I made the mistakes so you don't have to.

Autumn is my favorite time of year! But it is also the time that the average American gains the most weight: 7 to 10 pounds that they end up KEEPING.

We KNOW this, but we do it anyway. Most people do absolutely nothing to stop it. So why is this?

We tend to use special occasions as an excuse not just to overindulge but to binge.

When it’s your birthday, or birth week, or birth month…cake for breakfast becomes perfectly reasonable (eggs, grains, milk, seems reasonable). Halloween? A dozen mini Reese’s cups? Totally acceptable (they’re mini after all, right?)!

The problem with this time of year is that there isn’t just one special occasion here and there.

Between Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, the numerous parties, work functions, and so on, many days become a special occasion where we apply the “anything goes rule.”

However, if you want to enjoy a guilt-free, waistline-friendly holiday season, then you can use these tips below:

  1. Approach each holiday with an abundance mindset–  The truth is, there is nothing genuinely special about holiday meals aside from the people we share them with. Where we live, the foods we want are at our fingertips 365 days per year. So, in reality, you could have Thanksgiving in part or in whole at any time.

When you approach food with an abundance mindset, it’s a lot easier to practice holiday levels of moderation.

2. Expect and accept over-indulgence – It would be completely unreasonable for me to sit and lecture you on not over-indulging. Especially because I’ll be doing it myself!

I’m ok with the splurge because I know it’s coming! Heck…I plan on it – not to the extreme, but I’m not going to practice my normal rule of eating to 80% full.

The damage stressing about food and the way it affects hormonal balance (and ultimately how much body fat we have) is far worse than having one big meal – so enjoy it!

3. Fill your plate with protein and veggies first, then add tastes of all the other goodies– I’m totally ok with you overdoing these two food groups (see point above).

When you strategically fill your plate with more filling options, you’re obviously going to be better off. Even a plate of broccoli is too much when you’re already in a caloric excess, BUT it’s going to take you a larger volume of food to reach that point when you focus on protein and veggies with smaller tastes of fattier, sugarier (is that a word?) dishes and desserts.

4. Plan to move– whether you go for a turkey trot with your family, get a hard strength workout, or simply take a 20 minute walk, vow to do something to move your body before the big meal! You’ll feel much better all day for it – physically and mentally.

5. Splurge only once– A holiday is only one day…not an entire season, so this bit of advice is two-fold. Plan to splurge on the actual DAY of the holiday (or whichever day you celebrate) and only once during that day.

There is no benefit to having an entire day of splurges: a full breakfast, Thanksgiving meal, then a full plate ( or two) of leftovers that evening. Sure, it tastes good, but you’ll feel completely miserable and be working to undo the damage for weeks to come.

6. **BONUS** Assess and analyze the food offerings before starting to fill your plate. Make sure you know what all your choices are and select those things that you KNOW YOU LOVE. If you’re only “meh” about something, don’t put it on your plate!

7. **BONUS** Be mindful of everything you consume. This doesn’t mean you have to log it all in a food diary, but it does mean you should pay attention to the food while it is in your mouth. If you take a couple bites of something and you realize the flavor is a bit “off” or the texture is too dry, then resolve to not eat any more of it! In other words, you are under no obligation to be a part of the clean plate club! You’re an adult now. Take control of your choices.

So, there you have my top 5 (+2) Thanksgiving (or holiday in general) strategies! I promise if you apply these, you’ll be a lot less likely to end up in the category of people who gain weight over the holidays! Again, I hope you truly have the most amazing, fun-filled, thanks-filled, and love-filled day!

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