Thanksgiving, i.e. National Overeater's Day
- I have always affectionately named Thanksgiving as National Overeaters
Day. I consider this affectionate because it seems to be a day that
overeating is accepted and even expected. Finally, overeaters get a
day all for themselves, without the judgments of being out of control
or bad for eating too much. Overeating is not bad. Everyone overeats
sometimes. The problem lies in doing so as a way to manage your emotions,
rather than to feed your body.
One reason we overeat on Thanksgiving is that the food is so yummy and it's something we have just once a year. Perhaps if Thanksgiving dinner came 3 times a week, we wouldn't feel the desire to gorge on turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and all the favorites as we do on that one day of the year. I know this is true for me.
I also think some of us overeat to manage the stress of being around our families! Perhaps you love your family, but they drive you crazy. Perhaps your family is too dysfunctional to like much, but you spend time with them anyway. Perhaps you avoid them altogether. Whichever you do, family can push all the right (or wrong) buttons and
create that desire to eat to push down the feelings. So, how do you cope with this and actually enjoy your turkey without needing to unbutton your pants and feel shame about eating?
Here are some tips to eating turkey, not your feelings:
• Depending on what time turkey dinner is served, eat a light breakfast - enough that you will be hungry for dinner but not too hungry. Usually, a meal with protein will last about 4-5 hours.
• Do not snack on food before dinner is served. If a snack is
tempting, consider saving some to eat during dinner. Wrap it up in a napkin, if you want. Often times, just knowing you can have the treat later, will diminish the need for it NOW.
• Use the above technique at the end of dinner too. When you start to feel full, slow down or stop eating. Make sure you can take home leftovers. For example, ask your host for leftovers "Mom, this turkey and gravy is DELICIOUS! I really want to eat more now but I am too full. Would you mind if I take some home to enjoy tomorrow?" Again, making this happen and reminding yourself of it can help ease your desire to continue eating the yummy food.
• If you begin to feel overwhelmed with family, consider taking a walk, talking to someone you like, or even hiding out in the bathroom for a bit. It's often hard to let yourself feel the pain or sadness of a difficult interaction with family members, however, even if you do nothing but just be aware of your feelings, you'll ultimately feel better than you will if you lose control and have to cope with the added physical discomfort and emotional guilt.
• Save room for pie! If your family is like mine, pie seems to come way too soon after dinner. Remember that you can always say, “I’m not hungry yet, I'll wait to eat my slice later” and be sure your favorite is saved for you. Trust me, you will enjoy your pie more if you are hungry when you eat it.
• Spend some time giving thanks and appreciation to yourself, your growth, people in your life, pets that you love, etc. Create a new family ritual or just do this yourself or with friends.
Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner!
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