With Thanksgiving just around the corner I've been reflecting on my relationship with food and the holidays in the past.
Either I was anxiety ridden about my Thanksgiving meal for the weeks leading up to it, obsessing about how I was going to stick to eating healthy and turning down all the delicious food, promising to myself to be absolutely diligent and clean OR I rebelled against restriction and instead ate absolutely everything in site, unable to stop and then hated myself for days for being so "bad."
With this year's Thanksgiving coming up, I'm planning on taking a different approach... don't you think that's a good idea?? If you've read some of my earlier posts, you know I've struggled in the past with restriction and binging.
I have learned that the more I restrict and tell myself I "shouldn't" the more I want what I "can't" have.
But when I allow myself to breath, enjoy food, reject the labels of good food and bad food-and how it makes us a good or bad person- I enjoy my life, and have no problem eating a balanced diet, identifying hunger, and stopping when I'm full.
However, it's not always easy-but an active process of working through finding and being comfortable with this balanced state, and that's why I'd like to offer some ways of thinking that may help.
Some of you may be going through one of the scenarios I mentioned I have gone through as well-obsessing about being clean and eating perfect, or unable to stop yourself from eating so much you don't even enjoy it at some point and just keep going because you think you've already gone so far.
Let's look at some of the ways you can enjoy Thanksgiving without obsession, beating up on yourself, or ruining your day...we're all in this together!
Understand that one meal, out of hundreds of meals, isn't going to make a difference
The most important thing you can do to be well, is most of your time, practice a healthy lifestyle, and realize that one meal won't take you away from that.
I like to remind myself that just like one day of eating well doesn't make you healthy, one day of indulging won't make you unhealthy either.
Most of your time- incorporate movement, eat the foods that nourish you, provide nutrients, energize you, and keep you healthy, and practice self-care, self-love, and de-stressing activities and behaviors. If you're doing all of this-managing the physical, mental, and spiritual, you've set yourself up for success. You've also set a perfect baseline and almost a defense mechanism for managing the holidays, days where you don't have time to prep or cook, when you're traveling, out at not so ideal restaurants, what have you- and you can't always make the choices you'd like.
You're going to be fine in these situations because most of your time you practice a healthy way of living, and that is what matters. One meal on Thanksgiving will not take away all of the things you do, all of the time!
Having this mentality will allow you to cut yourself a break and enjoy your Holiday with friends and family.
You will also have an easier time getting up on Friday and not being hard on yourself for extra gravy or another piece of pie. In fact, you don't even need to be thinking about what you ate at all, except that you had an amazing day with the people you love the most.
You can start the new day just like any other day, no need to go harder at the gym or restrict yourself because you think you ate so "bad"- because seriously it really doesn't matter. Going into Thanksgiving understanding that it's just one meal, out of so many, will take the pressure off of you and give you so much freedom to eat delicious food, enjoy it, and move forward the next day with the regular healthy lifestyle you practice.
You don't need to punish yourself before or after your Thanksgiving meal
Following up on some of the things I mentioned in the tip above- there is no reason to beat up on yourself or feel any sort of way about indulging on Thanksgiving.
You don't need to starve yourself all day or run 1,000 miles on the treadmill to deserve to eat a beautiful meal cooked by you and your loved ones.
This is the way I used to think, and you know what it did-I was so freaking hungry by the time that dinner came around that I completely overdid it and made myself sick. If you treat it like any other day, which it IS, eat breakfast, drink lots of water, have a snack if you need to, just don't starve yourself all day- that way you'll go into the meal with the appropriate amount of hungry not ravenous where you're just setting yourself up to go crazy.
It's also not necessary to kill yourself at the gym the next day or restrict yourself from food because you had a big meal the night before.
Again, something I used to do, and not the right move.
If you follow through with these behaviors, you're just reinforcing the idea that you deserve punishment, that you're "bad" and that you can't ever do that again.
Remember that one meal doesn't make a difference, it's what you do most of the time. So just start a new day, maybe get out and go for a nice long walk, don't punish yourself at the gym, and definitely eat breakfast the next day- leftovers! It's important not to restrict the next day because there's no need to punish your body and decide it don't deserve nourishment the next day, that's not how our bodies work. Yes you may have had more then usual, but it's completely ok, continue to treat yourself with love and compassion and move forward!
I have so many memories of saying no to things, or going and not having fun, because I had such food noise (obsession and anxiety) and fear around food and my relationship with it. I was constantly hung up on how I was going to eat healthy, if I could restrict, convincing myself I was going to get fat if I ate something I thought I "shouldn't," comparing myself to what everyone else was eating, and emotionally beat up on myself no matter what I choice I made.
If I could go back to these times I would shake myself and just go and have fun and enjoy my friends, family, food, everything. It's just not worth it to stress yourself out like I did, believe me! Where does it get you!? It didn't get me anywhere. In fact, I isolated myself, pushed friends away, and even turned down trips with my family.
Stressing out about things far outweighs eating a big meal every once in a while, trust that!
I realized recently that stressing out about my health, my body and what I'm eating is taking away precious time and energy towards living a life I love-my entire goal for myself and for all of you!
The more you stress, the more you make an uphill battle for yourself towards a healthy, balanced, beautiful life.
So, this Thanksgiving enjoy yourself. It's one day, out of an entire year! Don' obsess, don't restrict, don't punish yourself, don't tell yourself you "can't," or label food or yourself as bad. Enjoy every moment of the day. Drink lots of water, eats lots of turkey and veggies, help cook and clean, be grateful, move, laugh, watch the parade, watch football, and move forward on Friday with your regular healthy lifestyle, completely at peace with the wonderful meal you had on Thanksgiving, because truly that is all that matters. :)