Gearing up for the Thanksgiving food battle has been a hot topic this month. For weeks I’ve been busy rounding up expert advice on the best ways to stick with our nutrition plans despite all the succulent temptations that await.
And then, today, it hit me: you don’t care.
Not only are you ignoring it, but you’re probably annoyed by it. Why can’t all these fitness people just let you enjoy the one day a year when you’re SUPPOSED to stuff yourself into a coma??
All these little morsels of advice — follow the 80/20 rule, take a bite instead of a slice, drink water before your meal — don’t stand a chance against the mouthwatering deluge to come.
So instead, I’d like to offer a less traditional meditation for your Thanksgiving feast, from the pages of Geneen Roth’s book Women Food and God.
Stop punishing yourself.
“You can’t punish the badness out of you,” Roth says. Don’t believe it? True, it seems counterintuitive — don’t we need to identify the bad behavior in order to correct it? But we use this approach daily, and it never occurs to us that if it didn’t work yesterday, it isn’t going to work today. (Unless crankiness, depression, self-deprecation and rebellious overeating is “working.”)
But here’s what does always seem to work: feeling good about ourselves, and riding the positive wave to all the good choices that follow. Roth explains that being nice to ourselves at the table is the only way to create a healthy eating relationship.
Besides, a holiday isn’t the time for downers. And, really, there are only a few times that food should be at the forefront of your thoughts: when you’re thinking about how much you appreciate its preparation, how fortunate you are to share a generous meal with your loved ones, and how unbelievably delicious grandma’s pumpkin pie is.
If you have no chance of changing your eating behavior with negativity, you might as well a) feast smartly and be proud, or b) eat with a little abandon, forgive yourself and move on.
You can always start Black Friday with a healthy breakfast and burn a few extra calories racing to Wal-Mart to muscle ten contenders out of the way for the last Wi-Fi Blu-ray player on the shelf.
Happy Thanksgiving. 🙂