The holidays are quickly approaching and there will be a plethora of yummy, gooey, heavy, hearty, fattening food tempting us from now until January, and beyond.
This time of year is wonderful because people are in a festive mood, and we get to see family/friends and spend quality time together connecting and bonding.
It's also a season of over-eating, over-indulging and weight gain.
It's super easy to overeat at the holidays. Especially because, like I mentioned above, there is large amounts of food EVERYWHERE. Not only at your dinner table, and in your home, but at coffee shops, gift stores, grocery stores, cafes and on TV luring us to eat more.
But don't worry, I am here to share some awesome tips with you to support you in staying in alignment with your health values this season and to treat your body well, so that you can move into the New Year without having to start a new diet, or restrict yourself, or set another dang resolution you know you won't keep.
Tip One On How to Not OVereat at Thanksgiving
If you are going to a friends or family members house for Thanksgiving dinner this year, offer to make a few of your own healthy dishes to share, if that's something of importance to you.
You don't have to let anyone know the dishes are healthy, it could be your little secret. If the host declines, let him/her know that you have a commitment to yourself to stay healthy this holiday, and you will be bringing some of your own food.
I do this all the time, and people usually want to eat what I have because it always looks so tasty. Click here for an awesome healthy side dish recipe.
Tip TWO On How to Not OVereat at Thanksgiving
SET AN INTENTION OR GOAL
It's important to be intentional when you go to an event where there will be a lot of food around. Setting an intention or goal will help you with this.
For example, your intention could be that you are going to focus on connecting with a specific family member, or friend instead of stuffing your face full of food.
Or you could set a goal to only have 3 bites of dessert, knowing that is enough to satisfy your taste buds without feeling deprived (FYI, your mind is the one that freaks out and thinks you need more, but the truth is, your reward center in your brain shuts off after the 3rd bite, so anything after that is just your ego feeding you lies about needing more.)
You can enjoy the foods you like, but there is no need to stuff yourself to the gills with them. Your body will only suffer the consequences from the stress of that.
Tip Three On How to Not OVereat at Thanksgiving
Put away your phones, computers and anything that will distract you from being present with your loved ones. Get out a board game, go for a walk or play some cards.
Use this time to really savor each moment with the people you love. Tell stories, laugh, and connect. That is what the holidays are about. This will also keep you from mindlessly eating because you will feel nourished in other ways.
When we are savoring the moments, we feel more fulfilled and we are less likely to keep shoving food down our throats.
Tip FOur On How to Not OVereat at Thanksgiving
Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable
On the actual holiday, move your body in some way first thing in the morning. Then make sure you eat a hearty, healthy breakfast with a combination of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. This will help to set your blood sugar up for success.
Don't starve yourself that morning, or even the days leading up to the holiday with the thought that you want to have room to eat all the Thanksgiving goodies.
This will only lead to massive overeating, and then your body will hate you. Overeating causes our digestion to stop working optimally, we don't absorb nutrients as well and can give us heartburn, indigestion and bloat.
Tip FIVE On How to Not OVereat at Thanksgiving
Choice, not control
This is one of the powerful strategies from my S.M.A.R.T. Food System. When we are trying to control our food, or we white-knuckle through a holiday, it will set us up to feel like we are off the rails.
YOU are the ONLY one who chooses what goes in your body. No one is forcing you to eat that second helping of Pumpkin pie, or to get seconds on mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy. I know your mouth may be watering right now, but that doesn't mean you need to go overboard (see Tip Six.)
Make choices that feel aligned for you. Fill your plate with more veggies and greens than anything, and then take very small servings of the rest. I always load salad on my plate, that way I don't have room for much else.
The truth is, our bodies don't actually NEED that much food. You do have the choice.
Tip SIX On How to Not OVereat at Thanksgiving
Practice the Pause
This is something I teach all my one-on-one clients who are regular over-eaters and binge eaters and it's highly effective.
Practicing the pause means slowing down and attuning to your body. Stop, take a deep breath and check in before you move forward. Your body will always tell you what it wants, and it will also tell you whether it's hungry, satisfied or full. Slowing down will help you tune into those sensations even more.
It's very common for people to shovel down the food on their plate in 3 minutes flat so they can have more.
Instead, do your best to eat more mindfully, chew your food thoroughly, put your fork down between bites and engage in lively conversation with others at the table. Chewing your food will help your digestion work more optimally
The bottom line is that you can always go back for more later, but use this time to be super tuned in to each bite, the flavors of the food and how lucky you are to be with your family and friends. Savor the experience, don't rush through it.
Tip SEVEN On How to Not OVereat at Thanksgiving
Eat until You're 80% Full
Most people are not able to know when they hit this point. When you tune into your body's subtle cues (Tip 6), you will be able to tell when you are satisfied. This will prevent you from stuffing yourself like the turkey on your table.
I can usually tell I am getting full when I take my first deep breath while eating. Then I stop, put my fork down and take a break. I give myself a little time before continuing on, so that my food can digest.
Your food expands around 20% after eating, so if you are stuffing yourself to the gills, you will be even more packed 20 minutes later. You can always go back and eat more if you need to, but it's better to stop before you are feeling full. Go for the feeling of satisfaction.
I know this will be hard, but I guarantee you'll feel a whole heck of a lot better!
Tip EIGHT On How to Not OVereat at Thanksgiving
Drinking results in lots of added calories and a blood sugar roller coaster. It can also lead to overeating and loss of attunement to yourself.
This doesn't mean you can't drink; but keep it to 1 or 2 drinks over the course of a 4-6 hour period and drink lots of water in between to stay hydrated.
Remember how your body looks and feels is a result of all the choices you make. Attune to it and give it what it needs, versus what you think it wants. Our minds are where we get in trouble when it comes to the types of food and how much food we ingest.
Tip NINE On How to Not Overeat at Thanksgiving
This tip is hands down my favorite one because it puts us into service before we move into our indulgent day..
Spend your Thanksgiving morning volunteering to help those in need. This will put life in perspective when you see how many people in your own neighborhood don't get to have a feast of food, or family to spend their holiday with. Being of service is the best way to get your mind off food, and engaged in something meaningful.
I know that navigating the holiday season can be tricky, but using these tips will support you in sticking to your health goals, as well as being in alignment with what is important to you. Take the focus off food, and put it on those around you or those in need. Your body and your health will thank you!
Have a wonderful holiday!