Food and celebrations go together like mashed potatoes and gravy and we are gearing up for America’s national food holiday, Thanksgiving. I love all of the fall foods but if I don’t take the time to listen to my body and stop before I’m too full, I will end up with a belly ache that lasts for at least a day. To me, it’s not worth it. To my husband, it is. There are some tips that come from the world of mindful eating that allow us to eat the foods we love without ending up laying on the couch with a bottle of antacids in our hands and loaded with regret.
- Reflect on how you feel before you eat. Are you actually hungry? Are you stressed? Or maybe just bored? Taking the time to reflect on your motivations may help you make a decision toward the kind of food your body needs.
- Enjoy your favorite foods. This really applies to the entire year, not just Thanksgiving. It is possible to make pumpkin pie in March if you enjoy it. Try not to use food as rewards. Also, if you’re so full you don’t feel like eating the pie, then don’t. Save it for later when you can actually enjoy it.
- Give yourself grace and lay off the scale for a couple of days. If you’re routinely eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, include whole grains, lean meats, and plant-based fats, then the few days of overindulging are not going destroy you. Again, I say enjoy your food.
- Drink water. Rather, stay hydrated. When we eat a lot of rich food, our digestive tracks get kicked into overdrive. We need to keep everything moving and can help it along by getting enough water. The Institute of Medicine recommends an average of 13 cups of water per day for men 19 years old and older and 9 cups per day for women 19 years old and older. That amount may vary depending on activity level and muscle mass.
- Include physical activity you enjoy, even on the holidays. Sign up for a Turkey Trot 5K if you’re a runner, play a game of touch football with family, or leave the dishes for a bit and go for a walk after dinner. Research shows there are multiple benefits to incorporating a 30-minute walk immediately after a meal, including boosting the metabolism.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy yourself!