With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I figured it would be an appropriate time to discuss how to survive the Thanksgiving feast. The holidays, though wonderful in so many ways, often get a bad rap when it comes to waistlines. With Thanksgiving ushering in the start of the holiday season, it's a great time to think about some new holiday mealtime guidelines.
1. All things in moderation. Deprivation is never the way to go...especially at the holidays. Denying yourself the apple pie you have been waiting all year to sample is not going to solve anyone's problems. (I guarantee, you'll find yourself at post-dessert clean-up scarfing down 1/4 of the pie while standing in the kitchen.)
2. Try your best to listen to true stomach hunger. So what if your Grandma just walked in with her famous cheese-covered appetizer, if you're not hungry (or especially if you're already full) don't have any. There will be plenty of others to compliment her on her extraordinary dish. If you really love it, make a small plate for later when you are truly hungry.
3. Make sure to stay hydrated. Not only are holiday beverages high in calories, but wine, punch, cocktails and sugary sodas don't replenish your body the way water does. Believe it or not, we oftentimes mistake thirst for hunger! Make a promise to yourself to have at least four to six 8 oz. glasses of water a day. It will stave off unnecessary hunger pangs and (bonus) help prevent dry skin!
4. Eat consciously. Holiday menus are the highlight of the year's eating, so take the time and make the effort to really taste your food. Eat slowly (putting your utensils down between bites really helps), chew consciously, and really appreciate every bite. Pacing yourself at meals will help eliminate excessive overeating, because when you eat consciously, you're more likely to feel the subtle "satisfaction signal" that lets you know when you've had enough. (Try not to let pants-unbuttoning full be your cue to stop!)
5. Make time for family time. Lastly, remember that the heart of any holiday celebration should be centered on reconnecting with family and friends, not over-indulging in your aunt's famous pumpkin cheesecake. Focus on visiting with relatives you haven't seen in a while, watching the football game (or Thanksgiving Day Parade), and enjoying a day that won't come again for another year.