Wellness Wednesday: Eating Normally Over The Holidays

No lightened holiday recipes here! Learn how to best nourish your body and soul by eating normally over the holidays. 

Traditional media was never winning any awards for promoting normal eating, but this time of year, the headlines reach new levels of absurdity. Yes, even more so than May's push to maintain a near starvation level calorie deficit simply to wear an item of clothing that can easily look fabulous on any body type, any size.

The whole point of Thanksgiving is being grateful for having food on your table. Or in the case of the pilgrims, LITERALLY NOT STARVING TO DEATH. Yet most holiday magazine articles focus on how to deprive yourself when surrounded by food.

Can you imagine if John Smith (let's pretend he was there) was like, "I'll just have a teeeny sliver of pecan pie. On a diet - gotta look good for that Pocahontas!" Or if Squanto showed up with fat free mashed potatoes? Absurd, right? So why do we it today?

Thanksgiving is about food. It's also about family and tradition and gratitude and football and Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade. But it's mostly about food, and that's okay.

So much emphasis is put on what and how to eat the day of Thanksgiving and it's completely misplaced. Did you know the average weight gain over Thanksgiving and the two weeks after is just one pound? One measly pound. I think everyone other than the most weight obsessed would gladly deal with an extra pound and enjoy their second helping of stuffing without the side of guilt.

The problem with Thanksgiving (and this goes for Christmas, Hanukkah and all the other winter holidays) isn't the holi-DAY. It's the holi-MONTH. We use so much energy and willpower fretting and planning about how to eat on the day itself, then forget to think about how to nourish ourselves best throughout the season.

This Thanksgiving, set aside your goal of not going back for seconds or only having a few bites of dessert and instead think about how you can savor every bite. The Intuitive Eater's Bill of Rights is a good place to start. Mindful eating is another good one to add to the toolbox. But mostly, it's about focusing on what you truly want.

I should note, eating what you want and savoring Thanksgiving does not mean purposefully stuffing yourself with as much food as possible. You will have leftovers the next day, I'm fairly sure. Eating intuitively on Thanksgiving may mean passing on green bean casserole (if you don't like green bean casserole), stopping after three bites of sweet potato casserole (it stops tasting good), just as it may mean helping yourself to a second helping of stuffing (if you love it). You get to decide what feels right for you!

Now, I'd love to hear your favorite Thanksgiving foods! What could you pass on? I'm not big on cranberry sauce and turkey, and green bean casserole is the worst. I LOVE stuffing (!!!) and I make the absolute best mac and cheese on the planet (here's the recipe!