6 Tips to Avoid Overeating and Binge Eating at Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving dinner is for Overeaters like what New Years Eve is for Alcoholics. It's the day when everyone overindulges and bingeing is viewed as normal. You don't have to binge eat this holiday season, and here are 6 tips to help you prepare for a sane and enjoyable day.

  1. Start the day with a gratitude list. There is no better day than Thanksgiving to reflect on what you are truly thankful for. Perhaps you might write more long form in a journal. Meditate for a few minutes and remember all that you have to be grateful for. Try to keep this top of mind throughout the day.
  2. Eat a satisfying breakfast. Often times we think we should restrict our food intake in the days or meals leading up to Thanksgiving dinner in an attempt to “compensate” for the large meal to come, but this can lead to overeating and binge eating.
  3. Set loving boundaries or guidelines for your meal. For example, commit to eating one plate of food and no more. Pile it as high as you like with whatever you want. Setting a clear line around the amount can stop the urge to keep going back for more beyond the point of full ness. Be careful of trying to be too restrictive with certain types of foods as this can backfire.
  4. Eat slowly and mindfully. Chew your food thoroughly and make an effort to really savor every bite. Take a moment to consider how you are feeling going into the meal and check in with yourself throughout the meal. Are you hungry? Are you satisfied?
  5. Don't overexercise in anticipation of the larger than normal meal. Exercise is known to increase hunger so it will likely result in you eating more calories than you would have otherwise. Stick to your regular routine and be kind to your body.
  6. Plan how you will spend your time in the evening. The feeling of being overly full can trigger a binge for many people and there will likely be an abundance of food remaining. Think of what you might do to occupy yourself instead.Try getting out of the house for a walk or going to a movie. If you enjoy shopping, some stores even open early for Black Friday sales.

What is Self Care Project? #selfcareproject

The days between Halloween and New Years tend to be a danger zone for those of us who struggle with food. It's the time of year when tensions rise and even the most normal of eaters let their healthy habits slip.

I have been thinking about my own intentions and asking myself why I am able to easily maintain some habits while struggling with others. Research shows that people who are able to create healthy habits don’t have more discipline, they have more self-compassion. This means that the problem is not a lack of motivation, but a counterproductive mindset that undermines our efforts.

Yikes. I spent most of my life beating myself up, depriving myself, and hating my body. I know I am not alone in this. We live in a culture that emphasizes outward appearances over all else and rewards self-sacrifice. How then do we cultivate a mindset that leads us to self-compassion? The answer is self-care.

What is Self-Care?

We've all heard the term self-care, but what does it really mean and how can we put it into practice? At its core, self-care is any action you take to care for your health – be it physical, emotional, or spiritual. Unfortuantely, consistently practicing self-care is challenge for most of us, especially when food and body issues are involved.

As you might imagine, self-care encompasses a broad range of habits and behaviors. From the foods we eat to the ways we manage stress, we make hundreds of tiny decisions every day that affect our wellbeing. Most of us want to be healthier, but actually putting these habits into practice can feel overwhelming and complicated.

How to Practice Self-Care

First, we have to figure out which self-care habits to work on. Each of us has unique self-care challenges so it's important to evaluate which habits we have mastered and where we want to fill the gaps.

If you struggle with your your weight, addressing practical habits around the food you eat and the way you move your body are a great place to start. If you have a tendency toward depression, focusing on regular grooming and social connection might be most beneficial.

Create a Self-Care Action Plan

Once you have chosen a few self-care activities to adopt into your daily routine, think about how and when you will incorporate these actions into your day. Write them down and commit to them. It may be helpful to set aside a specific time each day or schedule them in your calendar.

Accountability and Connection

Having support and accountability is a critical component in successful behavior change. As I was examining my own goals and creating a self-care action plan, I wanted to connect with more people who are also working toward the best version of themselves. I've started tagging my photos that show self-care practices using #SelfCareProject and I would love for you to do the same. I will be following that hashtag to keep up with everyone on instagram and I even have some fun prizes to award every week through the end of the year.

My goal is for this to be an ongoing series of blog posts highlighting different areas of self-care in more depth with strategies and examples. Is this something you would like to see? Please leave a comment and let me know if you have any specific questions or topics you would like me to write about.

 

Matt Davis – Coastal – Cataract

This is one of my favorite hikes at Mount Tamalpais. Whenever I have the time to escape the city for a few hours, this loop is my first choice. There are spectacular views at every turn as the trail meanders through dense forest, flowering hillsides, and a lush fern grove along a creek. Hiking this trail takes about three hours and covers 6.6 miles with about 900′ elevation change.

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Fitbit and Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

Let's talk about fitness habits! In 2012, I started wearing a fitbit to track my acitivy. I think y'all know I am a huge fan of Fitbit. That tiny little device has had a huge impact on my recovery from obesity and disordered behavior around food and body. The simple concept of 10,000 steps per day gives me a marker of what is considered “active” and has allowed me to set a healthy baseline of activity for me.

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