Face it, for many of us, the house of good nutrition has been built on a shaky foundation.
As much as we’ve learned to eat right and enjoy healthier foods, decadence looms like a California tremor, waiting to ruin everything we’ve worked so hard for.
And guess what, kids? It’s earthquake season! Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, Ramadan, the list goes on — all at once!
But instead of focusing on the entire stretch, let’s discuss that one day when it all happens — when all the relatives come over and that big meal is laid out: Thanksgiving.
First thing to remember is that we only get one Thanksgiving per year, so if you eat too much, it’s not such an issue. You need to live it up from time to time.
That said, wouldn’t it be nice getting through just one Thanksgiving meal without having to unbutton your 501s after you leave the table? Here’s how.
1. Treat the Rest of Your Day Like Any Other
Dumping all your food into one huge meal can impair digestion.
2. Visualize How Much You’ll Be Eating
It’s easier to keep control if you have a plan. Decide in advance how many of Grandma Edith’s cheese puffs you’ll eat pre-meal.
See yourself eating one plateful of turkey with all the fixings — without going back for more. And for dessert, imagine a small piece of pie.
It’ll still taste good, even if it’s not the size of a Buick.
3. Indulge in Different Ways
If you feel that you need to indulge on Thanksgiving or it’ll be ruined, take another decadent route.
Get a massage or a pedicure. Hit the record store and buy yourself a couple of CDs. Buy yourself a sexy outfit that makes you feel confident (and maybe a little risqué).
4. Buffet It
If you’re the host, don’t put all the food on the table. Instead, set up a buffet.
Studies (and food comas) have shown that if you need to get up to get seconds or thirds, you’re less inclined to make the trip.
5. Avoid the Less Thrilling Stuff
Chose which “bad” things you eat. The impulse is to put a little of everything on your plate, but do you really like Aunt Louise’s creamed onions?
And the bread? Come on! It’s just bread! Flour and water!
Why miss eating all those once-a-year Thanksgiving treats by eating bread?
6. Moderation Is Key
Of course, you’ll want to eat a serving of Uncle Walter’s candied carrots, but a serving is all you need. Savor that instead of shoveling a mountain’s worth in your mouth.
7. Wait for Dessert
The body takes about 30 minutes to figure out it’s full, so take a breather before dessert. If you’re feeling full when you hit Grandpa Saul’s honey cake, you’ll be less inclined to eat too much.
8. If You Blow It, You Blow It
So, despite all this great advice, you might still make a pig of yourself. Oh, well. It happens.
Don’t torture yourself or starve yourself or try to workout for six straight hours to make up for it. It won’t work.
The body doesn’t work well when you try to overcompensate. It just leads to malnutrition and overtraining.
Like I said, Thanksgiving only happens once a year, so now you have 364 days to make up for it with moderation.