It’s that time of year again. We just had Halloween, Thanksgiving is next week, and Christmas and New Year’s will be soon to follow. And the biggest question on the minds of all of us in the FoodLove Community is: How can I survive this without ending the year with 10 extra pounds I seriously don’t need?
FoodLove Girl to the rescue! Follow these 5 tips to get yourself prepped and excited for a fun-filled holiday that ends with no regret.
- Acknowledge your favorite foods. I think we all have the one or two things we have to have on Thanksgiving Day but we forget about it in the moment and make the short term decision that we must have it all. But if we’re honest with ourselves there are a lot of things on that table that aren’t our favorites and we could do without. I always focus my plate on the proteins and the vegetables then I selectively choose a small portion of what I really really want.
- My favorite things are Garrett’s popcorn which I can only get when I get home to Chicago and my aunt’s brownies. The popcorn doesn’t even have anything to do with Thanksgiving Dinner so I know I have to think about that snack early on and make room for it. And then the brownies will be dessert so I focus my main dish on turkey or the chicken wings my mom caters and the my grandmother’s and my mother’s collard greens which I loooove! I will also leave room for my grandmother’s stuffing if she makes it that year. About five years ago I stopped having rolls or cornbread altogether. I tasted it and i really thought about it and decided, I didn’t really need those foods to make my dinner complete. At first it was weird because everyone likes bread! But really, it didn’t do much for me. So why waste the calories when I really could do without it? So take some time when you’re alone now to really think about what your favorite foods are and purposefully fill your plate accordingly. That way you’l be satisfied but not overstuffed at the end.
- Be mindful of your eating in the upcoming days before the big event. It would behoove you to eat lightly from today until Thursday, including breakfast Thursday morning. Now I caution you – I am NOT saying that you should go on a juice fast or an exercise marathon. NO. I’m simply saying – maybe no desserts for the next four days. And maybe stick to eggs or a green smoothie for breakfast and skip the Sunday brunch with pancakes.
- Remember that exercise is NOT excluded from holidays. Some people get it in their mind that being off from work means being off from working out. Don’t make this mistake. Your body needs to move everyday. Now, you may “go light” on your exercise. If you’ve going out of town like I am then maybe you it’s harder to go to the gym but do your research. Maybe your parents live near a gym and you can go. Maybe you can just get up in the morning and ask your family to join you for a brisk walk or a quick run. Or be creative. Maybe you can get your workout by offering to be the one to clean your parent’s house for the big day. The point is, you shouldn’t be completely stagnant those four days you’re on holiday. Find a way to get some movement in everyday and it will go a long way toward helping you stay on track and be happy with no regrets come January 1st.
- Be mindful of leftovers. So this is a biggie. Many a year, I’ve found myself eating quite well on Thanksgiving day but then over the course of the next four days that I’m home I will graze and graze in the kitchen, having little else to do and then wonder why I gained five unwanted pounds. Remember tip #1 – choose your favorites. Don’t go outside of those favorites even on those extra days. Make your primary eating those healthier leftovers from thanksgiving – your proteins and your vegetables, and still save room each day for a small portion of your favorites. Also plan your days. Plan who you need to visit during your time home, people you haven’t seen in a while who didn’t make it to your dinner or don’t do dinner with you but you still want to see them. Go visit, go make your rounds. Go to the movies with your family or if it’s not too cold out, go outside, take a walk, take kids, nieces and nephews for an outing. Go shopping. Main idea – get out of that house and away from that kitchen!
- Remember the real reason for the holiday. Above all else, remember why you’re celebrating. This is a time to enjoy the end of the year, successes you’ve had, memories and fun times that were part of your 2016 and the people you love to share them with. That’s what it’s all about. Food is a compliment to this theme, not the main event. I know it’s hard to think of food as a secondary event, especially with holidays like Thanksgiving where it feels like all we think about and talk about it food. But it is secondary. Think about the food as pleasures for your loved ones, not necessities to your happiness. You want to make that special pie for Auntie Carol, because you want to see the smile on her face when she sees it. And you can easily offer to wrap the rest up for her so she can take it to her office on Monday and enjoy it with her coworkers rather than leaving it at your house! Sharing good memories, catching up with relatives we haven’t seen in a while, remembering those who aren’t with us anymore and embracing new additions to the family -that’s what the holidays are all about. And if you’ve forgotten that, now is the time to take a moment and remember this. This thought alone will keep food in check for you because you will be focused on creating new memories with our family and not on eating.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a wonderful rest of the year. We’re not done with 2016 yet and there is still time to get your goals accomplished. IT ain’t over till it’s over. So enjoy yourself but be mindful of your priorities and what you really want out of your life. Talk to you soon!