How to Balance Thanksgiving with a Healthy Lifestyle

Thanksgiving is a celebration of family and food, with a strong emphasis on food. It is a time when people make the food they love and share it with the people they love – which makes it a very difficult time to stay conscious of calories and nutrition. If you love food as much as I do, Thanksgiving can make you feel like a kid in a candy store. Over the more than 7 years of maintaining my 130 pound weight loss, I have learned some simple tips to enjoy Thanksgiving without forgetting my health lifestyle or my love of food.

Posted on | Taisha Hayes | Comments ()

Thanksgiving is a celebration of family and food, with a strong emphasis on food. It is a time when people make the food they love and share it with the people they love – which makes it a very difficult time to stay conscious of calories and nutrition. If you love food as much as I do, Thanksgiving can make you feel like a kid in a candy store. Over the more than 7 years of maintaining my 130 pound weight loss, I have learned some simple tips to enjoy Thanksgiving without forgetting my health lifestyle or my love of food.

Tips to balance Thanksgiving with a healthy lifestyle:

  • First, focus on your favorite dishes and set standards for the food you eat. View your calories as currency and Thanksgiving as an outlet mall. Do not spend your calories on food simply because it is available.
  • Do not eat food to please the people who made the meal. If you must, take a small portion home and discard later. Do not waste calories.
  • Sample “new” dishes. Keep portions of “new” foods very small. Only go back for seconds if you love the sample.
  • Remember, you can eat more tomorrow. There is no need to gorge yourself on Thanksgiving. You may have more every day until the leftovers run out.
  • Eat dessert for breakfast the next day or the morning of Thanksgiving. Otherwise save it for a snack 2 hours or more after the meal. This will give your metabolism some time to catch up.
  • Top Tip: Eat slower and more consciously. This will help you enjoy food more, while becoming more aware of your true caloric needs.

I have a 3 simple steps to help you eat slower, to give yourself time to feel full and eat less.

  1. Finish chewing the food in your mouth before you place more food in your mouth. The next time you are eating a meal, take the time to notice how often you have to stop yourself from placing more food in your mouth before you finish chewing. You will be shocked.
  2. Notice the flavor and texture of the food as you place it in your mouth and chew. Often when eating your favorite food, you may be in such a rush to consume the food that you completely miss the pleasure of the experience. The next time you are sitting down in front of a favorite treat, take your time and savor the entire experience of tasting and eating your food.
  3. Occasionally place your utensils down during the meal. This helps with the first 2 tips.  It clearly delays the next bite and helps you notice the food that is in your mouth instead of preparing for the next bite.

Take the time to enjoy and savor the experience of eating the food you love with the people you love. Besides, what’s the rush? The food isn‘t about to hop off of your plate and run, right? And what is the purpose of speeding through a delicious Thanksgiving meal? 

Remember the goal is not to starve your way to weight loss.  The goal is to learn how to eat and be full with smaller portions.

Try my simple tips during your Thanksgiving meal this year. I know you will experience more joy when eating and I bet you will feel full with less food than you are accustomed to eating.

It worked for me, and it can work for YOU!

Blog written by Taisha Hayes
Taisha Hayes is a personal trainer and the founder of a motivational weight loss website. Growing up with a love of food and an...