Thanksgiving is just around the corner. The theme of this holiday tends to be feasting with family. There will be lots of food. For many of us, this means lots of unhealthy food. In today’s post, I’ll be sharing with you 2 big mindset traps to stay away from, 6 practical tips for maintaining consistency in your health, plus a fun Thanksgiving Challenge!
An Unhealthy Mindset
As we gear up for the big Thanksgiving feast, there are two mindset traps we can fall into:
- Dreading the holiday, because you know there will be tons of temptations, and it will be a huge battle all day. Not to mention, that in the past you’ve always regretted what you ate, afterwards.
And the second mindset:
- Looking forward to the holiday, because it will finally be an excuse to eat as much carbs, dessert [you fill in the blank], as you want. And no one can judge you (not even yourself), since it’s Thanksgiving…right?
Neither of these is a healthy mindset to have. Fear…..guilt….overindulgence…
First of all, you have the power to say no if you need to, and your past choices don’t dictate your future. Secondly, in thinking of the consequences of an all-out “binge”, ask yourself these questions: Is this really being a good steward of the body God has given me? Will this hinder my effectiveness in serving those around me (for example, will I be a sluggish, crabby wreck the following day)?
So, rather than letting fear, guilt, or overindulgence be the theme of the day, focus on mindful eating and gratefulness. Below are a few practical tips for staying on track with all of this. I want you to truly enjoy this celebration, and be able to have a few treats, without all of the negative consequences you may have experienced in the past from just “letting go.”
6 Practical Tips
1. Get plenty of sleep the night before. This enables your body to more effectively handle a higher carb/sugar intake. And, this will go a long way towards improving your willpower/discipline.
2. Eat a healthy low-carb breakfast with lots of vegetables. Get in some good nutrition while you can. 🙂
3. Get in a quick sweat session. A high intensity interval cardio workout doesn’t take much time to effectively burn calories. Doing some intense weight training will help deplete the glycogen stores in your muscles; this helps any carb intake shortly afterwards to go first toward refueling your muscles, before storing any excess as fat. Here’s a brief look at glycogen and how it relates to exercise. On top of those benefits, working out for even a little bit can improve your mood, decrease stress, and most likely motivate you to make healthier food choices.
4. Don’t forget to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. I think this principle gets taken to the extreme, but sometimes thirst CAN be mistaken as hunger (especially when there’s a whole pumpkin pie staring you in the face). Being hydrated can improve your brain’s ability to make good choices. Just don’t guzzle a glass of water right before a meal, since this affects your body’s ability to digest the food properly.
5. If this is an option for you, make a healthy side dish and/or dessert to enjoy. This could be a great way to get in some delicious vegetables, and still have your favorite dessert.
6. Set a few boundaries for yourself, beforehand. As with anything, waiting to decide until the moment you’re faced with that decision, only makes it harder to make a good choice. Skip the urge to eat something that you don’t really want, just because it’s there, or you only have it “once a year.” Decide for you, what is really “worth” indulging in.
Having the Right Mindset
More so than any other holiday, Thanksgiving has become known for feasting and stuffing oneself with food regardless of nutrition. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful celebration of the many blessings we enjoy. It’s a time of giving thanks to God, hanging out with family and friends, and eating delicious food. This doesn’t mean that food has to be our focus. We can practice moderation and discipline with that we put in or bodies at this time, without stressing about it. Let’s remove any guilt, feelings of deprivation, and fear. Let’s practice mindfulness and gratefulness. And enjoy God’s gift of food! Yes, we can treat it as a “special occasion”, but we still have the responsibility of being a good steward. What does this look like for you?
Which of the 6 tips seems most helpful to you? What’s one treat you’re looking forward to this Thanksgiving?
Join me on Instagram for the Grateful and Mindful Thanksgiving Challenge! Details for this 4-step challenge are HERE!