Our Food Baby Avoidance Strategy This Thanksgiving

The holidays are about enjoyment, but sometimes we enjoy a little too much (and by sometimes, we mean every freaking year) which can lead to less than a vibrant sense of well-being. This year, we’re taking tips from functional medicine doctor Mark Hyman about overeating, and how to successfully avoid it without being overly restrictive. From pre-hydrating to eating mindfully (and how) we’ll be holding onto these pro tips straight through the season…

With all the parties and family gatherings, it’s inevitable that temptations will arise this time of year. The holidays won’t bring diet disaster if you are equipped with the right tools and have a plan in place. The power is in your hands. Your best bet to overcome them is to prepare yourself for these bumps in the road. Here are 10 tips to help you avoid the holiday pitfalls:

Don’t skip meals: Begin your day as any other day on the plan; do not skip meals to save calories or carbohydrates.

Pre-snack: Eat a protein-packed snack an hour before your holiday meal.

Pre-plan: Don’t think of the holidays as an excuse to gorge on unhealthy food. Plan in advance to make sure there are options available that you can enjoy.

Make smart choices: Scan the spread before putting anything on your plate. Choose wisely!

Set intentions: Set an intention for how you would like to feel after the meal and hold yourself accountable by sharing with a close friend or family member. Or write it in your journal.

Start healthy: Start the meal with a soup, fresh vegetables, or a salad, and avoid any refined flour pastries or sweet appetizers to prevent the cycle of craving.

Pre-Hydrate: Drink two glasses of water with lemon before the meal.

Plan Apres-meal activity: Plan an activity to look forward to after the meal —a group walk, visiting with other friends or family, a group game, or playing with younger family members. Or try offering to clean up and help your host!

Eat Mindfully: Try these tips to eat your meal mindfully:

+ Take five deep breaths before your meal.
+ Sit next to someone you genuinely find interesting and engage in pleasant conversation.
+ Appreciate the colors and smells of your food.
+ Chew thoroughly and slowly.
+ Put your fork down between bites.
+ Breathe in through your nose while you eat.
+ Express gratitude with others before the meal.
+ Have a trusted friend or family help hold you accountable for your goals.
+ Halfway through the meal, put fork down and pause. Take three deep breaths and assess your hunger on a scale of 1-10. Ask yourself how much more you need to eat in order to walk away feeling energized and comfortable. Hint: Usually, this is around “6” or “7.”
+ Close your meal by saying something out loud about how delicious it was and how satisfied you are. Hearing yourself say this can help signal to you and others that you are finished.

Enjoy: Most importantly, take time to enjoy healthy, wholesome meals with your friends and family and remember that you can heal your body and mind with each forkful of delicious food.

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