In just a few days, families all over America will be sitting around the dinner table sharing stories of gratitude. However, for many people, the holidays can bring on additional stress and struggle when it comes to their wellness goals.
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The History of Thanksgiving
The first Thanksgiving was in commemoration of the Pilgrims’ harvest after a harsh winter. In 1621, and Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving, which the colonists celebrated as a traditional English harvest feast.
George Washington declared Thanksgiving a holiday in 1789, and in 1941 Congress passed a resolution which decreed that the holiday should fall on the fourth Thursday of November.
How to Stay Well during the Holidays
Tis the season for family, festivity, and food; temptations are everywhere. Our daily routines are disrupted with parties and travel. And to make it even harder, it all goes on for weeks.
“It’s not about what you do once in a while.
It’s about what you do all the time.”
One quick fun fact: the average Thanksgiving meal contains 3,000 calories! (The average women consumes 1,800 – 2,000 calories per day.)
Tips for a Healthful Thanksgiving
- Plan your meals. Wake up on Thanksgiving with the mindset that you’re having breakfast, lunch, and dinner that day, and you’ll be less likely to overindulge at the big meal. Eat breakfast and a snack early in the day. If your festive meal is around 1 pm, treat it like lunch and then plan to eat dinner. This will mentally set you up to leave the main Thanksgiving meal satisfied but not stuffed, so that you’ll be hungry again by dinnertime. The key: Don’t skip meals. In the example above, your dinner may be lighter than usual depending on your hunger level.
- Look at the big picture. In the days before and after, do your best not to descend into a “indulge-guilt-indulge-guilt-oh-what-the-hell” cycle. This can lead to feelings of deprivation and will have an effect on your hunger levels, cravings, metabolism, and even your mood. Instead, focus instead on the present. How are you nourishing your body?
- Keep moving. Make it a family adventure. Here are some activities you can enjoy with the family:
- Take a walk early in the day and then again after dinner.
- Visit a local park or playground. Kids — and adults — can burn off energy on the equipment or take a nice relaxing walk along the trails.
- Go to your local gym or recreation center and get moving together. Just 40 minutes of physical activity releases beneficial endorphins the body requires to maintain good health.
- Have a fun backyard game of flag football, volleyball, badminton, Frisbee, or corn hole toss.
- Participate in a local Turkey Trot or 5K.
- Enjoy a family bike ride through the neighborhood.
- Don’t overthink it. Thanksgiving is not just about the delicious bounty of food. It’s a time to celebrate relationships with family and friends. Enjoy the time with family and friends and don’t consume your thoughts worrying about what is on the buffet.