Hello my friends! Happy (almost) Thanksgiving! I can’t believe how fast November is flying by… It is the most wonderful time of the year and i am SO ready. I have always loved the holidays and everything about them- the time with friends and family, giving gifts, the christmas lights, christmas music, the food… I LOVE IT ALL. Much excite!
Anyhow, I asked on my social medias what you guys were interested in reading more about in regards to the holiday season and this blog (if you aren’t following me, add me so you don’t miss all my daily rambles) and so many of you mentioned BALANCE OVER THE HOLIDAYS. From struggling and going overboard with sweets, to advice on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holidays, to enjoying the holidays without guilt or beating oneself up over our food choices, you guys wanted to know HOW to do that. Initially, this was a blog post I wanted to avoid because I feel like it is an overdone, over discussed topic during the holidays. But now that I think about it, I think the reason it is so discussed is because it is something a lot of people, especially those of us in the fitness industry, tend to struggle with. Myself included.
In the past, I have definitely struggled with “balance” when it comes to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the holidays, in general. I would have so many feelings of anxiety and guilt. What will I eat? How much? Will I overeat? OMG how much weight am I going to gain from this? How much weight will I have to lose after? You get the point. I always typically find myself over indulging and over eating especially when it comes to those holiday desserts. I would be starving all day so I could “eat more” later and I would eat til I was uncomfortably full. I am still by no means perfect. I don’t have the perfect relationship with food even now.
Over the next few weeks, I am sure you will see posts that say “Just eat and don’t allow yourself to feel guilty”. For some people, that can be easier said than done. It might not be that simple for you and that is OKAY. Don’t feel discouraged if you can’t simply turn “off” those feelings of anxiety and stress. You are not alone.
Now, i don’t have the “magic solution” you may be looking for to automatically cure you of all your holiday food anxiety. However, I have come up with a few tips and tricks to help you manage and/or limit the feelings of food guilt and anxiety you may have, and to help you make the most out of the holiday season.
- Have a plan. Want to track? Don’t want to track? Loosely track? Eat 1 of whatever you’re craving? Stop when you are satisfied. If you follow the plan/mindset you have set for yourself prior to, you are less likely to feel guilty.
- Don’t starve yourself beforehand. Don’t go into a “buffet-style” meal starving- you’ll be more likely to just say “fuk it” and go balls to the wall and eat anything and everything in sight. Eat a good breakfast. Get some protein in. Don’t deprive yourself now because you know you’ll be eating a lot later on. That will only leave you ravenous.
- Circle First. Walk around the table and scope out your food options. This will give you a chance to decide what you really want to eat. You don’t need one of every kind of cookie. This will give you a chance to decide what you are really craving and which option looks the best.
- Listen to your body. Be mindful. If you are hungry, eat. If not, stop. You will feel better if you don’t stuff yourself silly and eat only until you’re satisfied. No one likes to feel like they are going to explode at any moment. You can always go back for seconds later on and/or have leftovers the following day (aka the best part ha).
- Eat Slowly. You will not be able to listen to your body’s cues/signals if you are shoveling your face the second you fill your plate. Chew slowly and hydrate between bites. It takes approximately 20 minutes for your body to realize whether or not you are satisfied. Take your time. It is not a race to see who can finish first.
- Hydrate. Drink up. Don’t confuse your thirst with hunger. Water is beneficial to your body in so many ways and you’re less likely to overindulge when you are well hydrated.
- Moderation. You don’t have to say no to the foods you love. It means saying yes to one or two cookies as opposed to 10. Eat the foods you love and you won’t feel deprived or like you are missing out. Eating until you feel sick is not normal. Have a bite or two of what you are craving and enjoy it.
- Know this is one day a year. Going “off track” one day of the year is not going to derail your progress and you need to realize/accept that. Your goals will still be within reach as long as you are listening to your body, respecting it, and being mindful.
- Focus on what’s really important. Memories, friends, and family are what the holiday season is all about. Yes, holiday food is delicious and tasty but ultimately the holidays are about making memories with your loved ones and the people you care about. Don’t spend so much time stressing your food choices that you aren’t focused on what really matters.
- Say NO to the “clean plate” rule. We have all heard the rule growing up that you weren’t allowed to leave the table until you finished everything on your plate. Well…. This rule is stupid. This rule is stupid and should never be taught in the first place. My nana taught me why this rule should never apply. If you are full- stop eating. Just because there are starving children in Africa, does not mean that they will benefit by you eating everything on your plate. It only encourages over eating and not listening to your body. Don’t feel like you have to finish what is on your plate if you don’t want to or are no longer hungry. Again, just be mindful.
- Get a workout in IF YOU WANT TO. I have seen a lot of negative comments on social media from people saying that it is “disordered” if you want to work out on Thanksgiving. No, you do not have to work out on Thanksgiving. You don’t have to “earn” the food you are going to eat later or “burn more” because of the foods you’ll be eating for thanksgiving dinner. But if you want to work out, because you enjoy it, then go right ahead. Personally, I am going to max test my squats on Thanksgiving morning. Why you may ask? Because besides food and football, and putting up Christmas décor, the boyfriend and I have zero plans. So do what is right FOR YOU. Wanna workout? Great. Don’t? Great. Some towns even have Turkey Trots where you can run/walk a 5k the morning of Thanksgiving. That could be a fun tradition to get started if that is something you enjoy doing. The choice is up to you.
- Bring a Dish. Let’s just say someone reading this blog decides they do want to track their macros on Thanksgiving (do you, boo). If so, it is possible to roughly track/guestimate homemade dishes. You could bring your own side dish that you know the macros for, which you will enjoy, so you don’t feel deprived or like you are missing out. It is a good way to show that a “healthy” thanksgiving side dish doesn’t have to be boring or bland. But, that it can taste good too.
- Don’t forget your protein and macros. Protein sources can easily get tossed aside amongst all those carb heavy side dishes i.e. mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce… So throw some turkey on your plate too. Or shrimp, steak, tofu… whatever your protein source is of choice. Protein helps fill you up and is a key macronutrient in your diet. And don’t forget your vegetables either. Have a nice salad, fruit, green beans, whatever it may be- micronutrients provide your body with so many vitamins and minerals and will also help fill you up and leave you satisfied.
- Enjoy yourself! The most important. Don’t spend so much time overanalyzing your food choices that you don’t enjoy yourself. Have the pumpkin pie, the cookies, the stuffing- eat until you’re satisfied and enjoy the time with your family and friends. Don’t beat yourself up if you eat one too many pieces of pie. Forgive yourself and move on. It’s the most wonderful time of the year- don’t ever lose sight of that.
So there you have it. Some tips and tricks for enjoying the holiday season without stressing and overanalyzing every holiday treat you put into your body. It might not be as easy as saying “just eat and don’t stress” but if you do struggle with feelings of anxiety during the holidays- just know, you are not the only one. Try the tips above and make the most of the holidays this year. Focus on spending time with your family and friends… the delicious food and treats are just a tiny piece in the grand scheme of the holidays.
As always, thank you so much for reading. There are a lot more holiday posts coming your way so please “subscribe” if you aren’t already and keep checking back for more.