Thanksgiving is one of the biggest food days of the year. Of course there is the turkey but then there are also the many sides dishes which, let's be real, can sometimes even steal the show away from the turkey. And, don't forget about the desserts and the pie. Oh how I love a slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving! Over the last year, I have adopted a much more Paleo/Whole30 foods minded diet but I can't bank on a completely Paleo Thanksgiving meal nor do I really want to and that's okay. I'll eat what I want, what tastes good and not feel regret for the food choices made this week. That's what my food freedom has taught me.

So, how you can you enjoy your holiday while at the same time not feeling remorseful for the foods you've enjoyed all day long? It is possible!

Today I am going to share a few tips that I'll be keeping it mind this Thanksgiving to keep me in check while still enjoying my food freedom all day long:

  1. Get in a little Thanksgiving morning workout. There are Turkey Trots offered in cities across the country that you can participate it. But if a full on race isn't your thing, do a quick mile or two walk or jog in your neighborhood or one or two seven minute workouts in your living room. Get your blood flowing in the morning and burn a few calories while you're at it.

  2. Don't limit yourself when filling your plate but keep this in mind once you've sat down at the table and begin eating: Is it worth it? If after a bite or two, that stuffing, casserole or (insert food choice here) just isn't as tasty as you were hoping it would be, don't eat it. Simple as that. No one will be offended and you'll feel better about not eating something you wish you hadn't.

  3. Practice mindful eating. Slow down while you are enjoying your dinner. Take the time to look at the foods on your plate, appreciate them, give thanks and then chew slowly to really allow yourself to taste each bite. How does the food smell? What is the texture? How does it taste, what flavors are you picking up? What memories or experiences do the foods remind you of? Eating slowly allows your stomach and your brain to communicate truly letting yourself feel full as you go rather than all at once at the end of an empty plate.

  4. Eat when you are hungry. If you work on your mindful eating, this will be easier. Don't go back for seconds because you feel you should do so out of need or obligation. If you are still hungry, then eat but if your mind and stomach is telling you that you are full, stop.

  5. Go for the pie. Let's be honest, there are bound to be some amazing desserts at your Thanksgiving dinner. Eat them. Okay, maybe not all of them, but enjoy it. Keep the above it mind, is this worth it? But above all, don't worry about how many jumping jacks you need to do or how many miles you need to run. Eat the pie, perhaps more mindfully than normal, savor each bite and then move on. No regrets.

  6. Don't over drink. I think I just got the most eye rolls here. Sorry not sorry. I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't enjoy a glass of wine, beer or post dinner whiskey with your Thanksgiving socializing and meal (I know I will) but keep things in check. When we have had to much to drink, that's when we lose control over our mindfulness and more erratic eating behaviors ensue. Enjoy the cocktail or two, maybe three if you can handle it but don't let the over-drinking overrule your thoughtful decisions around food on Thanksgiving itself or the next day when you're trying to recover.

  7. Don't let one day ruin your weekend, week, month, and so on. Just because you indulge a little on Thanksgiving doesn't mean that you need to forgo the rest of your health and fitness goals until the new year. Eat what's worth it to you this holiday and then get back on track with your goals. Holidays are awesome, but they can also be tough. Don't let the foods at the table add to your holiday stressors.

  8. Give thanks to those around you. Spend more time talking with your family and friends. Have thoughtful conversations with those you are with on Thanksgiving. Tell others how much you appreciate them and enjoy the time with one another. While its true that Thanksgiving = a lot of good foods, Thanksgiving more so = gratitude. Gratitude for those present and those not, gratitude for the blessings we have and gratitude for the lives we get to lead each and every day.

Lastly and most important, have a great Thanksgiving! Don't over-think it, enjoy it. Keep these tips in your back pocket come Thursday but more than anything, enjoy your company, enjoy your dinner and your enjoy loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving!!