Tips for Getting Through Thanksgiving

November 25, 2020

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holiday food

The holiday season can be a trying time for those who are losing weight, and perhaps no holiday is loaded with more food traditions than Thanksgiving.

We are of the philosophy that the holidays only come once a year, so we don’t advocate a strict no-participation approach. However, you also want to be sure that celebrating and enjoying one day doesn’t turn into derailing your medical weight loss plan until after the New Year!

In general, if you are following any sort of weight loss program, it’s critical that you have a very strong plan in place going into the holidays to ensure you don’t lose sight of your goals.

For example, we recommend preparing one or two healthy dishes –  perhaps some shrimp cocktail and a vegetable tray with a low-fat dip. That way, you have at least a few dishes you know you’ll be able to turn to during the event.

In general, we recommend to those actively losing weight to avoid the carb-loaded options (potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and desserts) if possible, or to keep portions to just a little bit. Reach mostly for turkey, vegetable side dishes, and fresh fruit for dessert. In other words, stick to the protein and fiber.

If you are in medical weight loss maintenance mode, you can relax a bit more. Perhaps have a little of everything but, again, keep it in moderation. Draw upon everything you learned during your weight loss experience to remember good habits and behaviors to enjoy the day but not fall off the wagon.

Remember to eat slowly and mindfully. Try not to make food your focus. Look to other things about the holiday that bring joy. For instance, even if you can’t physically be with family and friends, connecting with them over Zoom or Skype is still a reason for gratitude. After all, part of life is making room for celebrations.

No matter what, you just want to make sure you get right back to business as usual the next day. If you do overeat, don’t let yourself slip into guilt or shame. Expect that the next day or two following the holiday could be more challenging if you’ve stretched out your stomach or eaten foods that may trigger further cravings. But be strong! Within a day or two, this will pass and you’ll be glad you didn’t abandon your goals.

Remember, weight problems don’t come from one day. They come from the pattern day after day. So even if you do eat more than you planned, the key is not letting it become a trend. Simply chalk it up to being human and refocus on your goals.

Lastly, we recommend you take a low-key approach when it comes to talking about your diet with others during the day. Sometimes this only draws attention, scrutiny, or uncomfortable discussions you may not want. It’s possible that if you don’t mention it and just stick with your goals, others won’t even notice what or how much you’re eating (or not eating!).

Happy Thanksgiving! Stay healthy and safe…

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