With the holiday season ramping up you may be feeling added pressure at parties or in the office with foods that are not part of your nutrition plan. Gathering with loved ones, especially during a holiday like Thanksgiving, offers social connections and happy memories. A favorite Thanksgiving dish may remind you of a loved one during the holiday season. Sharing a new side item or entrée may develop into a new friendship. You can enjoy new dishes along with favorite foods while remaining on track with your weight management goals. Below are five ways to stay on track with your weight management goals on Thanksgiving:
- Develop a plan ahead of time. Having a plan in place before you are at Thanksgiving, or a holiday party, will enhance your likelihood of success. Holiday plans can vary based on the event. For example, allow a plan that incorporates your favorite items by mentally listing the foods you will place on your plate. Consider portion-controlled dishes with items you desire the most or try a few bites of everything that is offered to sample it all. Another option could be to make two plates, one for enjoying during the event and another one to have the following day. It may also be beneficial to stay adequately hydrated, especially since it is common to feel those hunger pains when dehydrated.
- Reduce your eating speed. Slowing down allows you to really be in the moment and thoroughly enjoy your food. This is often referred to as mindful eating. Mindful eating is a strategy to help eat less food. Your body takes approximately 15-20 minutes to feel satiated, which is why reducing the speed at which you eat can be beneficial. To learn more about mindful eating and strategies to reduce your eating speed, consider reviewing this Cecelia Health blog titled “Are you listening to your body?”
- Remember why your weight management goals are important to you. This is especially beneficial when you are facing temptation and are considering or justifying a choice that is not part of your plan. Reflect back to when you decided to make a change for your health and what motivated you to do so. Did you make a list of reasons that weight loss was important? If so, review those reasons to remain on track in the present. If not, look within to determine the benefits of losing weight and think about what can be gained from improving your daily habits or losing weight.
- Modify meals and snacks ahead of time. Begin reducing portions or calories on Thanksgiving or even the week before Thanksgiving. Cutting back on calories ahead of time puts you in a good place to work in extra items or a larger portion of a food you may have once a year. This can be as easy as eliminating a regular indulgence after a meal, replacing a high calorie snack with a snack that is low in calories, or filling up on vegetables instead of a starch or fried side item. Don’t’ worry if you were unable to modify your meals ahead of time, consider adjusting portions and calories the week after Thanksgiving to get right back on track towards achieving your goals.
- Revise intentional movement to burn extra calories ahead of time. Get in more movement the week before Thanksgiving to allow for an additional indulgence. Add ten to thirty additional minutes to each work out or incorporate an additional day of movement during the week. Consider trying a new activity or continuing with something you regularly enjoy to stay on track.
With the holiday season ramping up you may be feeling concerned with how to stay on track with your weight management goals. Social connections with loved ones and new friends offer temptations that may not be part of your nutrition plan. But the holiday season does not have to deter you from reaching your goals. You can enjoy new dishes along with favorite foods and stay on track with your weight management goals by developing a plan for holiday events, reducing your eating speed, remembering why your goals are important to you, modifying meals and snacks ahead of time, and revising intentional movement. For more helpful tips for holiday eating, view this article titled “Helpful Tips for Holiday Eating Parties”.