Thanksgiving and Holiday Healthy Eating Plan

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Thanksgiving will be here in 6 short weeks. I find it important to prepare before we sit at the table with our family to eat. 

I often think about my health during the holiday season but it hasn't always been this way. I remember being so overwhelmed with the stress of family gatherings. I ate the food and I ate my feelings. I felt awful after everything was over. I had a massive weight gain that year too. Believe it or not, I also experience the joy that the season brings. The following year, I learned to analyze my situation and plan for a better outcome.

The analysis was eye-opening. I simply counted how many calories I consumed during Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce (homemade), salad, rolls, pecan pie. Of course, I went for seconds. Oh, don't forget about the sweet tea! We live in the South so it is truly sweet. 

I want to say I used to consume around 3,000 calories per holiday dinner. That number was eye-opening. That's when my approach to Thanksgiving (and holiday) eating changed. I learned that I can control a few things during holiday celebrations, including:

1. The food I put on my plate. I'm the only person responsible for that because I serve myself. 

2. How I want to feel before, during, and after the holiday meal. I am in control of my feelings. No one can make me feel a certain way. While others can influence how I feel, the decision is mine. 

3. How much I will move during the holidays. One year, I decided that I was going to cook, serve, clean and go for a run. It was the best decision ever. I don't always go for a run during the holidays but I plan to move because it helps both mind and body.

4. What the holiday is all about. I didn't know that I don't have to be paralyzed by stress during the holidays. I can approach it with a plan. This plan helps me decide what the holiday season is all about. It is not about avoiding difficult conversations, tough it may be part of it. It is not about food alone. I get to decide what the holiday is all about. I want it to be about thanksgiving and gratitude. I want it to be about family, laughter and joy. I know it won't be perfect. I can alwyas hope it will be good. 

I have learned to control what I can in such way that I truly enjoy what I eat, who I talk to and what I do during the holiday season. It wasn't always like this. I want to encourage you to think about what you want out of this year's celebrations and plan to achieve it.