I love a good Thanksgiving feast, but last year was the first time I was able to enjoy it without gaining weight. By keeping my eye on the real prize of having a good time without gaining weight, I was able to set and cooperate with some simple guidelines that serve as guardrails to success. Here are the strategies that worked for me.
1. Be Conscious – Don’t Play the Victim of Temptation.
Freedom isn’t having whatever you want whenever you want it.
The reality is that behaviors have unavoidable consequences. So, what we do isn’t free at all when we exceed the limits that keep us balanced. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, discipline and a few useful boundaries allow us to be as free as possible without unwanted consequences.
When we play the victim, we deny our own authority to manage the situation.
We give our power away to a pile of mashed potatoes and gravy and whatever else our heart desires in the moment while denying the reality of the consequences we are creating at the same time.
2. Limit Your Excess to the Thanksgiving Feast – Not All Day or All Week.
Thoroughly enjoy your Thanksgiving meal. But don’t extend exceeding your normal way of eating beyond that one meal. Leftovers are tempting, too. I remember many a sandwich of turkey, gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce between two slices of bread, slathered with mayo followed by leftover pie. That took me on the road of packing on pounds.
3. Choose to Limit Your Alcohol – Save Yourself for Other Treats.
If alcohol is not a temptation for you, drink water. If you feel self-conscious about not drinking, take a drink and let it sit full on the table. If you like to drink, consider limiting yourself to two drinks and cutting back on desert to avoid too much sugar intake.
4. Eat Your Protein First – Have as Much Turkey or Other Main Protein as You Want.
The more protein you eat, the less carbs and fat you are likely to crave. Protein reduces the hunger hormone and increases satiety hormones. By reducing hunger, protein can help you to eat fewer calories.
5. Take Three Bites of Everything Else You Want.
It’s the first three bites of something that you really taste and enjoy.
Beyond that you are just finishing your plate like you were taught to do as a child.
Give yourself permission to only take what you really want. If you don’t want Aunt Tilly’s green beans, either don’t even put them on your plate or leave them there for the compost heap.
6. Chew Every Bite 32 Times.
Chewing releases digestive and satiety hormones that enable us to break our food down and let our body know we are getting satisfaction. By taking our time to actually chew our food, we are also putting space between bites and making it easier to digest. Why 32 times? I don’t really know. That’s what my nutritionist taught me, and it’s become a healthy habit.
Happy Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to fill yourself up with gratitude for everything and everyone wonderful in your life.
If you would like to know more about me and my work, please explore my website here.