!
True story: There was a time when I was so overly obsessed with food that my brother didn’t want me to sit next to my nieces at the dinner table. Ouch, my heart. He didn’t want them to be influenced by my “weird” eating habits. At that time I would probably only eat the white meat turkey and maybe the green beans if they weren’t in a casserole. No potato - too many carbs, no gravy - too many calories, no squash - too much butter, no yummy festive foods. Of course my nieces still sat next to me (they freakin love me duh) and I pretended to eat a little of everything. Those years were full of food anxiety for me and it was not fun. The girls were really young then so I don’t think they noticed BUT I can say with 100% certainty my relationship with food as done a 180 (or is it a 360, whatever, you get it) and now I hope to be a positive example for them and of course my daughter too.
This year can be different for you too. You can stay healthy and enjoy your day without sabotaging your hard work, gaining weight or feeling like shit. I want to help you find the balance (balance, one of my least favorite concepts but it applies here) of staying on track while enjoying every bite of your holiday meal.
Here are a few healthy hacks to help you mentally and physically during this food/party/wine/desserts focused time of year. Again, I want you to enjoy your food, no depriving yourself but also, remember how you want to feel and eat according to your goals. Do you want to feel sluggish, lethargic and weighted down? OR does energized, healthy and strong sound better?
1. Walk it off
Instead of just lounging all day waiting for the big meal to arrive on the table, go for a walk or find a local class to take. How about a quick 5k Turkey Trot? Maybe even get a family member to go with you! If I wasn’t hosting I would 100% have my ass in class. Side note: you can call it an excuse if you want but you try hosting while sober/pregnant with a 2.5 yr old that insists on being held while you cook ok?! I need my energy damnit! Enough about me, a little exercise helps keep you in that healthy mindset and sets the tone for the day. A post-dinner walk is a great idea too. Get the family involved. While some are passed out on the couch, you’ll be actively helping your food digest, getting fresh air and moving that bod.
2. Eat breakfast!
This is a huge one for me. Start as if it’s a normal day. Well a really healthy day. Enjoy a breakfast of oatmeal with nuts and fruit or an egg with avocado and spinach, something nourishing that has fruits/veggies/protein/healthy fat. You may think it’s best to skip breakfast since you’ll be eating so much later (save the calories, been there done that), but by the time you get to that big Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll be so hungry you’ll most likely overeat. OR have the mindset that you skipped bfast so what the hell, pile on those taters and extra gravy. No no no! Make a healthy breakfast choice, and have a hearty salad for lunch, depending what time dinner starts. I feel like people eat Tday meals so early, drives me nuts. Healthy meals pre-dinner will keep your blood sugar balanced and your metabolism working as it should. You won’t be starviiiiiiiiing by dinner time, and you'll have made great choices all day. Fab!
3. Eat as if it’s a regular meal
I don’t want you to go into this feeling like it’s the last meal you’re ever going to have and you need to eat ALL the things. This is important: take a breath, observe all that’s going on around you and be grateful for the amazing food on the table and the family that’s surrounding you (even if some of the people drive you cray). Fill your plate with a normal portion sizes of all your favorite foods. Enjoy it. If you want 2nds, go for it but my guess is if you truly savored each bite you won’t be hungry for more. Listen to your hunger cues just as you would any other day. Satisfied? Then you’re done and have room for dessert. Yum.
4. More about portions
When filling up your plate, load it up with nutrient dense veggies first, then white turkey meat, then the rest of the goods - think stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy etc.. When you make the majority of your plate veggies, you’ll feel fuller without feeling overstuffed. Holiday foods often have lots of butter, sugar and oil so just be mindful (and see the next tip).
5. Bring a healthy side
Most likely you know what will be served Thanksgiving dinner, so contribute by making a healthy side dish. There are lots of tasty options that everyone will love. How about you make a salad with seasonal ingredients and a simple dressing, or bake sweet potatoes and dress them with sprinkles of cinnamon and pecans. These are super simple and will be appreciated by others that want to have healthy options too. Pinterest is my go-to for recipes. I look up “healthy sweet potato casserole” or “fall salad” etc.
6. Savor the desserts
This is not a pass to eat everything on the dessert table, however, if your grandmother makes the best pumpkin pie, don’t feel like you have to deprive yourself, that will make you crazy. This is the time when you should 100% eat a piece of pie. If you buy a pumpkin pie on a random Weds night and eat the whole thing, we have an issue BUT enjoying a homemade piece on a holiday with the fam is always a good idea! No food guilt allowed. If there’s more than one dessert you want to eat, just take small pieces or bites of each and again, enjoy it.
Thanksgiving should be a relaxing holiday that you enjoy. Having a healthy mindset and some healthy tips in your back pocket will help you enjoy the day even more.
Hit reply and let me know what your favorite Thanksgiving tradition or side dish is. I’d love to share them!
NEXT order of biz - what to do AFTER Thanksgiving for your wellness. I’ve got you! My Feel Good in 5 Days detox is the exact break your digestive system needs! It’s a simple 5 days where we focus on nourishing foods and cut the crap that brings your body down. That energized and strong feeling that I talked about earlier…that’s the goal! It’s so common to gain a few pounds over the holidays but I want to help you and change your story! Don’t wait for January to start feeling better in your body, start NOW…or after Thanksgiving, whatever works ;). Click here to check out the program and let me know if you have any questions. Would love to have you join the 30+ ppl that are already in!