Today is the day: Thanksgiving Day! And with Christmas just around the corner, we have entered the season of family, joy, gratitude and soul-searching. We have also begun overspending and overthinking our diet. (If you want to tackle your overspending issues, you’ll have to check out someone else’s blog!) Notice I didn’t say “overeating” or “depriving,” but rather “overthinking.” Too many people (us, women, especially) take a polarized approach to eating during the holidays.
Put on your pants with the old, stretched out elastic and go to town! Those of us with this thinking throw every sensible thought about food and nutrition out the window. Holidays don’t count! What’s one day going to matter? The problem with this thinking has both long term and short term effects…Take it from me, if you’ve been making healthier food choices or even healthier food portions this year, overindulging can lead to bloating, headaches, upset stomach and will keep you running to the bathroom for your body to purge itself (and that’s putting it nicely). There will be plenty of leftovers to enjoy the rest of the week, so don’t see how much of it you can eat in one sitting. Or else you won’t be willing to even LOOK at the leftovers.
Long term effects have more to do with your overall goals and the start to a new year. For instance, if you’ve been on some sort of diet up until NOW, then throw those choices out the window and basically eat like crazy for two months worth of Holidays, and then swear up and down to lose weight in the new year, you are putting your body and your emotions on a crazy roller coaster ride. Quickly gaining back any weight that took forever to come off will wreak havoc on your self-image and confidence, not to mention your metabolism and overall gut health.
This other extreme is for those of us who “know too much” about nutrition. We know an empty carb from a complex carb. We know when our blood sugar will spike or when it will dip. We know what foods will be better for and easier on our digestion, and what foods will cause our well-oiled machine to break down. So, we turn up our noses at traditional dishes and eat only the smallest portions from the “nutritionist approved” menu.
This line of thinking also doles out consequences. How do your loved ones feel when you won’t even touch something they slaved away on for two days? I know my feelings are hurt when my green bean casserole gets the cold shoulder (PS I make it from scratch with extra cheese and bacon…comment if you want the recipe 😉 ). And you? How do you feel to see everyone eating happily, warm glow on their faces as their bellies fill? For me, I’ve felt bitter, and even jealous. How dare they eat all that food without a care in the world!
While I don’t know which category you may fall into, I fall into both! I’ve eaten until I can barely roll myself away from the table! However, I’ve also experienced the holidays with Gestational Diabetes and bitterly watched as everyone stuffed their faces and I could only eat two dishes…and not a lot of it at that!
If every single dish looks delicious and something you’d enjoy (even if it doesn’t fit into your diet plan right now), then take a little bit of everything. Trust me, it adds up! I usually take a small portion of about four or five different side dishes in addition to the ham or turkey. I end up feeling satisfied! I don’t feel the need to go back for more, and I don’t feel so stuffed I might get sick. And of course there’s always room for a small dessert (maybe a cookie or a small slice of pie). If there’s a dish that doesn’t look palatable to you, by all means skip it. But if you’re choosing not to eat a casserole because it has too much cheese or bacon, even though you know you’ll love it, just take a small amount and move on.
I know it’s cliche to say, but life is about balance. Your weight WILL fluctuate (daily, like it always does!). BUT, it’s about the trend…if you weigh yourself monthly and next month you’ve maintained your current weight or only gained a couple pounds, consider it a victory! These next two months will be our most difficult, nutritionally, but you cannot beat yourself up about the choices you make. Eating “bad” food every once in a while does not make you a “bad” person. Just like eating “good” food all the time does not make you a “good” person.
Find your balance this holiday season so you can enjoy time with family and stop overthinking your waistline. Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Lord, bless this busyness ~ Jenn
PS I have a more balanced approach on daily eating now that I understand gut health and how it influences your wait. Google gut health and send me a message/comment if you’d like to learn more!
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