For more years than I care to remember I read articles and Googled recipes and poured through diet blogs in an effort to help me minimize the diet damage that my Thanksgiving fare would wreak on my waistline. And year after year I left my “skinnified” holiday meal feeling like so much was missing.
I felt full and yet so unsatisfied.
That’s because food-centric holiday celebrations are all intertwined with our memories and our expectations, and when the reality falls short of what we believe it SHOULD be, we feel let down and unsatisfied. And, chances are, we will continue to try to fill the subconscious void by eating even more than we would if we had prepared what we actually wanted in the first place.
Isn’t that ridiculous?
But think about your family’s traditional holiday table… I’m willing to bet that there are certain foods that you associate with your Thanksgiving memories, right? I mean, beyond the turkey. Maybe it’s your grandmother’s stuffing recipe… or your aunt’s pecan pie… or your sister’s mashed potatoes… Without those foods Thanksgiving just isn’t the same. I remember my sister’s first year in California and her calling home on Thanksgiving crying because the meal was just so foreign to her – even though turkey, stuffing, bread, vegetables, and pie were served. Because her reality conflicted with her memories.
So, here’s my advice when it comes to Thanksgiving. Eat the food! Life is too darned short to eat mashed potatoes made with skim milk or pie with fat-free whipped cream or whatever other “skinny” version of traditional holiday treats you may be tempted to try. Just eat the food, enjoy your family and move on.
Get up on Friday morning and jump back on whatever diet horse you choose to ride, but for the love of all that is good and holy, enjoy your holiday! I promise, it won’t make any difference in the long run – and it might just help!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!