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How to deal with Thanksgiving feast overload

In my family, we celebrate Thanksgiving the Italian way. During an Italian Thanksgiving feast, you eat every 2 hours. The menu goes something like this in our house:

  • 11am - Hors d'ouevres and cocktails
  • 1pm - Antipasta and refreshed cocktails or wine
  • 3pm - Pasta dish (with my uncle's homemade Italian meat sauce - it's to die for!.) VINOOOOOO.
  • 5pm - Turkey dinner with all the fixins: yams, peas, gravy, stuffing, potato pie... and more wine please
  • 6pm - nap on the couch (with 2 kids, I'll have to forgo this tradition for now)
  • 7pm - Dessert - including but not limited to: pumpkin pie, ricotta cookies, Oreo pie (yes, it's a real thing!), coffee with those delicious, novelty creamers I never buy.

We've had the same menu for almost 15 years and after the first few Thanksgvings I learned two important lessons: pace yourself, and wear stretchy pants.

This year, though, is different. Since having my son 11 months ago, I've reached a health and weight milestone. I'm back at my pre-baby weight, the weight I was when I was a newlywed, a magical and nostalgic number. My diastsis recti is finally coming back together and I have some pretty toned calves. It's taken a lot of work for me to get here and my new diet has made the biggest difference, second only to Stroller Strides 3 times a week. I'm gluten-free, dairy-free, and try to stay from sugar whenever possible. I'm pretty much going to starve at this Thanksgiving.

So, how on earth am I going to enjoy this delicious holiday? I don't have it all figured out yet, and there's always the fact that reality may bring a totally different array of temptations, but for now, I'm mentally and physically preparing myself in the following ways:

1. Take a step back and think about what this day is really about: gratitude. I have so much in my life to be thankful for: a sweet husband, delicious kids, a robust and loving support system...thinking about it makes my heart full! This year, I will fill my Thanksgiving cup with awareness of my blessings instead of empty calories and feel that fullness in my heart, where it matters most. If I frame it this way then food indulgence becomes less important and not so urgent.

2. Cut everything in half. There will be food, and lots of it. That means I have plenty of opportunities to make good eating choices. Load your plate with the good, lean stuff, like turkey and the rest with halves of the everything else. You won't starve or deny yourself these once-a-year foods. Same thing goes for drinks. And if you're relatives are extra crazy, be sure to take a big, deep breath with that drink.

3. Run after two toddlers - Built-in cardio! I can just feel those raviolis sliding right off of my love handles.

4. Play football - I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing but it will get me running and sweating...that means guilt-free (half) pie slice later on!

5. Do the Butterball Burn! Kick off the week with an awesome Stroller Strides workout and feel energized to make good decisions throughout the week. Bring two cans of food to use as weights and then donate them for the local food drive. Do good and feel good. That's what Thanksgiving is all about :)

Remember, you have control over what goes in your body and do not have to eat to the point of pain. This holiday is about so much more than sugar and carbs. It's about love, happiness, and awareness of each blessing in your life. As long as you remember that, you'll be just fine. Then, it's on to Christmas..oy vey!

Do you have any tricks, tips, or mantras that will get you through a moderate Thanksgiving feast? Please share on Our Village for other moms to try!

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