A Dietitian’s Guide to an Anti Diet Thanksgiving
Updated: Apr 26, 2022
Holidays are fast approaching… A time for us to step back from our busy schedules and reconnect with the people that we love. A time to rest, relax, and focus on others.
With Thanksgiving Day comes many emotions, and there is one emotion that comes up more often than we like to admit: anxiety. We experience anxiety around the food being served, anxiety around how our bodies look, and anxiety around exercise (or the lack thereof).
Keeping this in mind, let’s discuss 3 significant non-diet things that you’ll need to know in preparation for an anxiety-free Thanksgiving:
Set Your Priorities.
What is your priority for the day? Is it to enjoy the moment with your family, or to continue with your weight loss journey?
A lot of times we see people that we don’t normally see during Thanksgiving, or we get more time with them than we normally do. If your secret objective is all about your weight loss journey, then you won’t be fully present. Rather, thoughts of food & body will cloud your mind.
Some of you truly do prioritize this day as a continuation in your weight loss journey. And if that's you, then be honest with yourself. However, most of us want to utilize this time for Thanksgiving, breaking bread, and enjoying time with friends and family.
Setting the right priorities along with embracing them will clear your mind to focus on your family. Leave the dieting and restrictions aside, eat what your body needs, and give full attention to your loved ones.
Thanksgiving is Just Another Meal.
"You don't have to binge on Thanksgiving Day."
New flash: You don’t have to binge on Thanksgiving Day. You can simply eat as you do on any other Thursday. The Thursday may just be a little extra special! However, we do not have to binge.
We also do not have to restrict in preparation of OR to compensate for the meal. Restriction (or dieting) only leads to more binge-eating, food obsession, and probably even more calories consumed than you would have had if you didn't restrict in the first place. That's just what happens we restrict- you might as well have shot yourself in the foot.
Give Yourself Grace.
Let this Thanksgiving be a guilt-free time for you. A time where you're not feeling upset about the calories that you ate, the pie you shouldn't have had, or the second plate you shouldn’t have finished.
We can all agree that the food served on Thanksgiving is not usually the most nutritious, but let’s go back to what our priority is: let go of food rules and all of the expectations that you have for yourself so you can be fully present. It is SO worth it to let go of thoughts of calories, thoughts of carbs, and thoughts of fat (or whatever it is that you have decided is evil that week). Give opportunity to every food that is being served, and try out whatever you wish to.
Your body can handle it
In summary, to maximize your time at the Thanksgiving table, take time to set clear priorities, treat the day as any other meal, and give yourself grace for any decisions that may not have served you the best. Trust me, your body can handle it.
Fixing our relationship with food takes some time. It comes with unlearning, re-learning, and time for mastery.
But it is so, so worth it.
Eating Disorder Recovery Coach
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