American Society For Nutrition

How I beat the Thanksgiving blah’s

How I beat the Thanksgiving blah’s

Excellence in Nutrition Research and Practice
Posted on 11/20/2009 at 08:25:36 PM by Student Blogger
By: Rachel K.

    The holidays are just around the corner…….in my family that translates to “season of food.”  I remember when I was young and naïve - when I would eat until I felt like I was going to explode, drag myself to the couch after dinner, and lie there like a beached whale until I could move again.  This is the story of how I overcame, against seemingly insurmountable odds, the holiday food coma.

    You see, my grandmother is half Italian, and thus she shows her love through food. Consequently, we must receive her love (i.e. eat the food), or run the risk of offending her (ten years ago my brother and I made the mistake of revealing that we weren't big fans of her beef stir-fry, and to this day she still holds it over our heads).   Thanksgiving begins with a “pre-feast” – the cheese balls, the vegetable platters, shrimp cocktail, chips and pretzels, wine, cocktails, etc. – to warm everyone up for the main event.  Next, we move on to the dinner.  My grandmother prepares annually, I kid you not, three meats for Thanksgiving: a 20lb. turkey, a 20lb. ham, and of course, a beef roast.  There are baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, two dozen rolls, stuffing, salad, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, etc. etc. etc.  And don't forget dessert!  You must save room for one of the four pies, and brownies, and ice cream……...

    We're not a big family, mind you.  Okay, maybe we're freakishly tall, but there are only thirteen of us and no one is overweight.  Yet my grandmother makes enough food to easily feed a college football team.  Now, I love my grandmother dearly, but I have had to learn the hard way how to resist the incessant onslaught of food. 

    First, I start the morning off with some exercise.  Last year I convinced a friend to join me on the local 5K turkey trot……it was a brisk (i.e. freezing) sleet filled morning, but we had fun nonetheless.  Second, I fill up on vegetables early.  Since there is always a mixed vegetable platter out before dinner, I stock up on the good stuff before I'm stuffed.  When dinner does arrive, I try to choose only one meat and one starch (okay, I go for two starches - but that's because stuffing only comes once a year :).  For example, I'll forgo the baked potatoes (not a big fan), but stock up on the mashed potatoes instead.  As for dessert, I give myself a good two hours after dinner before I even think about it (let's face it, the dessert's not going anywhere).  I am also a firm believer in the button test-of-fullness.  If I reach a point where I feel even the slightest urge to unbutton my pants, I stop eating altogether.  Finally, the most important weapon against overindulging is a simple “no.” My grandmother will ask me five times if I want more stuffing, but I hold my ground and just say no.  

Happy Thanksgiving!