The holidays are upon us! For anyone who is on a weight loss journey, Thanksgiving (and the Holidays in general) can pose a serious threat. In previous years, the Calorie Control Council has reported that a typical Thanksgiving meal will run about 4,500 calories. To put that in perspective, most people who are maintaining their current weight need around 2,000 calories a day (your caloric needs depend on your activity level, height, weight and goals). Here are 4 things to keep in mind for that big Thanksgiving meal.
1. Pick your favorites - Some Thanksgiving meals are a varitable buffet of dishes, so many options! I've heard of some gatherings with 5 or more desserts alone! This does not mean you need to have some of everything. Choose only the foods that you really love. If the stuffing your Mom makes is unbelievable but you don't really love green bean cassorole, don't have the cassorole just because it is there. Have the stuffing and skip the cassorole. Decide ahead of time what you really want and skip the rest.
2. Check your portions - Does anyone really want that horrible, uncomfortable, I have to unbotton my pants feeling after a meal? Thanksgiving seems to be known for this and Stove Top even came out with special pants just for the after Thanksgiving bloat. Try to avoid this by keeping your portions in check. I like to use the size of the palm of my hand as a guide for a portion size. Plus, this will leave more for the best part of all- leftovers!
3. Eat Mindfully - Have you ever sat down in front of the tv with a bag of popcorn and then realized the whole bag was gone? Maybe you don't even remember tasting it? That's the opposite of eating mindfully! Mindful eating is slowing down and paying attention to what you are eating, while you are eating it which can lead to feeling more satisfied after meals. It also can help you to realize when you are full, which will help to reduce overeating. One of my favorite blogs from a Resigtered Dietition who specializes in Intuitive and Mindful eating has a great how to guide here.
4. Enjoy and Indulge! Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate everything we are grateful for, especially friends and family. Sharing a meal together is a wonderful way to come together and celebrate. Don't miss this time together due to worry about gaining weight or what you should or shouldn't eat. Enjoy your favorites, don't eat too much and stay in the moment to soak it all in. As long as you're eating healthy most of the time, having an occasional treat won't wreck your diet so don't beat your self up about anything you may have eaten.
Another great way to enjoy the day with friends and family is to take a walk together after the big meal! Stay active, indulge a little and enjoy the Holiday!