I feel compelled to write a little entry on the eve of this Thanksgiving Holiday. Since, this is a nutrition blog and since there will be lots of food in our lives for the next month and a half, I am sharing my thoughts…
Thanksgiving is a second ( after Halloween) of the string of Holidays during which we often “get off the wagon”, “get loose”, “relax and enjoy” and postpone dealing with the results till January 1st. We start off with the stuffed turkey, side dishes stuffed with lots of not-so-healthy calories, pies stuffed with sugar and end up on the couch feeling tired, sleepy and often very uncomfortable. For most of us it will not end here. As the Christmas party invitations flood our mailboxes and cookies, chocolates and pies show up everywhere we look, it’s hard to just say “no”.
I remember thinking “ I just have to get through the Holidays and then I will start eating well again in January.” Somehow January 1st was always the magic date after which everything was going to be all better.
Once I decided that I would postpone dealing with whatever “damage” until January, it gave me permission to eat whatever I wanted and not worry till the New Year.
It wasn’t till one day I took a hard look at my behavior and found a way out of this vicious cycle. I realized that I take better care of my car than I do of my body- which sounds so unreasonable and yet it was true. Here is how:
When you accidentally hit something with your car and damage it you will likely want to get it fixed. So you call and make an appointment with a body shop to get the damage repaired. Once you have an appointment for a specific date and time, do you ever feel that now you have a permission to drive carelessly and bump into anything without much thought? Since you are going to a body shop anyway, why don’t you just “let loose” in the car and drive fast without looking around and paying attention?
Is it because every scrape and dent would cost more money to fix? Yes, that’s a big reason. But mostly it’s because it just doesn’t make sense to intentionally cause more damage just because it will get fixed eventually.
So why is it OK to do this to our bodies? It’s not. So just stop it.
Let this Thanksgiving be the first one when you break the cycle of the “on the wagon” and “off the wagon” phenomenon . Enjoy the celebration with your family, friends and great food. Eat what appeals to you and what truly enjoy. Be grateful for every bite of your food and send some gratitude into the world. Appreciate all who worked hard to get that meal to your table and send thanks to whoever you Higher Power is.
And after all that, when you wake up on Friday, have a tall glass of water, maybe squirt some lemon into it and think of your car. How carefully would you drive it if it got damaged the night before? How much more cautious would you be with it now?
Then project those thoughts onto your body decide to “drive it” cautiously. Get right back into more nutritious foods, and stay there till next little “bump”, after which you go right back into being gentle and careful the very next morning. And on and on and on.
Don’t let another Thanksgiving be the first day of the “off the wagon” downward spiral. You don’t need to wait till January to repair the damage. Not even till Monday. Do it Friday right after Thanksgiving.
I am sending my gratitude to the world and great thanks to all who have taken part in my wonderful nutrition education journey. I am dedicating this blog to all of my wonderful students of my Nutrition Immersion class. After spending 6 great weeks in class learning about Nutrition, we are now implementing the knowledge and we are learning how to cook healthier more nutritious meals.
Our class on making Thanksgiving sides and dessert filled me with so much gratitude and sharing the meal with you was just delicious. So Thank you.
May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I will see you all "on the wagon" on Friday!
Iwona Leger, RN, MSN, Health Coach, owns Love and Peas Health Coaching and runs individual and group coaching sessions. She is very passionate about disease prevention, lifestyle and diet modifications, as well as stress reduction techniques. For more info, visit www.loveandpeashealth.com