Whether you’re trying to lose – or simply maintain – weight, this time of year causes a lot of dread and anxiety. You want to get through the holiday season without putting on extra pounds, without feeling fat, and without the guilt of eating holiday foods.
And then we all have the “shoulder angel” and “shoulder devil” talking to us. You know, those voices in our heads, the two that constantly fight with each other about what to do.
You’ve probably seen them in cartoons. On one side of the shoulder is an angel, representing good or “our conscience.” On the other shoulder is the devil, representing bad or “tempation.”
It seems these two follow us around, especially during the holidays. You’ll be at the Thanksgiving table and all the delicious food is being passed around. You have those two guys on your shoulder. The good one says, “Oh no, I can’t give up on my weight-loss efforts and my dream of being slim. I’ve given up before and can’t do it again this year.” While the bad one says, “Hey, it’s Thanksgiving for crying out loud. You’re supposed to gorge yourself, it’s okay. It’s only one day.”
So who to listen to? If you eat like you normally do on Thanksgiving, then you’ll feel terrible afterwards, and then feel shame for giving up and not realizing your dream. But if you diet and watch what you eat, then you miss out on all the fun.
There’s no way to win, right? Wrong!
But what to do? Listen to the shoulder angel or the shoulder devil??
Well, the answer is…both!
You see, Thanksgiving is about enjoyment. Enjoying spending time with family, while being thankful for all that you have. But at the same time, you have to understand the difference between enjoyment and gluttony. It’s about having balance.
Here are some things to think about which can help you find that balance:
Get Rid of the Pressure
There’s already so much pressure on the holidays, there’s no need to add more to it by restricting yourself. Many experts will tell you to eat low-fat versions of your favorite foods, or only eat when you’re hungry, or even “wear tight-fitting clothes” so you’re less tempted to overeat! Personally I disagree with these. Besides, easier said than done, right!
In my opinion, this isn’t the time to be eating low-fat foods. Thanksgiving is a day for enjoyment — to enjoy the food and being in the company of family and friends.
What’s more important to you on Thanksgiving? Eating a low-fat food, or spending time with family or catching up with friends? Let these be your focus for the day and not the pressure of the food.
Thanksgiving is one of those days when you should allow yourself to be fulfilled and enjoy the foods.
Take off the chains of dieting. Don’t restrict yourself from eating your favorite foods. Thanksgiving is supposed to be pleasurable.
If Aunt Suzie makes your favorite pecan pie, then go ahead and have some. But enjoy it — really enjoy it. Take the time to savor it. Your aunt probably put a lot of time and effort into making the pie, so honor the food and enjoy it mindfully.
Realize it’s Okay to Overeat
Don’t worry if you overeat a little. It’s okay. No one is perfect and it’s quite normal to eat a bit more than you normally do. The weight will come off later when you go back to eating more healthy.
At the same time, if you miss out on some of the food, that’s fine too. You don’t have to eat ALL of your favorite foods, just eat some. There will always be another occasion to eat those other foods. We live in a world of abundance and it’s not like you won’t see that food again.
As always, it’s up to you what and how you eat. If you really want to overindulge, that’s okay. If you want to be careful and not eat too much, that’s fine too. Just don’t feel guilty afterwards.
Thanksgiving is one of those days when you should allow yourself to indulge a little and enjoy the foods. It’s supposed to be pleasurable, you just need to take away the “pressure” of doing everything right.
So relax…. and enjoy!