With Thanksgiving and the holiday season right around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about the holiday and the fact that there are a few issues surrounding it. Don’t get me wrong; it is one of my absolute favorite holidays. There is however, a strong disparity in our culture between what Thanksgiving should be and what it is—and this disparity comes in a couple different forms.
First of all, in theory Thanksgiving is a holiday to GIVE THANKS. Personally, I don’t think we should have one specific day a year set aside to give thanks, and that we should be doing it every day, but that is beside the point. The point is, what Thanksgiving is, is a time to spend with loved ones expressing gratitude for the blessings we have. What it actually has become is a time for us to spend with loved ones (ok, good), but also gorge ourselves in copious amounts of food, followed by feeling guilty for what and the amount that we ate.
Second, for those of us who are trying to go after our fitness goals whether that is losing weight, gaining muscle, prepping for some sort of physical competition, whatever it is, the holidays can become a stressor. The idea of being around “tempting”, “guilty”, “bad” foods, can cause stress that we’ll overindulge and lose track of our goals. And that stress can ultimately suck all of the joy out of what is meant to be a joyful time of year.
I find it interesting (and rather ironic) that we tend to overindulge on the holiday that is supposed to be centered around expressing gratitude. But here’s the thing. You don’t HAVE to overindulge. Ever. The key to beating this is a matter of focusing your mindset.
Going into Thanksgiving, whether you have strict fitness goals or not, focus on ENJOYING the holiday. Staying present and mindful of what is going on will allow you to make the most of the time spent with loved ones, as well as the food you’ll eat. The overindulgence of food is usually from mindlessly eating, so stay conscious of your body, and eat until you’re full. Enjoy and savor every bite, and then be done. Also, focus on the people you’re with and the conversation to be had. Quality time with loved ones is much more important in the long run than what you’re eating for one meal.
Get rid of the guilt and punishment mindset. If you happen to eat more than you think you should, that’s OK! You’re still on track, and you’ll still reach your fitness goals. Speaking from experience, one meal will NOT ruin your life. You got this!
Most importantly however, expressing gratitude is a crucial part of keeping yourself in check. It is easy to feel guilty for this and that, to feel like you’re not “fit” enough, or attractive enough, or even to just get caught up in the day-to-day irritations that inevitably happen to everyone. Taking the time to think about all the things that you’re grateful for in life will not only help keep you from drowning in a sea of sorrows, but it will surprise you how many small things we take for granted daily that are worth being grateful for.