For a holiday that’s all about giving thanks, Thanksgiving Day is not the time to worry about calories, fat grams, carbs and diets.
Sure I know there are many tips for eating healthy on a holiday, but you’ve already heard or read about them before: make sure you eat breakfast, drink enough water, limit your alcohol, fill your plate with vegetables, skip second helpings, etc.
And sure, it’s good advice, but what kind of world do you want to live in if you can’t enjoy a holiday without fretting over whether to have the pumpkin pie or not? And lets face it, even if you DO fret over it you’ll probably end up eating it anyway. Either that, or you’ll deny yourself the dessert, and then end up overeating or bingeing later on.
So this Thanksgiving I have one piece of advice (okay, two): eat with pleasure and without guilt.
What this means is this: eat slowly, really taste the food, take the time to savor it and enjoy it. And sure, eat the foods you love, but really take the time to enjoy them. Really taste the food. When you take that bite of pumpkin pie (or whatever it is you love), allow it to sit in your mouth for a few seconds, and really pay attention as it slides down your throat.
Now it may seem corny, but I’m telling you, really savoring each bite will help you NOT overeat. It helps you appreciate the food more and allows you to really take in the pleasure. And by having that real pleasure, and taking the time to enjoy it, is the prefect antidote to overeating or bingeing.
It’s been shown over and over again that taking pleasure in your food results in a healthy body and healthy weight. And studies have shown that a pleasurable experience of a meal enhances nutrient absorption (but that’s not the main reason I want you to take pleasure. Remember, it’s not the day to worry about that stuff!)
So I want you to not worry about the food.
Okay, I know for people trying to be healthy or lose weight, not worrying about food can feel strange. We’re so used to being conscious of what we eat. And we’re so afraid that if we don’t do that, we’ll end up eating our way through the entire Thanksgiving table (which won’t happen if you really take the time and pleasure in your food).
Though times have certainly changed since the first Thanksgiving, but the holiday was, and still is, about giving thanks. And a big part of that is being thankful for the food. Enjoy the time with family and friends. Be present. Enjoy lively conversations. Engage, I mean truly engage, with those around you. In today’s fast-paced, high-tech world, how often to we really get to truly connect with others face to face?
In the grand scheme of things, one day is not going to make a huge difference. As long as you don’t overindulge for days on end, eating a few extra calories is not going to make a big difference. Your body will adjust naturally in the following days.
I know for myself, I’m sure to get in some exercise over the Thanksgiving long weekend, and eat fairly healthy the days before and the days after the holiday. Not that’s not to say I don’t indulge a bit here and there — but it’s here and there, not all the time.
Want a slice of pumpkin pie? Then have some! But be sure to savor it — really savor it — and eat it without guilt.
And remember — Thanksgiving is all about enjoyment, pleasure, spending time with loved ones, and giving thanks for all that we have.