I was not planning on writing a blog post on this, but after seeing SO many people this week posting their “tips and tricks” on ways to stay healthy on Thanksgiving, I felt compelled to share my own two cents, and it may not be what you think it is. Let me preface first by saying, I’m not dogging on anyone who has written one of these posts. Everyone is 100% entitled to their own way of thinking and that’s what I truly love about blogging – reading about someone else’s perspective!
You knew there had to be a “however”, right?! However. Thanksgiving is one dang day a year. One day. One out of 365 days of the year.
I’ve seen so many people say “limit your desserts”, “load up on veggies”, “drink tons of water so you’re not super hungry when it’s time to eat”, “get an early morning workout in”, “limit your alcohol intake”, “walk off your food after dinner”, etc. I promise I’ve seen it all. All of those things are great, and if doing that makes you feel better, you do you! But I also think it’s okay to spend your holiday NOT conscientiously thinking about these things.
Am I going to limit my desserts? Let me tell you the last time I ate a full fat, full sugar dessert. Besides a donut on Halloween, it’s been months. So no, probably not limiting myself there. Am I going to load up on veggies? If sweet potato casserole counts, yes! Am I going to get an early morning workout in? Does lifting my wine glass from the table to my mouth count? Am I going to walk off my food after dinner? Well realistically that would take days to do, and we go to a movie as a family after dinner, so no. Limit my alcohol intake? No to that too.
I would say for about 350/365 days a year, I count macros, eat nutrient dense foods, make sure to eat enough protein, limit processed foods, limit my sugar intake, work out, limit my alcohol intake, etc. The 15, give or take a few, days a year I let myself completely indulge (like turkey day), account for 4% of the year. Do you think that 4% of the year has any affect on my overall health, or the way I look? No. The only thing it affects is my sanity. I am able to have a healthy relationship with food because of that 4%. I’m able to do all of those things I listed above, the other 96% of the time, because of that 4%.
I am so proud of the way I live my life and the changes I’ve made over the past 5-6 years, but I am also so proud of the fact that I can celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, and not feel the need to modify every recipe I’m bringing, or feel the need to say no to trying an additional dessert because I’ve already had one, or worry about what hours Planet Fitness is open on Thanksgiving day. And you know what? Even if I did worry about those things, I wouldn’t be a pound lighter once it’s all said and done. Because one day, makes ZERO difference in the scheme of life.
There was absolutely a point in my life where I did worry about all of these things, as recent as last year. I had a moment the other day when my mom texted me and said “Can you dig the unhealthy stuff off the sweet potato casserole or do you want just a plain sweet potato for Thanksgiving?” While a part of me knows that she was being so thoughtful, the other part of me kind of hated that she had to ask me that. If you were wondering, I responded without hesitation “I can eat the unhealthy stuff!”. And I will, with zero guilt.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, fitness and health are parts of my life, they are not my whole life. On Friday, I will go right back to eating like I do 90% of the time, and working out 6 days a week. But if you can’t indulge a couple of days a year, then when can you? Balance is a part of health. Indulging every once in awhile is a part of health. Not working out every once in a while is a part of health.
This subject is something I’m so passionate about, and it weighed heavily on my heart this week. I never want to make anyone feel like the way they’re living their life is wrong, so if you read this post and feel differently, that’s perfectly fine! And if you’re one of the people I referred to earlier, I still love you! I just felt compelled to share because for years, I felt like if I didn’t do things the “healthy” way on Thanksgiving, other holidays, etc., I wasn’t a “healthy person”, I was losing progress, I was going to gain a bunch of weight, etc. And that’s why I restricted myself in so many ways. But in fact, I now feel the opposite.
I hope if you take nothing else away from this post, it’s to give yourself some grace tomorrow. Eat the pie, drink the wine, lay on the couch, BE HUMAN. Be thankful for the people you share your day with, for all the amazing food you’ll eat, the people who prepared it, and for the time you get to spend with them.
I hope you all have the best day tomorrow! Happy Thanksgiving.