Fall Guest Post Series: How To Survive Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is less than one week away, and I think it’s the perfect time for this great post from my good friend, Courtney. I love Thanksgiving.  It’s one of my favorite holidays. It may have something to do with all of the food. 🙂

In her post, Courtney provides realistic tips on how to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner without regret.

Take it away, Courtney!

Hi everyone! My name is Courtney and I write in a little corner of blogland called Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life.


I was very excited when Rebecca asked if I would be interested in guest posting for her, and even more excited when I knew I’d be writing about one of my favorite holidays: Thanksgiving.

Really, who does not enjoy Thanksgiving?? The sweet, candied sweet potatoes; smooth, creamy, mashed potatoes;

 sweet potatoes mashed potatoes 

source      source

succulent, spiced stuffing, moist and tender turkey (if meat is your thing, of course).


And let’s not forget the pie!

pumpkin pieapple pie 

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It’s a carb-lovers dream. Heck, it’s a foodie’s dream!

But, if you’re anything like me, tackling Thanksgiving was not always easy. During the years of my unhealthy eating habits, I was pretty much the poster child for everything you shouldn’t do:

  • Eat nothing until it was dinner time, feeling so tremendously hungry that I probably could have eaten my left arm.
  • Finally sit down to dinner and load my plate with everything in sight. Bring on those carbs!
  • Scarf down everything on my plate fast enough to then take seconds, without waiting to feel any sense of fullness.
  • Leave the table, plop on the couch. Sit and mope around, stuffed to the brim, feeling incredibly guilty (not to mention uncomfortable) about my enormous binge.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is NO WAY to enjoy Thanksgiving! Not only is it unhealthy, but the sacrifice of starving all morning, followed by guilt and discomfort all evening hardly makes up for the short amount of time spent enjoying the actual meal.

thanksgiving dinner table source

Thanksgiving should not be feared! You can survive this fantastic holiday, and you can enjoy it too. Here are some tips on how to tackle this food-filled day:

1. Be Realistic

The holidays are meant to be enjoyed, so don’t set yourself up for failure right off the bat. If you’ve been following a particular nutrition plan, then certainly keep that in mind. But if you’re too strict on yourself, you’ll just end up feeling deprived. Loosen up a little bit…you can still maintain a balance of healthy and indulgent.

2. Workout That Morning

This is something I’ve done the past few years and I’ve found it makes a HUGE difference.  The gym is usually empty, so I can get in and out rather quickly. Then, by the time I’m ready to sit down for dinner, I feel a lot less guilty when I want to take a second helping of sweet potatoes. Plus, knowing that I worked out hard earlier in the day makes me more conscious of not wanting to “ruin” it by licking the green bean casserole dish clean.

3. Eat Before You Leave

If you’re having Thanksgiving at someone else’s place, don’t go hungry. That’s probably the worst thing you could do! Eat some healthy snacks before you go, so you’re not tempted to dive head-first into the appetizer table.

4. Watch Your Serving Size

What is it about family wanting to load our plates up with as many goodies as they can fit? Although, I suppose if I had been slaving over a meal all day, I’d probably be piling your plate a mile high too.  Kindly let the cook know to take it easy on you.  Use your fist a gauge to measure your serving sizes and try to leave “seconds” for only a couple of your favorite dishes. 

5. Go Easy On The Booze

A nice glass of wine with dinner is definitely delicious, but drink your alcohol in moderation.  Besides being packed with carbs and sugar, the more “buzzed” you get, the more you’ll end up lowering your guard and you’re intentions to eat better will be gone to the wind.

6. Eat Slow

Avoid calorie comatose and let your gut digest some of that food before you go for seconds.  It usually takes about 20 minutes after eating before your stomach tells your brain that you’re full, so don’t rush the meal.  Engage in conversation or help serve the food to distract you from cleaning your plate too fast.

7. Drink Water

Drinking more water (before and during the big meal) will help control your appetite, making you feel fuller faster.

8. Just Say No

Pressure. It’s probably the hardest to deal with at Thanksgiving. Other people can feel threatened or even intimidated by your good eating habits. In an effort to make themselves feel better about their own bad habits, they’ll oftentimes guilt you into eating more. Stand your ground! You can do it!

Happy Eating!! 🙂

Thanks, Courtney

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  1. Very reasonable, very do-able tips. I like the idea of working out beforehand, although another good suggestion would be to go for a looooong post-meal walk with a sibling/friend/aunt/mother/father. We just had a big dinner last night and I felt fantastic walking for an hour after my chicken parm and potatoes had digested, rather than lying comatose on the couch.

    Courtney: You’re beautiful, by the way. 😉

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