It’s Thanksgiving week and I’m heading to Florida to spend time with my mom and my sister and her family. I’m looking forward to warmer weather and some relaxing. My mom lives in one of those communities where they drive golf carts around and my favorite thing to do when I’m there is to drive around the golf course and look for alligators.
We’ll drive to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll help cook the Thanksgiving dinner only because that was my role for so many years.
And isn’t that what Thanksgiving is for many of us, reverting back to the roles we had when we were growing up.
I think that is why so many of us have mixed emotions for the day when it comes.
On the one hand, you’re excited to spend time with family and friends, see people that you haven’t seen in a while, and eat the food your remember from your childhood.
On the other hand, you realize that the relative that grates on your nerves will be there, there’s already a dispute about who is bringing the dessert, and you have been trying so hard to eat clean, this will be a tough day of temptation.
Aside from starting to drink Bloody Mary's early in the morning and moving on to red wine or beer after noon, I’d like to give you a few simple, healthier strategies to help you get through the day.
Exercise early in the day to get your endorphins going. If you’re in the La Grange area for the day, Run for Pie is a great race. It doesn’t start too early and even if you walk it, you’ll be done in less than an hour.
If you're out of town or can’t find a local event, you can can be like my sister who lives in Texas. Every year she runs her local Turkey Trot and every year she wins!. Is she that good? Well, yes. But her secret is she is the only one who runs it. She started the tradition years ago. The race starts when she’s ready, the distance is deemed based on her schedule and ranges from 5 – 10 miles, and the course is at her discretion. She gets a trophy, it’s the same one every year, and she’s even had shirts made.
Drink Water throughout the day. When you wake up, drink a glass of water and keep that glass re-filled all day. If you’re going to someone’s house for dinner, bring your own water bottle and refill it there. Water will not only keep you hydrated, it will help you digest Thanksgiving dinner.
Did you grow up in a house where you had to finish everything on your plate and you still think that way? It’s okay! A trick I use is to take very small portions of everything and once you’ve finished it go back for seconds. This has saved me many times when I’ve taken something and not liked it. If there’s only a small bit on your plate, you can eat all of it and not worry about offending the cook. And if you’re still hungry, you can go back for seconds.
Drink alcohol sparingly throughout the day. The stress of the day leads many of us to over-indulge not only in food but also alcohol. Comments and topics you’d rather not discuss come up and wine just seems to make it more tolerable. Instead of seething at the table and listening to the comments, can you remove yourself and help with the dishes, go for a walk, or play with the kids? Sometimes getting away for a few minutes will help the situation.
At some point during the day, breathe deeply, look around, and think about how thankful and blessed you are. This is a special time of year and I am truly grateful for all the people I have in my life.