It’s as if something comes over us that is not in our control as we prepare for the festivities of the holiday to come. Thoughts of what we are going to eat, the sweets we will indulge in become our primary focus. Forget the diet, this is an opportunity to binge and delight in all the forbidden treats we have waited for all year. I can already smell the sweet aroma of mom’s sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, along with the cheesecake only have once a year. Calories, fats, carbs along with diabetes and heart disease do not count on this day. It is like a “Get Out of Jail Free” card in Monopoly. You roll the dice and it doesn’t count, it’s free! Or is it?
I spent the better part of the holidays eating everything in sight. It was a feast and I was ready to dig in. I remember elaborate tables set with enough food to feed an army and somehow we became one in that evening. Every one of us ate two to three times our normal portions. You would think we were starving and had never seen food before that day. The hours of preparation were devoured in minutes. The aftermath looked like we had been through a war. Buttons starting popping, belts began to open, people stretched out on the couch, chairs and even the floor. We were all stuffed!
But then, the call is made and we are on the next round and you see every one rise from the dead ready for more. Desserts enough to put someone into a diabetic coma are laid out across the table. One serving need not be enough you need to taste them all. Did I hear ala mode? Of course, how can you have apple pie without vanilla ice cream that would be unpatriotic right? Pecan pie, yes, do that one too. Again you see the warriors smiles turn upside down as they realize the wrath of their victory. They became the walking wounded. Stuffed is just the beginning of what we feel. Now the aftermath of what we had done. You hear words like, “I shouldn’t have”, “I wish I didn’t”, “how could I”, “I should have stopped at” and “If I only had” are echoing in the room.
Soon followed by “I’ll go on a diet tomorrow” or “I will never do that again” until tomorrow and never show up.
What is the real meaning of the holidays? To get together with those we love and celebrate life as we know it. Instead it gets replaced with stress in planning, preparing and delivering a dinner that will leave everyone feeling stuffed and ready to be bagged. We find ourselves regressing to old behaviors, attitudes and traditions instead of replacing them with what we really want which is LOVE.
Make this holiday special and stuff yourself with LOVE first.
1. Love for Yourself First
2. Love, Understanding, Appreciation for those around you
Love yourself enough to make good choices today and every day. Make the holidays about the people and not the food. Learn to see what is beautiful in others and appreciate what makes them special. I remember having to find something special in someone that was verbally abusive to me. I found they had a rather interesting way of looking at things.
Practice an attitude of gratitude. Find something to be grateful for instead of coming from deprivation and neediness. You will find you won’t need to fill up on as much food as you used to. You will know that you already have enough. Put the focus on the people and not the food and you will have enough leftovers for everyone to take home and enjoy again.
Here are some simple tips to insure you fill up on what is important and have the best holiday ever.
How to Not Stuff Yourself on the Holiday and Only the Turkey
1. Eat Prior
Eat your meals as you would normally do. The biggest mistake people make is choosing not to eat since they are going to have a big meal later. Truth is, if you eat your normal meals you will not be famished eating everything in sight. You will eat less and feel better.
2. Be Aware
Be aware of what you are doing. When you eat something put it on a plate and notice how much you are intending to consume. Eat only when you are seated and choose to enjoy it and taste every morsel instead of woofing it down your throat as if you just inhaled and do not remember eating it.
3. Choose Wisely
Explore all your options. Find out what will be served and make wise choices. Fill your plate with colorful healthy vegetables, lean protein and sparingly with the carbs. If given a choice between mashed potatoes and sweet potato choose the sweet. Leave the sweets for last if you have room and when you do, you can take a piece of a piece. There is no rule that says you need to have the whole thing.
4. Drink lots of water
Many times when people think they are hungry, they are actually just thirsty. If you do this regularly you will avoid the risk of overeating.
5. It is OK to Say “NO”
This was a big one for me. One of the most challenging things to do is say “NO” to the host or hostess that spent hours preparing a wonderful meal. Know that you saying “NO” to them is saying “YES” to you. “Yes” that you are worth it, “Yes” that you deserve to feel good and take care of yourself. I learned saying “No Thank You” saved my life and it can save yours too.
Enjoy the holidays and be sure the only things that gets stuffed this Thanksgiving is the turkey.