Thanksgiving is next week in the U.S., and as the day draws closer, you can almost feel worries escalate about how many calories we'll all consume. It's a push-pull between "I want to enjoy all my favorites at Thanksgiving" and "how can I not overdo"?
The first thing to realize is that if we believe we can't eat what we love, we're almost setting ourselves up for overdoing. That's because our feelings of deprivation -- whether we are really not letting ourselves eat what we want or just believing that we shouldn't -- interfere with our ability to determine what and how much we really want. We get caught up in worrying about food rather than tuning in to how we feel as we eat it and when we feel satisfied.
Try these tips for eating what you want in a way that makes you feel well.
- Eat regularly. That means not skipping meals or eating too lightly in an attempt to "save" calories before the big meal. All that does is set us up for being overly hungry, and the normal response to being overly hungry is to eat more than we usually do.
- Eat well-balanced meals and snacks. A balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates in most of our meals helps keep our bodies functioning correctly, and sending us correct cues about what we want to eat and how much. Green Mountain's Plate Model for Healthy Eating shows you the foods that fit and the balance to start with.
- Start smaller. Many of us belong to the clean plate club, automatically finishing everything that's on our plates before we check in to see how we feel. If we start with smaller portions, it builds in an automatic stopping point. Keep in mind you can go back for more if you decide you really want to.
- Stay active. Plan some active fun outside before and/or after dinner. In warmer climes, try a stroll around the park, a game of pumpkin-bowling (empty cans as the pins, mini-pumpkins as the bowling ball) or a game of badminton. In snow country, snowshoeing can be just the thing to mix things up.
Here's wishing you a fun and fulfilling Thanksgiving.
~ Written by Marsha Hudnall, MS, RD, owner and director of Green Mountain at Fox Run, a women's retreat for healthy living without dieting. Read more tips for overcoming eating and weight struggles on Green Mountain at Fox Run's blog A Weight Lifted.