With the coming of Thanksgiving Day comes the cultural need to gather with family and friends, to be grateful for what we have, and … to don stretch-waisted pants so we can stuff ourselves into a food coma. What if you could have a healthier Thanksgiving this year?
What if you could still celebrate without the need to over-indulge, avoiding the regretting and yo-yo eating that comes along with it? What if the best way we could be grateful for what we have would be to practice self-care and conscious habits to feel great throughout the day?
You can still enjoy the day, and avoid being a party-pooper by making the choice to integrate healthy habits from the minute you wake up.
8 am, Waking Up (If this is a little early for you to sleep in, adjust the time as needed)
Start off your day by letting yourself sleep in and wake up without the panic of the alarm. When you open your eyes, take a minute to stretch in bed and start the day off right. Grab a cup of coffee or green tea if you need too and a green smoothie for energy.
9 am, Get out and Get Moving
Get up out of bed and put on your walking/running clothes. If you set them out the night before, this will be even easier. Take a walk and take time to breathe in the crisp, fall air, and to admire the changing leaves. Acknowledge yourself for exercising first thing in the day. If there’s a local Turkey Trot where you live, sign up in advance for that and get healthy for a good cause. You can also let go of any stress that the holidays may bring, as well as burning calories.
11 am, Shower and Rejuvenate
Now that you’ve worked up a sweat, time for a refreshing shower. To up your game, add some eucalyptus or lavender oil to relax and open up your sinuses and clear your head. Relax, and be mindful of the warm water as it cascades over you. Take some deep breaths and appreciate your workout.
Noon, Light lunchtime
Most people tend to skip lunch, thinking they’ll eat so much at dinner, but having a nourishing light lunch prepares you for the rest of the day. Don’t let yourself get “hangry.” Fill up with some protein-rich snacks and healthy fiber, by eating a salad with walnuts, tuna, and a light vinaigrette dressing. Then start your cooking (unless you need to start prepping the night before, if necessary, or that morning for some dishes).
2 pm, get ready for your guests
You may feel the need to slow down. If you need to, take a 20-minute nap, but if not, keep going, and prepare snack trays for your guests so they will have something to nibble on while dinner is finishing. Don’t start indulging in alcohol, but make sure you stay hydrated in preparation for the meal ahead. Get dressed, and take a minute to breathe in the quiet before your house is filled with the laughter and conversation of your family and friends.
4 pm, guests arrive
Dinner is still cooking, but you are rested and relaxed, and ready to entertain. Snack on the healthy appetizers you prepared earlier, and set the table and put the finishing touches on the meal.
6 pm, dinnertime
All of your hard work is done and it’s time to enjoy the fruits — and side dishes — of your labor. It’s time to relax, let go of worry, and sit down to eat. No need to set limits, but it’s important to notice how you feel as you are eating. Drink lots of water, to limit the effects of any alcohol consumed, and pause before going back for a second helping to make sure you are truly still hungry, and that it’s not just a case of “eyes bigger than your stomach” syndrome.
10 pm, guests leave
To avoid leaving yourself with a refrigerator full of leftovers that you’ll be tempted to binge on for days, purchase some reusable food containers in advance and send your guests home with care packages of leftovers. That way, you will be ready to get back on track with your normal eating once the day is over, having known you fully enjoyed yourself, guilt and shame-free for the day.