First off, Karel, Campy and I would like to wish everyone (near and far) a very special Thanksgiving! Hopefully you have lots and lots to be thankful for this year!
I guess it's assumed that as a dietitian, I should write a blog about "how to eat Healthy on Thanksgiving."
But as much as I love my "RD" title to help our society be "healthy", it's more important to me (as a coach, dietitian, exercise physiologist and endurance triathlete) to maintain consistency with my philosophy on how we should be eating - for fuel, for health and for pleasure and to spend less time giving rules for eating or talking about fad diets, especially when our society thinks they need a "quick fix."
And thus, my passion continues to help others learn how to develop and maintain a healthy relationship with food, all year long.
In my opinion, trying to eat "healthy" around the holidays is like telling your child (or if you had one) all year long that on November 28th, he/she would be going to Disney World for a very special, once a year treat. But then, let's say, that the child hasn't been on his/her best behavior on the weeks leading up to the trip and instead of addressing the issue prior to the trip and making progress to prevent that bad behavior in the future, you instead tell the child she/he is punished while she/he is on the trip. So, when everyone else was having fun at Disney World, that child had to stay in the room on that very special day to "regret, feel guilty or feel upset" about his/her decision to misbehave 4-6 weeks ago.
I feel that we can eat in a healthy way on holiday's and still indulge and feel great about it and thus, we shouldn't take away from the joy of enjoying occasional food on special occasions.
Here are a few of my Thanksgiving (holiday/anytime) Tips to help you have a better relationship with food (and your body) especially around "occasional" eats:
1) Thank your body2) Plan for a workout on the day after the meal (how about my 1 hour Trainer workout on Triathlete Magazine online?)
3) Yum when you eat
4) Don't lecture others about what they are eating
5) If someone lectures you about what you shouldn't eat, start yumming
6) Find a recipe that intimidates you and go for it! You will really appreciate home cooking when you take the time to prepare a recipe from start to end.
7) Create a plant strong meal. Bulk up on your veggies and portion out a little of the top foods that you really, really, really want. If you are not sure if you really want it, pass on it.
8) Survey the scene and pick out your most favorite desserts that will feel the best after you eat them. Homemade wins over store-bought (unless store-bought was from a homemade store).
9) Talk about a memory that comes to mind when you eat a traditional/family recipe.
10) Eat slowly - enjoy your food, don't devour it.
11) Don't restrict food all day for one meal. Starving is not the best way to enter a meal, especially if you want to savor the moments.
12) Be inspired by all the home cooking and discover new recipes from others.
13) Finish the meal satisfied, not stuffed. Save yourself from second portions and instead, remind yourself how lucky you are to be able to enjoy "too much food" on your table.
14) Talk about your goals for 2014 and reflect on 2013. Can you inspire others or will others inspire you?
15) Laugh, smile and don't be too serious (on yourself, included)
16) Don't be extreme - with your eating, with your thoughts or with your exercise. Some progress is better than no progress.
17) Don't make the day only about carbs, fat and calories. As you enjoy your meal, express interest in the food you are eating, ask how someone created the recipe, what inspired them to create that recipe and what makes that food feel so great when you eat it
18) Be realistic - how can one day off-set the past few months of your "routine/plan" or ruin the next 1.5 months of consistent habits?
19) Don't body bash - getting mad at your body will do you no good and will only increase the chance of you making extreme or quick decisions as to how you will go about trying to change your body composition. Give yourself 5-10 reasons why you love your body, what you love about your body and what you want to accomplish with your body in the next 3,6,12 months.
20) Enjoy the gift of health - your health is allowing you to read this blog right now. Your health is allowing you to share Thanksgiving (holidays) with others. There may be special people in your life that are not in as good of health as you are or may not be able to share this day with you. Never take a day for granted when it comes to healthy eating, healthy living and daily exercise in order to improve quality of life.