Thanksgiving Feast - Enjoyment and Balance

Dr. Erin Nitschke

Image: Pexels - RODNAE Productions

The Thanksgiving holiday is here; it’s time for giving thanks, toasting togetherness, counting blessings, sipping cider, and enjoying a slice of something sweet. As much as the holidays bring enjoyment, they also present a higher level of stress and frenetic activity than other times of the year. This year, instead of worrying about derailing your healthy habits or commitment to movement, focus on enjoying the season in a balanced way that allows you to embrace the sweet and let go of the stress.

Ditch the Diet Mentality

A common approach to the holidays is to let it all go and then “start a diet” in the New Year. But there’s really no need to focus on “doing better in the New Year” when you can live a life centered on balance and harmony versus dieting extremes (overconsumption to underconsumption and dissatisfaction).

Get creative with your meal planning and apply these “ditching diet culture” messages.

Instead of “skip breakfast” to “save calories” (which is not healthy):

Instead of “earn your meals”:

Instead of “eliminate baked goods”:

Instead of “avoid alcohol”:

Woman holding drink in hand.

Instead of “only eat clean”:

Instead of “avoid the appetizers and focus only on salad and lean Turkey”:

Instead of “limit the parties you attend to avoid temptation”:

Instead of “manage stress” (which is a nebulous message by itself):

The holidays are a time for celebration and a significant piece of celebratory events includes food — delicious food. Enjoy it. Toast a cocktail or two. Prioritize balance and shut out the noise of the diet culture dogma that does little more than promote guilt and frustration. You cannot celebrate the holidays in the wrong way — do what feels good to you and make time for movement and a healthy combination of a variety of foods.

Dr. Erin Nitschke is a professor of exercise science at Laramie County Community College. She holds certifications including NFPT-CPT, NSCA-CPT, ACE Health Coach, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Therapeutic Exercise Specialist, and Pn1. Erin is an editorial author for IDEA, NFPT, where she writes regularly on topics related to personal training and health coach skill building, behavior change, and career success.

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