The first time my family celebrated Thanksgiving was back in 2008, I had decided I wanted to have a big dinner, and cook some authentic Thanksgiving dishes. We invited my parents and some friends and as usual we had way too much food.
Fun back then meant eating and drinking, a lot.
It was all about over consuming and it was really no surprise that I struggled with my weight. Once we started celebrating Thanksgiving it was a great excuse for me to start one long binge right through until January 1st, when I’d gained at least ten pounds and decided I’d need a “fresh start”.
As I started to change my behaviours, habits and health I used exercise as a way to manipulate my calorie intake. It was Thanksgiving 2012 and I was getting really REALLY close to my goal weight and at this point I had learnt to love exercise. I considered movement to be a priority, but not because I was able to move, but because I wanted to burn more calories, and lose more pounds.
I certainly didn’t over consume food at that Thanksgiving, but I had been so strict with my diet for nine months that just the thought of eating roast potatoes and stuffing was enough to make me want to run another three miles.
The day after Thanksgiving I negotiated with myself to go to the gym, I stepped on the treadmill and started running.
I ran five miles.
I just kept on running, because running had become easy, it didn’t hurt anymore and I felt like it represented my new lifestyle, I was always trying to burn more calories.
I can now see that I went from over eating to over exercising. Sure, my health improved, I lost weight, I was happier – but my over consumption just transferred to something else. What I hadn’t learnt was how to moderate my food intake, I hadn’t learnt how to really live a lifestyle that didn’t feel like a lot of work. It didn’t suck, but it required a lot of my time and effort.
You really can eat your favourite foods and still lose fat.
This was something I didn’t think was possible. The idea of moderation, at any time of year, just seemed totally unattainable. I was always the “all or nothing”girl, binging or starving, and steadily gaining weight.
If anyone tried to tell me “it’s about everything in moderation” I’d roll my eyes, scoff, think “yeah right, you’re not in my head…stomach or body”.
Whilst they might not have been in my head or body, they weren’t wrong. They understood something which took me another couple of years to really grasp:
If you choose to eat something indulgent/decadent/unhealthy, the next choice is even more important.
I would either choose to continue over consuming with the mindset that “I’ll start later…” or I’d feel guilty, shameful and frustrated that I’d given into my cravings, that I had no willpower. Then the negative thoughts would start.
Instead of seeing this as just ONE choice, and choosing something different at the next meal, I’d cling to the idea that I’m a failure.
It doesn’t have to be this way, during the holidays or any other day of the year. You are never so far gone that you cannot make the next choice healthier, it’s about balance, moderation and doing what feels the best for you.
If you create a healthy base, and create consistency by doing to just ONE thing you will discover that you can always get back to business, without having to start a new diet.
With my clients we create Daily Health Commitments, or DHC’s, which are their habits, their DHC’s create the very foundation of their health.
Of course there are a few non negotiable’s which I lay out from the beginning:
- Fibre + Protein + Water
These are what I consider to be the “big rocks”, they are super important for fat loss and self awareness. I then ask them to create 3 – 5 DHC’s which work for their lifestyle and preferences. It’s important to understand these are not goals, they are the basics of which you will come back to on Black Friday, Boxing Day and every day in between.
There is a lot of focus on what we eat between Halloween and New Years, but it’s important to think about the time between New Years and Halloween too.