Can you believe we are in the midst of the holiday season? With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought we should discuss something generally overlooked during the holidays – wellness. Thanksgiving is traditionally a time for gathering together with loved ones and indulging in a massive feast. Thoughts of health and wellness are not usually at the forefront of people’s minds. However, as enjoyable as the holidays are, they can take a toll on your overall health and wellness. I’d like to help you have the healthiest Thanksgiving possible.
The holiday season, and Thanksgiving in particular, are loaded with decadent, fatty, rich foods. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average person puts on an extra pound during the holidays, with people who are already overweight gaining around five pounds. The alarming thing about this is that most people don’t lose the extra weight after the holidays. And over time, the this adds up to an unhealthy situation.
How to eat healthfully during the holidays:
- Eat a healthy, fibrous snack before attending a party. This will keep you feeling more satiated and less prone to over-indulge.
- Make smarter snacking choices. Instead of gravitating to rich, cheesy, or fried foods, seek out lighter items like salsas, bruschetta, veggie trays, and fresh fruits. Try swapping out decadent choices with lighter options. For example, apple cider is a healthier choice than eggnog.
- Allow yourself to enjoy some of your favorite traditional treats. But don’t make the holiday an excuse to go hog wild. Giving yourself permission to indulge in some seasonal favorites should keep you from feeling deprived and falling off the wagon, hard.
- Remind yourself that these foods come around every year. Thus, there is no need to eat all of them during one holiday season.
- A key area of wellness is mental/emotional wellness, and the holidays are fraught with stressful and tense moments”
- Prepare yourself ahead of time for potential conflicts. This will give you the tools to avoid or quickly diffuse potential stress and drama.
- Set boundaries. There’s a difference between being hospitable and being a door mat. It is vital that you set boundaries for how you will allow people to treat you.
- Manage expectations with honest communication. Perhaps there are traditions which are very important to you. Communicate them to your loved ones. This can eliminate disappointment or injured feelings later.
- If this is your first Thanksgiving after the death of a loved one, you may feel overwhelmed by their absence. With a bit of forethought, you may find ways to help ease the grief. For example, you could make their favorite dish. You might switch up how you prepare and serve your meal. Or you could choose to do something entirely different than usual on Thanksgiving. The departure could help you get through the season despite your grief.
My biggest recommendation for Thanksgiving wellness is to step back from the hustle and bustle. Take a moment to reflect on all the things you are thankful for. After all, listing your blessings with an attitude of gratitude is what this holiday is all about!