Bob’s Basics on Thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you and your family have the best Thanksgiving you have ever had. As we all know, holidays, especially Thanksgiving, can pose some real challenges to staying on track with your program. In her post yesterday Lisette, with David’s help, discussed the concept of progress not perfection. I’d like to focus on the same theme.
Think about previous Thanksgivings, how you have eaten, the level of activity you had, and look for ways to improve. Perhaps the most important thing you can do to set yourself up for a good day is to start the day with doing something positive. Take a few minutes to reflect on the meaning of Thanksgiving and acknowledge what you have to be thankful for; take a walk first thing in the morning, it doesn’t have to be long, even a short walk can lift your spirits; have a good healthy breakfast—it is easier to sustain the momentum of a good start than change the moment from a bad one. As clinical psychologist Howard Rankin, Ph.D. says, “it is hard to rebound from a double bacon sausage biscuit.”
For some, the problem isn’t only that it is difficult to manage portions during a holiday, it’s that you have a license to eat as much as physically possible. Thanksgiving is the poster child event for eating until the point of physical discomfort. Some even take pride in being able to out eat other members of the family. Maybe it is time to let someone else earn that honor. But the goal isn’t to stay on an aggressive diet either. Eat what you want but pay attention to the amount. Ask yourself, “is this really going to be worth it?” If so, eat slowly and mindfully and most importantly savor every single morsel.
If in the past, you spent hours upon hours watching football, or the Thanksgiving day Law and Order marathon, you could plan some fun family physical activities. Take family thermal walks or at least get up every half hour or so and take a few laps around the house.
If you tend to be more liberal with your alcohol intake during the holidays, you can save some calories by cutting back a bit. Keep in mind that it not just the calories from alcohol that you need to be concerned about, it the impact alcohol has on staying focused and motivated in a very challenging food environment. Remember the phrase “resolve dissolves in alcohol”. Enjoy a glass of wine, a beer or mixed drink with the meal if you would like, but having a couple of drinks before you sit down will make it all but impossible to make healthy choices.
Finally, if you happen to eat or drink a bit more than planned. Don’t fret it, you haven’t blown it. Don’t try to make up for by skipping meals on Friday or trying to exercise for four hours. If you start Friday with a healthy breakfast, make sure you get a good exercise session in sometime during the day, and plan some fun physically active things to do over the weekend. The impact of going a bit overboard on Thanksgiving day will be minimal.