Ah, Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday of the year. Every November I look forward to waking up to the smell of turkey roasting in the oven, the sound of my mom clanging around in the kitchen, and the sight of my dad thumbing through the newspaper while the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade plays on the TV.
It brings a certain warm and fuzzy feeling. You know the one – the one that makes you feel like you’re six years old again. It’s a Thursday, and there’s no school. The countdown to Christmas is finally starting. And you’re about to eat the biggest meal of the entire year.
Succulent turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, tangy cranberry sauce. Savory stuffing, crisp green beans, decadent pumpkin pie with whipped cream. And since I’m Filipino, fluffy white puto, peanut buttery kare kare, silky leche flan. My mouth is already watering just thinking about it.
Food is an amazing thing. Not only does it nourish your body, it brings family and friends together. It satisfies your palate and your stomach. And it has the ability to bring back nostalgia and memories. It’s truly magical.
So what I’m about to say just may get me blacklisted in the fitness blog community, and my husband just might yell at me.
I propose that we all indulge this Thanksgiving.
[Screech!] Whoa, what?!?! You want me to eat all that stuff? What about my goals? What about eating healthy? What about steering away from the desserts, carbs, cocktails, and sticking to one plateful of food?
Okay, okay. I don’t propose that you stuff yourself into a coma. Until you couldn’t possibly move from the couch after you undo the top button of your pants, and you feel so sick to your stomach as you pass out for the rest of the night. Because let’s face it – that actually ain’t all that fun.
I’m simply saying, enjoy yourself. Thanksgiving comes but once a year. Yes, it’s about giving thanks. Yes, it’s about family. But let’s be honest. It’s about the food too. Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the banquet. If you, like me, are fortunate enough to have a table spilling over with food on this blessed day, you should enjoy it. Enjoy that God gave you the gift of enjoying the savor, the sweet, the salty, the crunchy, and the creamy. Enjoy the memories of festive parades and family football games that pumpkin pie and candied yams bring.
So while most fitness experts will tell you to skip the sugary desserts, drink fruit juice instead of cocktails, and load your plate up with salad so there is minimal room left for the mashed potatoes and stuffing, I’m telling you the opposite. Enjoy the pumpkin pie, sip a martini, and make sure to get your fair share of the mashed potatoes and stuffing before your 15-year-old nephew hoards it all.
I will give you a few things to keep in mind however:
- Moderation is key. Like I said, don’t stuff yourself for goodness sakes. You’ll just end up feeling uncomfortable and sleepy. Yes, eat a slice of pumpkin pie, but it shouldn’t be a full quarter of the entire thing! Remember that it takes 20 minutes for your body to feel full.
- Remember there are consequences to your indulgence and accept them fully. You just may feel like crap the next day. If you do decide to eat all those goodies, understand that and accept it as a consequence. Take responsibility the next few days to eat clean, drink plenty of water, and push yourself especially hard during your workouts. (Skipping any workouts is NOT an option!)
- Promise yourself that it’s for Thanksgiving Day ONLY. Most people make the horrible mistake of eating like crap for the entire holiday season. It especially starts with Thanksgiving. That’s when all the Christmas cookies start showing up at work, the cafeteria features gingerbread cake almost every day, and your weekend schedule is jammed with friends’ holiday cocktail hour. Don’t fall into that trap! You’ll only hate yourself when the New Year rolls around.
So, this can be a tricky thing. Allowing yourself to indulge for that one day can easily lead to moments of weakness throughout the holiday season. You must have a strong mindset, discipline, and a strong commitment to yourself. But if you truly feel confident enough to make it work, I say go for it.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving! I know I will. Pumpkin pie, here I come!
*Obligatory disclaimer that my husband asked me to post: The opinions expressed in this blog do not reflect the opinion of Element 5 Fitness or the Element 5 Fitness staff. They are solely the responsibility of the author. (That’s me!) I am not a personal trainer nor a nutrition expert. I am merely sharing with you my thoughts, opinions, and what has worked for me. [End Disclaimer]