Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. For most of my life, I took full advantage of this food-based extravaganza and ate until I was as stuffed to the bird we were gathered around, and then somehow found ways to eat even more. But ever since I started this blog, I’ve employed a new tactic to help reign myself in during the Turkey Day buffet bonanza. For the third year in a row, I’ve photographed everything I’ve eaten during my big Thanksgiving meal, with the knowledge that I would be sharing it right here. Note to everyone: making yourself accountable to a world of strangers that visit your website really works!
By the way, if you’re new here, you should definitely read this introductory post. Then come back and finish this one!
In addition to photographing every morsel, I did a couple other things to help mentally prepare for the feast. When I woke up on Thanksgiving morning, I took a few seconds before getting out of bed and reminded myself of something crucial: Even though the occasion is food-based, what really makes this day special is the opportunity to spend time with family, who I see very infrequently. The turkey and sides are nice, but the company is extraordinary. It’s an important reminder, and I’ll continue to remind myself of it at future holidays and events.
I also made a pledge to myself to not go back for seconds, although I’ve broken that promise in both 2010 and 2011. (You can read my Thanksgiving 2010 post here, and my Thanksgiving 2011 post here.) How did I do this year? Let’s take a look at the evidence, shall we?
All the usual suspects. Clockwise from the top: A roasted root veggie medley, stuffing, a cauliflower/broccoli casserole, turkey, and mashed potatoes with about 2 tablespoons of gravy.
This Thanksgiving, like every Thanksgiving for the past 10 years, was hosted by my sister Sarah and her husband Justin, at their home outside Boulder, Colorado. My folks flew out to be there, as did my other sister, and this year we were joined by a big group of cousins, some of whom I haven’t seen in, I don’t know, 5 or 6 years? Maybe longer? Justin and my cousin Laura split a majority of the cooking responsibilities, and everything was delicious.
I started with a plate of hot food, and then moved on to a plate full of…
…SALAD! Laura made a big ol’ salad, and I loaded up, with some light dressing.
For dessert, there was pumpkin pie and apple pie (which I helped make), and my cousin Marshall made an Oreo cake, which is what caught my eye. So I had a small piece:
And I finished the meal with a pear.
I did it! No seconds! I wish I could tell you it was pure willpower, but something else really helped: not long after dinner was served, an epic game of Risk began in the basement, with 9 of us playing. I spent 3 hours down there, away from the food and the temptation. Oh, and Sarah and I crushed it at Risk, by the way. We were a team, and we conquered the world and WON.
In addition to showing restraint and sticking to a few rules at the dinner table, there was another element of my Thanksgiving Day success: exercise. That morning, I spent over an hour and running around a local park and doing pushups, situps, and the like. Not long after I got back, Sarah and I biked to the park with my niece and nephew, and we spent another hour at the playground, running obstacle courses my 6-year-old nephew designed. Calories were definitely burned.
It felt good on Friday morning waking up without any guilt or regret from the day before. I’ll be employing these tactics again at Christmas. How will you get through the holidays?
Keep it up, David!