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In Defense of Thanksgiving Dinner

Here’s a fun fact: Thanksgiving dinner will likely be one of the most well-rounded meals that many people eat all year.

Check it out… A traditional American Thanksgiving dinner checks many of the boxes we work on for healthy eating habits, including:

  • It generally covers all the major food groups.
  • Most or all of the food is cooked at home. 
  • There are plenty of veggies of all different colors and types.
  • Lean protein is the traditional main course.
  • Much of the food is seasonal, and – depending on where you live – locally sourced.
  • It’s eaten slowly, usually seated at a table with loved ones – not rushed, or standing, or in transit from one place to the next.

So why are we so quick to demonize this meal? Or feel guilty about eating it? Or told we need to “burn it off” in the days before and after?

That’s the multi-billion dollar diet industry talking. Tune that sh*t out!

Instead, give this approach a try:

If you like pie, eat the pie.

If you like turkey, eat the turkey.

If you like veggies, eat the veggies.

Eat as much as you want of the things that bring you joy.

When you’re full, stop eating.

The thing that usually makes you feel physically bad after a meal is binging, which for our purposes means putting enough food in your body that you feel physically icky. The physical feeling of being “over-full” often leads to mental discomfort too, and feelings of guilt or regret. But it doesn’t need to be this way!

Before you get a second or third helping, just chill for a minute. Chat with your family, drink something. If you still feel like you want some more food, go for it! If not, stop. Remember that the food will still be there tomorrow (and leftovers are delish)! You don’t need to eat it all today. Just eat the things you want.

Then on Friday, go about your business. If you don’t have work (or shopping) to do, sleep in. Relax. If you want to hit the gym, go for it. Or go for a walk. Or stretch. Or do literally nothing. It’s just another day. I promise.

It’s easy to think that a single large meal will “ruin” any positive nutrition-related habits you’ve been working on. But think about it this way: can one “good” meal fix a lifetime of bad habits? Nope. So why would one large meal ruin it? It doesn’t! It’s just a meal. (And a very tasty one at that.)

The moral of the story: pie is good for you! It’s good for your soul. It tastes good. It makes you happy. There is no need to deprive yourself of it. Or to eat so much that you feel sick. Holidays are meant for happiness and togetherness, not for guilt. So embrace the happy, eat the foods, and have a Thanksgiving worth celebrating!

Want to chat about food feelz? We’re here for it! Just hit click here to set up a time to chat with a coach – we’ll help you set a course to eating happy and feeling good.

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