Have Your Pie and Eat it Too

Enough already. Our lives aren't defined by a single meal. Eat your Thanksgiving feast and savor every morsel. For almost a month now we've been hearing about how to control ourselves, eat less, cleanse and mentally prep for the big day. I say there's plenty of time for holiday binge panicking next month, so how about we call a Thanksgiving truce.

What happened to sitting down with family and friends while enjoying the bounty and wallowing in gratitude for plenty? We cook, bake, and clean for days, wanting to create the perfect setting. We replicate grandma's recipes. Should we really be fixated on the protein/carb ratio? I'm pretty sure our founding feasters felt more gratitude than we seem to be mustering. I say revel in the once-a-year stuffing. Yes, the plate might be overflowing with more food than we can possibly eat, but we'll give it a try anyway. Of course, we’ll probably follow it up with some pumpkin pie, shaming ourselves with each bite, leaving nothing but the crust on the plate.

We need to ask ourselves, “Does it really matter in the long run?"

The answer is mostly No, unless there’s a food allergy or specific health risk at stake (known or unknown).

So why ARE we stressing about a meal that's designed to celebrate plenty? For sure, if we have medical conditions that warrant elimination or reduced portions of a particular food group, then heading into the meal with a plan (and our own side dish) makes sense, but if we're on another cyclical fad diet, we may feel resentment while drinking our meal replacement shake at a table full of seasonal fare. Then we’ll stress some more about our deprivation, causing further emotional discord. It’s a self-created holiday stressor that rears its head not just on Thanksgiving, but on each holiday associated with traditional meals. That’s roughly 6 meals a year, translating into unnecessary anxiety with lasting effects.

Really, the obsession with Thanksgiving overeating is downright harmful if we're not even monitoring the remaining 364 days of consumption. Maybe we find it somehow comforting to join the chorus of restrictive moaning, but nothing feels worse than gluttony paired with guilt and shame. The truth is, most fad diets are far more harmful than a single day of overconsumption.

My advice? Celebrate the seasonal harvest, hug your family and friends, thank your maker for the gifts, and shift your focus next week to reigning in the negative behaviors that sabotage the holiday season. And remember, when it comes to health and wellbeing, consistency wins. 

Have a happy, healthy Thanksgiving!

Lisa Hautly