Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving, rules or no rules?

As some of you know (if you read her blog) I am Foodstalking my friend Aidan this month. 
Aidan is doing really well (she may be sick of my suggestions but she hasn’t said so), sending me her food log each day but yesterday this question came “thoughts on tgiving dinner? Rules or no rules??!”

I don’t think it came as too much of a surprise to Aidan, who knows I wrote a book about nutrition and planning, that I not only replied “rules but reasonable ones” but also attached a “treaty” for her to complete and sign. Then, during a client session yesterday, another client asked “is this time of year a total nightmare for you?” It isn’t and I’ll tell you why. If we think about our choices over Thanksgiving we set the tone for a mindful (AKA weight gain free) holiday season. Before Thursday sort a few things out:

When will you workout?
I believe in moving (you don’t need a gym, “turkey burn” or a turkey trot but if you have access to these- go) on Thanksgiving you just need to do something for 30 minutes or more.  If you are traveling ALL day (or fessing up to blow dry preservation) and absolutely cannot then aim for Wednesday and Friday.  Holidays can be full of sitting so wear your Fitbits too.

Pick Favorites
I’m not a fan of “everything in moderation” because at Thanksgiving there is nothing moderate about a little of everything. Is your absolute favorite stuffing or pie (those seem to be the most beloved among our clients) have a small piece of pie or ¼ of your plate of stuffing. And it's only fair that while you’re picking your favorite treat, pick a couple things you can skip. Options include cheese, bread, potatoes…I say skip the items you can have any time of year.

Have an anchor (or 2)
We know that Thanksgiving can be a nutritional doozy (I recall estimates for “typical meals” in the 4,000 calorie vicinity) but don’t forget things you can do proactively. Whether it’s water drinking or filling ½ your plate with veggies or sending us your plate (via instagram or twitter @Foodtrainers #turkeytreaty) commit to something as your anchor behavior  ahead of time.

So yes, I am always in favor of rules though I think calling it a plan sounds a little better. Trust me, come Monday you’ll be thankful.

What workouts do you have planned over thanksgiving? If you were to “pick favorites” what’s your favorite treat? Any items on the “no” list? Will you send us a plate pic?


  1. Thanksgiving foods just don't really appeal to me, maybe because I don't eat meat? I try to treat it just like any other day, that way I still walk / exercise and eat reasonably. Favorite thing are the potatoes...which I eat any way I can.
    Heading to LA today. Wish me luck.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. I'm good about watching my intake all year so I have no rules on Thanksgiving or Christmas.

  3. Thankfully I am completely indifferent to traditional T-giving food. Easy to stick to my usual food amounts/choices. The only thing I enjoy is the pie, i eat half a slice and move on. Luckily twizzlers and chocolate are not part of the traditional meal. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  4. :) Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  5. you too ayala, miss reading your words...off to check them out.

  6. Isn't that interesting Julie, I hear that from a good number of clients. The truth is I think so much of our eating is this is what we eat on a holiday. I'm with you on the holiday foods (cheese before eating is my biggest challenge) and I just hate feeling stuffed/poorly more than anything.

  7. Do you feel physically well with this system Claire. I would think the leap from clean to "no rules" would be hard? But yes, 2 days a year (if we keep it to those) will not matter much....it's that most people don't just keep it to those and "rulelessness" carries over.

  8. good luck, happy thanksgiving and once again I agree with you.