Thanksgiving is a time to gather with the people we love and reflect on the many things we have to be grateful for. It can also turn into a week of indulgence and gluttony.
If you’ve been healthfully mindful and vigilant about your diet lately, then you might be feeling a little anxiety creeping in right about now. After all, the food often takes center stage for family activities, and it’s not always healthy. But here’s the difference between genuine healthy living and restrictive diets:
It’s all about balance and moderation, not rules.
There is a way to enjoy yourself no-holds-barred at the feast, without the usual guilt or self-deprecation, and still stay on track with your healthy diet.
Simply being present and fully engaged with your company, and knowing that you were both prepared with healthy habits in advance and will follow through with more in the days to come will alleviate any negativity about the big day.
That being said, do your best to eat foods prepared with wholesome ingredients. If you’re not the primary hostess, communicate with the organizer of the meal and offer to help with the shopping and cooking. You can also bring along your own healthy dish, like roasted butternut squash, quinoa salad, or even a big fresh salad with some delicious balsamic vinaigrette. Most hosts and hostesses are grateful for the help.
Since we’re still a few days out, here’s a little something to help you prepare your body before the feast, and then recover gracefully afterwards.
Pre-and-Post Thanksgiving Wellness Plan
Monday, November 24th
Eat lots of leafy greens, a serving of raw fruit, and other raw and cooked veggies throughout the day to give your body a little detox. Do your best to avoid meats, sugar (save the cookies for Thursday), and dairy to help further clean your internal environment. And don’t forget to drink extra water too.
Tuesday, November 25th
Make time for some gentle yoga or stretching, along with a 10 or 20-minute meditation to center yourself and tune in with your body. Treat yourself to fresh juice, a hearty lunch of protein and veggies, and something nourishing that isn’t food. Bundle up and go for a long solo walk, or invite a loved one who you don’t see often to catch up while you walk. This will help satisfy your soul and rev-up your metabolism for the week.
Wednesday, November 26th
Enjoy light and colorful meals throughout the day that focus on a healthy protein and veggies, and allow yourself some relaxation time in the midst of any meal prep you must do. Take a warm bath in the evening and give yourself a foot massage with scented oils before bed to relax your nervous system, stimulate circulation, and give you restful sleep. Your friends and family have most likely arrived by now, focus on giving them your full attention and sip your favorite delicious herbal tea while you chat.
Enjoy yourself! I believe in the feast. Focus your energy on your gratitude and loved ones, not on feeling guilty or anxious about your food.
Remember this: The Thanksgiving meal itself won’t make you gain weight, it’s what you do in the days before and after that counts the most. And if you can, it helps to eat protein and veggies before you eat any sugar or starch.
Friday, November 28th
Start your morning off with some hot lemon water, gentle stretching, and deep breathing. Have something light and refreshing for breakfast, such as a smoothie, fresh-pressed juice or chia pudding, and do something active during the day to rev up your metabolism. Leftovers for dinner alongside a big salad are great, just don’t go overboard.
Saturday, November 29th
This is a great day to clean out something in your home that’s been waiting in a messy heap for your attention. Cleansing your outer environment will help you cleanse internally too. Play your favorite music while you clean to make it fun, drink plenty of water, and aim to make it a mostly veggies kind of day.
Sunday, November 30th
To help conclude your week of self-love and mindful feasting do something special for yourself. Whether it’s getting a massage, going shopping, working on your favorite hobby, or watching a movie on the big screen, reward yourself with restful play. Enjoy cozy healthy comfort foods like herbal tea, homemade pumpkin cookies, toasted sunflower seeds, or apples with cinnamon and almond butter.
Now you can start your work week feeling both nourished and rejuvenated, and ready to take on Christmas in a few weeks.
And a special note to all of my blog readers, I’m especially grateful for you this Thanksgiving season.
We’ve had over 1 million unique visitors to this site in the last 18 months (holy cow!), and I’m extremely grateful that I get to do what I do each day. Thank you for being here! I can’t wait to share even more with you throughout the holiday season and in the coming year.
Sending you tons of love and gratitude!
Hi Elizabeth! Great article! I just starting a health coaching business and this is exactly what my client needs to hear! She’s been doing so well but she just told me today that she is anxious about maintaining her healthy habits this holiday season! This will definitely set her on the right track! Thanks!
So glad. Thanks for stopping by, I love hearing from new health coaches!
Thank you so much for the great tips on surviving this Thanksgiving holiday! As someone who has recently started being more mindful of my diet and making attempts to live a more healthy lifestyle, I really appreciate this thoughtful and wholesome post in the midst of tons of other sites talking about nothing but food, food, and more food during this time of year. Happy holidays!
So glad it was helpful. Happy Thanksgiving!