How do you have a guilt free holiday and enjoy food and family? These three tips will help.

Thanksgiving, the Super Bowl, Barbecues, weddings, family reunions, all are events filled with feasts of culinary excess and family conflicts. As much as we love the classic Norman Rockwell painting of a loving family gathered about the holiday table, some households may resemble the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s!

Tip 1: Savor Every Morsel of Food Guilt Free

If you are wanting to lose weight, or just want to eat healthy, family gatherings and holiday celebrations can sidetrack those goals. If healthy choices are not available, decide to enjoy and not overdo. Also, savor each morsel without guilt.

How often do you wolf down a meal and immediately go for seconds? Don’t do that at your next gathering (or sitting down to eat any meal).

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 mindful of every bite you take. Most meals at special occasions are full of richness, fat, and texture. A traditional Thanksgiving meal has the dressing, mashed potatoes, green been casserole, pumpkin or pecan pie, etc. Don’t miss tasting every bite and chew slowly.

Slow Down

In the sales profession, I was trained to eat on the go and in the car. I wolfed down many meals, not conscious of anything! Now, I make it a point to be mindful of what I eat and to eat more slowly. My husband is the slowest eater on the planet, so I try to slow down for him!

We have a yellow lab named Wilson who stares me down in the kitchen whenever there is an opportunity for a scrap of meat to fall (or anything to fall). When I give him a piece of something, he doesn’t even chew it. He swallows it. I say, “Wilson, at least chew it!” Don’t be Wilson.

It Takes Time for Your Body to Tell You it is Full

By savoring each bite, you will enjoy your meal and eat less, why? It takes the brain about 20 minutes to communicate to your stomach that you are full. 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 if you wish. Let an hour or so go by so that you can truly enjoy the dessert of your choice.

Whenever I prepare a turkey, I say, “I’m stuffing the turkey and the turkey is going to stuff me later.” : ) I am mindful not to 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 an enjoyable special gathering with no guilt in the food department.

Tip 2: Be Mindful of Alcohol’s Effect to be Guilt Free

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 a guilt hangover. If food is a problem where emotions come in, this can set off a binge. Please don’t let that happen.

If you are going to drink alcohol, 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 alcohol.

Savor whatever you are drinking too. Avoid guilt by not overindulging. 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. Which leads to having a good time with family and not guilt.

Tip 3: Practice Gratitude and Reflection to be Guilt Free

On a major holiday like Thanksgiving, it’s a day that is set aside to give thanks. Most people have the day off, which means that they have the luxury to spend some quiet moments to reflect on the meaning of the day. Every day is a day to practice gratitude. Before you go to your gathering, reflect on what you are grateful for.

If there is dysfunction in your family, take a few moments to ask for Divine help. Ask God to give you strength in having the peace and power to hold your own tongue, or to not let the dysfunctional nature of others rob you of your joy.

May these three tips help you to indulge in guilty pleasures without feeling guilt and find more joy with friends and family.

If your relationship with food isn’t a healthy one (like mine was not for over 3 decades), join me in having The Freedom to Eat – 10 Secrets for Lasting Weight Loss and Inner Peace. Download the first two chapters for free.