So far this week my office has been treated to Halloween candy, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies (my fault), pecan pie, donuts, muffins, pastries, and a cookie cake. True life? I’ve had a sample of a number of those things. I can’t pass up an apple cider donut and pecan pie might be my very favorite Thanksgiving dessert.
I’m also aiming to drop just a few pounds to compete in the next weight class down in a few months.
But, ‘tis the season for all.the.food.
Which leads to this question: How do you approach the dinner table on Thanksgiving? And those holiday parties? Christmas dinner? What do you eat when you’ve got #goals?
Anything you damn well please.
I’ve seen so many articles floating around this week and last about how to manage your calorie intake, how to stick to your macros, how to have a low carb Thanksgiving. Have you looked at recipes for a keto Thanksgiving? I love cauliflower, but I am not eating cauliflower stuffing until my doctor gives me a medical reason as to why I need to trade the real stuff for a cruciferous option.
Thanksgiving is one day a year. So is Christmas. So are those Christmas parties. You probably have traditions, dishes that you look forward to every year. My cousin would eat the entire casserole dish of our granny’s corn pudding, while you’ll find me at the cheese ball on her sideboard on Christmas Eve. The cheese ball happens to be next to the rum punch, but that’s just a happy coincidence…
If you think back on past Thanksgivings, I bet you have no idea how many calories you ate, or how far over your carb macro you went. I bet you do remember the inappropriate joke your uncle told at the dinner table, the kids fighting over the wishbone, and or the outrage over the score of a football game. You might even remember braving the Thanksgiving shopping crowds, or else pulling out all the Christmas decor as soon as the dinner dishes were cleared away.
The holidays are a time for family and friends. They aren’t a time for going all “Rain Man” while you sit at the table and try to mentally calculate how many macros are in a bowl of green beans (that have hopefully been cooked with a ham hock thrown over in the pot). And no one likes the relative who brings out their measuring cups and food scale while loading up plates – you’re holding up progress.
I say all of this, and yet I have a goal of leaning out.
This is where my advice to eat whatever you’d like starts to make sense. Eat whatever you want – and then eat sensibly on “normal” days.
From Thanksgiving through the New Year, give yourself grace. Eat your grandma’s macaroni and cheese. Add that gravy to your mashed potatoes (and turkey, if you’re me). Cut your slice a pie a little bigger than you think you should, and top it with whipped cream.
But on the days that are “normal,” go back to your regular diet, whatever that looks like for you. I’ll eat whatever I want on Thanksgiving – and because I’ll be home in Virginia, I’ll probably have a couple other favorite indulgences this weekend – but when I’m back in Chapel Hill on Saturday afternoon, my grocery haul will be my usual proteins and veggies to set myself up for a week of healthy eating.
The holidays only come once a year. They can be stressful enough with all the traveling, cooking, hosting, shopping, etc. Don’t add “must stick to my meal plan” to that list, unless your meal plan is doctor-prescribed.
Enjoy your holiday meals. Enjoy your family and friends. Make memories.
The vegetables will be there the next day. Just – maybe pass on the romaine.