How to Have a Guilt Free Thanksgiving with Food and Family Three Tips
Thanksgiving, the Super Bowl of gastric holidays, can be filled with lots of guilt from indulging on the feast of culinary excess and guilt from family conflicts. As much as we love the classic Norman Rockwell painting of a loving family gathered around the table, some households may resemble the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s!
Here are three tips to help you have a guilt free holiday when it comes to food and family.
Tip 1: Savor Every Morsel without Guilt
How often do we wolf down the Thanksgiving meal and immediately go for seconds? Don’t do that this year. Be conscious of each bite. Savor the richness of the meal. Let the flavors fill your senses with smell and taste and your brain with pleasure.
Take half the size portion you would normally take, but take whatever you want. When you sit down to eat, be conscious of every bite that you take. Due to the nature of the traditional Thanksgiving meal, there is a lot of fat, texture and richness to the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, yams, pumpkin pie, etc. Don’t miss “tasting” every bite.
I have a yellow lab named Wilson who stares me down in the kitchen whenever there is an opportunity for a scrap of meat. When I give him piece of chicken or other meat, he doesn’t even chew it. He swallows it. I say, “Wilson, at least chew it!” Don’t be Wilson.
By savoring each bite, you will enjoy your meal and eat less. It takes the brain about 20 minutes to communicate to your stomach that you are full. You will be amazed at how much more you will enjoy your meal when you savor each bite. Your body will tell you when you are full. It’s like having automatic will power. Our bodies are quite extraordinary when we listen to them.
When you are full – stop. Save room for dessert. Let an hour or so go by so that you can truly enjoy the dessert of your choice.
In the past, as I was preparing the turkey, I used to say, “I’m stuffing the turkey and the turkey is going to stuff me later.” I don’t stuff myself anymore. My suggestion is that you resist stuffing yourself too.
Savoring every bite and avoiding being so full that you have to unbutton your pants will help you have a Thanksgiving with no guilt in the food department.
Tip 2: Be Mindful of Alcohol’s Effect
Celebrations usually involve wine, beer or spirits. If that is the case, don’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach because alcohol will:
- Stimulate your appetite
- Cause you to lose inhibitions
When this happens, it’s past the point of no return. You will feel hungrier and your self-control will go out the window.
The problem with alcohol is that in the moment you don’t feel guilt. All you feel is pleasure. Unfortunately, the next day you will have a food hangover and guilt hangover. You will beat yourself up for not having more self-control. If food is a problem where emotions come in, this can set off a binge. Please don’t let that happen this year.
If alcohol causes you to change your state, losing inhibitions can also cause you to say things that shouldn’t be said. So, be mindful of alcohol consumption and how it affects your state.
Drink a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage that you have and make sure that you have some food in your stomach before you drink any alcohol.
If you are drinking alcohol, savor that too. Avoid guilt by not overindulging.
Tip 3: Give Thanks and Take Some Time to Be Still
It’s Thanksgiving! The day we give thanks! There are no gifts to purchase and wrap. There are none of the demands that the Christmas holidays hold.
It is the day when our nation stops to give thanks for all that we have. Most people have a day off, which means that they have the luxury to spend some quiet moments to be still and take in the meaning of the day to give thanks.
Find a quiet place and take ten to fifteen minutes to reflect on all that you have to be thankful for. If there is dysfunction within your family, use this time to ask for Divine help. Spend this time feeling God’s presence. Ask God to give you strength in having the peace and power to either hold your own tongue, or to not let the dysfunctional nature of others rob you of your joy.
Reflect on the fruits of the Spirit which are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Ask to be filled with all of these as you enter into this special day.
May this Thanksgiving be your happiest yet full of guilty pleasures but without the guilt.
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