As much as you may love Thanksgiving, it can be a challenging time that promotes some not-so-healthy habits. While we all love to indulge—or, more accurately, over-indulge—in our favorite dishes on Thanksgiving, it’s easy to go too far and throw out the rules for a day to the point of extreme excess. In just one meal, you might consume more calories than you should eat in a day, and that’s not even factoring in snacks and appetizers. That’s a toxic habit for anyone, but it’s particularly damaging if you’re struggling with an eating disorder or even just dieting to manage your weight. But nobody wants to have to say no to all their favorite dishes at the Thanksgiving table. So how can you manage the day without compromising all indulgence? The answer is through mindfulness.

Mindfulness and eating

Mindfulness centers on taking a thoughtful approach to an activity and savoring it in the moment. So, in the context of eating on Thanksgiving (and at any other meal), you should focus on enjoying each bite and eating with intention. Don’t fill up mindlessly on chips and dip. Only go for the foods that truly call out to you and enjoy each and every bite. You will find yourself more aware of when you are full, which will keep you from getting overstuffed after Thanksgiving dinner.

Recognizing stress and other food triggers

Along with thinking carefully about what and how much you’re eating, it’s important to recognize the reasons you might be driven to overeat. Thanksgiving foods are comfort foods, so we might turn to them after a family argument or other high-stress event—something that’s not uncommon at a family holiday gathering. Try to recognize when emotion is driving you toward a second serving, rather than hunger.

If you are trying to practice mindfulness in your daily life, seeing a therapist can help. With the behavioral health services offered by MeMD, it’s never been easier to schedule a private session and see a specialist within 24 hours.

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