With Thanksgiving in a few days, this is the time I always see tons of articles about how to stay on track over the holiday. I get the intention of these, as tons of people are typically searching google for ways to stay on track with their fitness and nutrition goals in hopes of not ruining all their progress and gain a ton of fat over the holiday’s. Not only that, but as an online coach and fitness influencer, I get tons of DM’s and emails from my clients saying they are stressing out over Thanksgiving and asking me for tips to “stay on track”.
Enjoy all of the food you’re blessed to have in front of you. Have some drinks if you want. Eat what you like. Have some dessert. Focus on the time you get to spend with your loved ones. Don’t you dare track your macros (unless you’re in competition prep for something specific, fine).
DO NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR BODY FOR ONE DAY!!!!
Stressing over one meal or one day does more harm than good. You won’t ruin your progress by eating a meal outside of your typical plan. You won’t ruin your progress if you don’t track your macros for one day. You won’t ruin your progress over Thanksgiving or the holiday’s.
It breaks my heart when I see people (in my experience, mostly women) freaking out over staying on track over the holiday’s. I’ve been there, done that. I look back and realize I was being crazy and ridiculous for having such a disordered mindset. Not saying everyone is disordered who have thought this way, but for me personally, I sure was. I was extremely lean and all I cared about was staying that way. I would weigh my food out and make sure that I had specific foods (such as steamed veggies with no butter or oil) for me to chose from and eat. How often did I eat all of these wonderful Thanksgiving foods that everyone loves? Rarely ever, usually only once a year! So why did I think eating it that one time out of the year would do me such harm? It wouldn’t have, but I didn’t realize that.
Being overly obsessed over food, calories, macros, and your body in general isn’t healthy mentally or physically. It’s also not a way to live. It’s also not healthy if you are getting major anxiety thinking about Thanksgiving dinner and stressing over it. The holiday’s should be fun, relaxing, and something to look forward to.
There’s a time and a place to be a bit more hyper-focused (i.e. if you are prepping for a show, photoshoot, etc) and that’s fine! Having a balanced mindset all-year round is something we all should focus on and strive to achieve. Remember that balance and moderation is the key to it all. Restriction and deprivation only lasts so long, and it truly isn’t a good time. You miss out on a lot of things, and I personally have noticed a much happier life when I found that balance in my life between fitness and food.
There are times when memories are more important than macros or your body. In my opinion, the holiday’s are these times. Sure, Thanksgiving isn’t about the food. It’s about the love and being surrounded by friends and family. However, the food sure is a plus and something that should be enjoyed.
There are some things I do suggest you can do or remember on this day such as:
- Be a mindful eater. This means eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. Eat the foods you actually enjoy, and don’t eat things you don’t even like just because it’s there or you’re having a “free” day if you want to call it that. Yes, you may eat past fullness (because heck, you don’t need to be hungry for dessert), and that is more than okay. Just be mindful.
- The food will always be there. Leftovers are a beautiful thing. Eat to the point of fullness and until you’re content, you can always eat more food the next day! No need to completely stuff yourself just because you feel like it’s the only day you can eat these foods. This is an unhealthy practice and mindset that you don’t need to have.
- Do what works for you. I hear of some people that say “don’t skip meals and go into Thanksgiving dinner too hungry”. Sure, this can work for some, but personally I’m a huge fan of intermittent fasting. I’d rather eat super light early on or fast and then save up some calories for the good stuff. Either way is fine, everyone has different preferences.
- Relax. Have fun. Enjoy the moment. You don’t want to look back and think “damn I wish I just chilled out”! Like I said, I have done this. I wish I spent more time focusing on family, love, and the delicious food and allowing myself to enjoy what I liked instead of being so obsessed with calories and my body. The holiday’s are meant to be fun and relaxing, and the memory of them will always be there. Make it a good memory.
What is your approach to the holiday’s?
For me, I don’t worry about it and I eat what I want! I’ve reached a very balanced lifestyle, one where I don’t track and I enjoy the foods I love at any time.
What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
I love it all, honestly! But probably dessert.. and red wine, although I cannot partake in the red wine drinking this year!