THANKSGIVING IS TWO WEEKS AWAY! My mouth is already watering when I think about turkey… stuffing… gravy… cranberries… pie… And pictures like this, featuring my Thanksgiving plate from last year, are no help whatsoever:
Thanksgiving is a fantastic holiday for gathering with family and friends, sharing good times, and honoring all the things we’re grateful for. It also can be an engraved invitation to gorge yourself silly, pass out into a food coma, and, if you’re trying to lose weight, undo weeks of hard work.
But it doesn’t have to be. I have a simple pledge that I use to negotiate Thanksgiving Day, and guess what? IT WORKS! It allows me to eat whatever I want, without feeling guilty, and without ever having to go change into a pair of fat pants.
This is the sixth year (!) that I’ve taken the pledge, so when I say it works, I’m speaking from experience! And the evidence is right here on this blog. I first took the pledge in 2010, and I’ve taken it every year since (2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014).
Here’s how it works: You pledge to follow four rules on Thanksgiving Day. That’s it. Simple pimple. Here are the rules, with my notes in italics:
Rule #1: I will exercise on Thanksgiving Day. (Any activity will do, whether it’s going for a walk, doing an exercise DVD, playing football with the family, etc.)
Rule #2: I will photograph everything I eat during Thanksgiving dinner. (I’ll share my photos on this blog, but I encourage everyone to do this, whether you blog or not. It’s about accountability. Taking a photo creates a record of your choices. You can’t ignore, deny, or forget about the food you’ve eaten when there’s a record, nor can you sneak food, because you gotta take that photo!)
Rule #3: I will not get seconds. I will indulge in a reasonable portion of anything I want, and I will enjoy it, but I will not go back for more. This includes dessert.
Rule #4: I will not graze or pick at food as it is prepared, emerges from the oven, or gets transferred to serving platters or leftover containers. I must place all food that I intend to eat on a plate, and eat it at the table.
Here are some additional tips, because some of these rules aren’t easy.
- Get your exercise over with in the morning. Go for a walk or a bike ride first thing. Schedule it into your day if you have to. It will be harder to do once family and friends arrive, or you arrive somewhere else, and you won’t want to do it after dinner, that’s for sure!
- Rule #4 can be the hardest, because Thanksgiving dinner takes hours and hours to prepare. So chew gum if you have to, or pop a breath mint. Keep a bag of baby carrots nearby, so if you’re feeling peckish, you can munch on something healthy.
- If you break a rule, don’t sweat it – just get back on track. I’ve broken a rule or two in minor ways, and I don’t beat myself up. The main idea is that this pledge provides a strategy, and I need that, because otherwise, it can be a free-for-all for my mouth and my fork, and I want to enjoy the holiday – and the long weekend that follows – without regret.
I hope you take the pledge – and drop a line in the comments section if you modify it to suit your situation… your modification may help others!
Keep it up, Reader…
Keep it up, David!