This Thanksgiving, Let’s Start A New Tradition!
It’s that time of year again; the time when everyone starts cooking insanely delicious food, and almost everyone overeats that food until their belly’s gain two inches right after supper. The Holidays are a beautiful time, to be with loved ones and celebrate one thing or another. Except this Thanksgiving, we are collectively going to try a few things – instead of testing how far we can stretch the size of our stomachs, we are going to control ourselves and eat the same as we would during any other day while we are watching our intake. The word Thanksgiving doesn’t mean cheat day. Okay, maybe a little, since you get to pig out with the yams and stuffing, but I am focusing on the overeating aspect. Just don’t do it. Not only can long-term overeating put you at a higher risk for heart disease and type-2 diabetes, but it creates a super unhealthy weight gain that is much harder to lose than it is to gain. Again, it isn’t worth it, so just don’t do it. Here are some alternatives and ideas for this year’s Holiday overeating!
Instead of filling your oversized plate completely full on your first go-round, try a little scoop of everything. Basically, fill your plate halfway; this will allow you to control how much you eat right off the bat. Eat that, converse or do whatever you do, and let it settle for 15-20 minutes. You can also drink a glass of water, which you most likely need anyways for hydration, that will also help fill you up. If after the 20 minutes, you are still slightly hungry, go back and get a ¼ plate. I am telling you right now, you don’t need a monster plate to feel fulfilled for this meal. In fact, after helping a lot of people in this very same way, most of them have claimed that they actually feel more satisfied after the meal when they didn’t overeat! Remember, half portions!
Keep in Mind Past Challenges
There are two past challenges that I want you to specifically focus on. 1. Eat because of physical hunger, don’t eat based off your emotions. During the Holidays, people tend to eat more because they are happy, with family and friends, and have an overabundance of food at the ready. These are not reasons to overeat, by any means! Only eat when you are physically hungry. 2. Eat because you want to, not because everyone else is. This one goes hand in hand with the first one. If you aren’t hungry when everyone goes to get their dish, then don’t eat yet. Wait until you are physically hungry, and then go grab a plate. You might hear a few people saying, “What are you doing? Aren’t you going to grab a plate?” These are normal, and here are a few responses: “I’m not hungry yet, I will grab a plate in a few minutes.” It is as simple as that! Try it out, you will be happy you did.
Leftovers are Good
Remember that overabundance of food we were talking about? Well that food is still going to be good later that day, or even the next day (refrigerate, of course). Sometimes leftovers can be even better than fresh cooked food. Not always the case, but if you get the marinades, spices, and juices left over as well, they get more time to soak into the food and continue to add flavor. Look, I am not saying leftovers are for sure going to taste better. What I am saying is: You don’t need to overeat; don’t be afraid to save some food for later. Then you get to eat it twice or more! Just gotta think around the box sometimes! Lol. Really though, use leftovers as a way to convince yourself that you don’t need to stuff your face until you’re hurting, you can always eat the rest of your plate or another half portion later!
My FAVE: Make a New Tradition!
This one kind of works with the rest of them. This year, get creative and try making a new tradition -something that involves movement or exercise! Since you know you might be overindulging, you should also be trying to over-moving too! Maybe a family dance off, or a Thanksgiving step-competition. Like I said, get creative and get everyone involved! We can all use a little more exercise, especially around the Holidays.
Lastly, don’t wait until the New Year to start bettering your health. Start right now! So many people try to create changes in their life at New Years for a resolution, but instead of waiting, you should be starting right now. Kick off a better you before the New Year and see changes BY then! The gyms will be less packed, you will have a head-start on the “New Year, New You,” and you will FEEL so much better by changing your habits because YOU want to, instead of for a resolution. Changing habits can be tough, but so are you! So, jump on it and get your health and body back in check!
Thanks for reading! Happy Thanksgiving! And don’t forget, half portions are key, only eat when you are physically hungry, leftovers are an option, and exercise is always great, especially now!
Kim Shapira M.S.,R.D.