Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thinking About Thanksgiving...

Are you feeling thankful? Or are you worrying about how you'll stay on track with your weight management goals this weekend? If you're leaning toward the latter, you're in good company. Thanksgiving is a challenging holiday, whether you're looking to lose weight or just maintain. After all, the day itself is focused on food! Happily, the day doesn't need to do damage to your weight management goals. Take a look!

Donna's Top Five Thanksgiving Tips
  1. Write it down. Writing down what you're eating is the best way to stay on track with your weight management goals. That said, if you're reluctant to write down everything you eat, it's okay to focus on a specific challenge area. For example, you might keep track of just alcoholic beverages, appetizers, or dessert. Amping up your eating awareness, even if you're only paying attention for some of the day, is better than blindly noshing and munching your way through the day.
  2. Have a plan for stress management. For some, Thanksgiving is a relaxing, enjoyable day with no work and no worries. But for many of us, it's a day fraught with both work and worry. If you use food to help you cope with feelings, give some thought to how you'll manage your feelings more appropriately. Thanksgiving is a perfect day to practice reasonable expectations for yourself and others, work on controlled breathing, explore aromatherapy, and put your assertive communication skills to work. 
  3. Think about physical activity. The idea here isn't to burn off the calories you're eating, but rather, to find a balance between focusing on food and focusing on other aspects of the day. For example, challenge family and friends to a game of tennis or bowling on your gaming system, go outside and toss around a football, or put on some favorite music and dance. Or, maybe you'd benefit from a quiet walk around the neighborhood. Either way, using your body helps you stay in touch with how your body feels and what your body needs. That makes it easier to eat what you need, rather than what you want, when the big meal arrives.
  4. Be thankful. As simple and obvious as it sounds, taking the time to really feel thankful is something that's often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of the day. Write down one thing you're thankful for, and post your note where you will see it often as the day progresses. Make a list of your blessings, and share it with others. Give of your time, talent, or treasure to others, or make plan to do so during the holiday season or next year. Enjoy the gifts and blessings you've received this year! 
  5. Keep your goals reasonable. If you usually eat 2 pieces of pie loaded with ice cream and whipped topping, you may find that cutting back to no dessert at all starts of well enough...then morphs into an evening of, "Well, I'll just have a bite of yours...Well, I didn't have dessert, so eating my kid's leftover pie crust should be okay...Well, I haven't really had a plate of my own, so a little sliver won't do me any harm..." It's more reasonable to plan ahead for one piece of pie, with a smaller serving of ice cream and a dollop of whipped cream. That way, you'll have the skills you need to meet your goals, rather than white-knuckling your way through the day.
Now it's your turn...How do you successfully navigate the Thanksgiving holiday? Share your tips with us, and have a healthy, happy Thanksgiving!