Operation Healthy Thanksgiving:

5 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle During the Holiday

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! With the holiday coming up this week, I thought it was timely to share some tips for staying on track as you celebrate this week. Holidays can be a difficult time to say on track, but these simple strategies will help you enjoy the celebration without going overboard.

1. Friends & Family > Feasting

It’s so easy to associate special days like Thanksgiving with the food and feasting, but try to remember that it’s so much more than that. I can’t tell you exactly what my favorite part of the meal was last year, but I can remember how special it was for my kids to hang out with their great grandparents. Even though the holiday will look different in so many ways this year, the most important part of the celebration is not the food, but who you are celebrating with. While the group around my table will be much smaller this year, I still believe we’re going to make unforgettable memories in a year that promises to be unlike any other. And even if you aren’t able to physically be with those you love, thank God for modern technology like Zoom and FaceTime!

2. Preparation is essential

Go into the day with a general plan of what you are going to eat and when. Plan on a healthy, balanced breakfast and even 1-2 protein shakes during the day. Help your body to feel great and satisfied throughout the day before you’re staring down the Thanksgiving buffet ready to eat everything in sight! Speaking of the menu, in addition to the stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy, prepare one or two veggie dishes to enjoy with the meal. Making and sticking to a plan will help you feel your best, avoid unnecessary calories, and maintain control of when and how you are going to indulge – more on that in a moment!

3. Water, water, and more water

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially on days of celebration. It’s easy to let our ordinary routines fall to the wayside on less than ordinary days, but this is one habit you’ll be thankful to maintain. Drinking water helps you recognize hunger cues, boosts your energy, flushes out toxins, and improves digestion. All things that will help you more fully enjoy the holiday!

4. Have a slice of pie

Say what, now?! That’s right – enjoy a piece of pie, or a little stuffing, or some mashed potatoes. Remember, the key to a sustainable healthy lifestyle is moderation, not deprivation. Maybe this year instead of seeing how high you can pile the food on your plate without it toppling over, take a little of each dish. Sit down and enjoy your food. Put your fork down a few times while eating. Really savor each bite. You might be surprised to find that you enjoy the meal just as much, if not more, without having to feel uncomfortably stuffed at the end. And then tomorrow – get right back on track with your healthy eating habits! No guilt necessary.

5. Practice gratitude

Remember that we are not just about Engaging The Body, but Engaging The Brain and Tongue as well. Gratitude is one of the best possible ways to do this! In fact, studies show that people who regularly practice gratitude report fewer aches and pains and overall better physical and mental health. So make the most of this season, and take advantage of the opportunity to consider all that you have to be thankful for. Engage The Brain by making a list, and Engage The Tongue by taking time as a family to share the things you are thankful for! For another great way to Engage The Tongue, practice the I Am Thankful For My Body affirmation I shared in last week's post!

In the that vein, I would like to say how truly grateful I am for each member the Shape Up Church family, and the countless ways you all enrich my life. Your determination and commitment to pursue the abundant, healthy life God has destined for you is a constant encouragement and challenge to me. Praying for God’s richest blessings over you and your family this Thanksgiving and always!