When it comes to thanksgiving – and really all holidays – it’s important to remember that they’re really about honoring a great moment in history that has helped shape the world we live in today, and being grateful.
So holidays should be a time to give thanks for the great things we have in our life today, most of all the freedom we've been given. And then about using this freedom to make the best choices for ourselves.
Hopefully this means making the choice to be healthy, and to do right by your body. And choosing to give your body the love, care and nourishment it needs to stay fit and free of disease.
And look, I'm a huge foodie and LOVE good food. But it's important to shift our mindset away from seeing holidays as all-about-food, and instead being extra mindful, giving thanks for the food we have and not taking it for granted. And remembering that this food is meant to nourish us – not to fill our sugary cravings.
I know it’s easier said than done, so I wanted to share 10 simple things that you can try this holiday season, that will help you stay focused, happy and healthy during the holidays (starting today!):
1. Schedule time for yourself.
Most of us will be with family which is great, but it can get crazy, so take some time this holiday to have some down-time on your own or with a good friend. Read a novel, take a nap in the afternoon, meet with a friend for coffee, etc.
2. Don’t skip meals.
A lot of people say “I won’t have lunch because I’m expecting a huge thanksgiving dinner”. But skipping meals is one of the worst things you can do as it offsets your blood sugar, which leads to cravings, can cause fatigue, and more! So instead of avoiding lunch all together, have a light lunch, maybe opt for a salad or have a warm vegetarian meal. OR maybe a green smoothie. But don’t go too many hours without eating because you’ll end up over-eating at the party / family dinner.
3. Ask for what you want, and don’t be afraid to say no.
Don’t be shy and don’t worry about what others will think, as most likely, nobody will care. At restaurants, learn to ask for food the way you want it (its ok to get the dressing on the side, or ask for your salad without the cheese). At a family home-cooked meal, its ok to say no to the super heavy dish (that you know will give you a belly-ache!), and instead serve yourself more salad & turkey.
4. Load up on veggies!
When you’re dining out, order extra veggies, and start with a small salad (sans croutons & cheese, please!). Make sure to ASK what comes in the salad and how the veggies are prepared. Maybe get the brussels sprouts without the bacon, and ask for your spinach sautéed in olive oil instead of creamed - I promise they’ll still be delicious!
5. Skip the bread basket.
Remind yourself that you will be having tons of food to come. Bread adds no nutrition, and only serves to spike up your blood sugar (which leads to insulin secretion, and ultimately more fat storage). Save your calories for the delicious and nutritious food that you’re ordering
6. Skip the sugary cocktails.
Instead opt for wine, or a gin with soda instead of tonic, or sip on a high quality tequila throughout the night. Also, to avoid a hangover, make sure to drink LOTS of water. I always suggest drinking a glass of water in between each glass of wine/drink.
7. Keep it simple.
Don’t feel like you need to try every single dish. Instead look at the food choices and just choose the ones that appeal to you the most. Avoid mixing a thousand different things, which just makes your meal more difficult to digest (and leads to bloating!).
8. Put less focus on the food, and more focus on the company and conversations.
The more emphasis you put on the food, the more likely you are to overeat and then feel guilty after. Instead make the holidays about the company and the fun. Tip: instead of filling up on hors d'oeuvres, suggest a game of cards before dinner. And when you do eat, eat mindfully and enjoy your food, without feeling the need to eat like it’s your last meal. Because there will be plenty of food the next day!
9. Make time for exercise and quality sleep.
This one is so important to make sure you keep your energy levels high and avoid the carb cravings that come with the fatigue, when you don’t allow enough time for rest and some endorphin-stimulating exercise. So schedule a walk with mom, check-out a local yoga class on thanksgiving morning before the craziness begins, and make it a point to get your 8 hours of sleep this weekend!
10. Make an intention this holiday season.
Think about your life and what you want for the new year – why wait until January 1st to think about your new year resolutions? Take some time this week to think about what you want for yourself (including your health, your career, your relationships, etc) and start taking action now.
And last but not least, don’t forget to silently give thanks, each and every day this holiday season. Taking the time to be grateful is the best way to really enjoy life to the fullest, as it gives you a small reminder of the amazing things you already have, and you’ll feel less need for more. (And yes, it applies to food!). One thing I love to do is make a list each night of 3 things I'm thankful for - try it!
As my way to say THANKS to all of you, I want to share a special offer for a free 30-min consultation with me (a $75 value) and if you sign-up for my 6 month program, I will offer you $300 off. This is a special offer for this holiday season, so reach out to me now (mention "thanksgiving day special" in the message!) and schedule your free consultation!
Love and Giving Thanks,