8 Tips to be More Mindful This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is only one day. One day of indulging in foods you normally would not eat is not going to kill all of your results if you get back to your routine the next day. It is important to be aware of your relationship with food and why you are making certain food choices. Eating a second helping of stuffing because you are mad about something Aunt Becky said is completely different from enjoying a second helping because you really want it. Mindlessly snacking on appetizers sitting right in front of you is different than choosing to enjoy an appetizer and stopping when your satisfied.

Below are tips to help you be more mindful on Thanksgiving and still enjoy some of your favorites:

1. Think about your intentions beforehand. Is Thanksgiving a day where you want to make healthier choices? Do you want to end the day feeling satisfied and not overly stuffed? Or maybe this is one day that you do not want to pay attention to food choices or hunger levels. Whatever your choice, it’s important that you take a moment to think about your intentions.

2. Set boundaries. You don’t have to do it all. If you are in charge of preparing food, it’s okay to buy some pre-made items. It’s also okay to ask for help. If you are invited to two or more places, it’s okay to say no. It’s also okay to just stay at home. Don’t give so much that you are left empty.

3. Eat a high protein breakfast. You may skip breakfast thinking you want to “save” your calories for later in the day. However, it doesn’t work that way. If you skip breakfast chances are by the time you do eat you will feel starving, not care what you eat, and overeat. Starting your day off with a high protein breakfast is a great way to fuel your body, keep your blood sugar in check, and help you feel good going into Thanksgiving.

4. Listen to your hunger signals. The Hunger Satisfaction Scale a great tool to use to help honor what your body is telling you. When we start eating when we are physically hungry it is easier to stop when we are satisfied. It can be a great tool to help prevent us from overeating to the point of feeling sick. It can also remind us to eat before we get to the point of feeling starving. There are a few variations, but I like the one that goes from 1-5.

Hunger Satisfaction Scale
1. Starving
2. Physically Hungry- start eating
3. Satisfied- stop eating
4. Full
5. Stuffed

5. Sit away from the food and plate out your food instead of grazing. Are there a bunch of appetizers just sitting on the table? If so, it can be really easy to just grab one of something and then another, and another, and before you know it you are stuffed on just the appetizers and the main course hasn’t even been served. By plating out your food it forces you to be more mindful and intentional with your choices.

6. Slow down. It takes about 15-20 minutes for our mind to catch up to what we just ate. If we eat quickly and then go back for seconds thinking we are still hungry, chances are you will end up being stuffed after that second helping. If we eat slower and stop when we are satisfied in about 15 minutes you will end up feeling full. When we slow down we are able to better taste our food, helping us to be satisfied with less.

7. Pause. Between a stimulus and response is a brief moment. It is in the moment that you have a chance to pause and influence your decision. Take a moment and breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Are you making the decision because of an emotion? Is your initial decision a jerk reaction or an intentional choice?

8. If Thanksgiving goes haywire, Friday is the perfect day to refocus on your goals. Let’s face it sometimes we have a plan and things still blow up. Give yourself grace and get right back to your goals on Friday morning. Like I mentioned one day will not kill all your results. It’s one day that turns into two, that turns into three…that turns into months that will kill your results. James Clear has a great quote, “Don’t miss twice.” Meaning don’t miss a habit you are working on two days in a row. Get right back to it!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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