my holiday eating plan

I posted this journal entry LAST Thanksgiving.  The message remains relevant, except I’ve taken it one step further this year as my children are even more interested in the actions/mindset of Travis and I as parents.  I’m constantly thinking, “How will MY behavior effect my children and their own body image?”  I may never know the answer, but I want to do everything I can to set an example of BALANCE.

Anyway, I KNOW that someone out there needs to hear the message, so enjoy! 

And Happy Thanksgiving!!!


“Fill up your plate with half vegetables, a quarter lean protein and a quarter of the good stuff.”

“Make sure you snack on healthy foods during the day so you don’t overeat during the main event.”

“Stand more than an arm’s length away from munchies, like a bowl of nuts or chips, while you chat so you’re not tempted to raise your hand to your mouth every few seconds.”

“Wear the tightest clothes you have. You’ll notice you’re overeating and be able to stop yourself.”

“Burn off all the calories you’ll eat during dinner by exercising like crazy early in the week/day.”

“Know your calories!!! Choose pumpkin pie over pecan. Even better, skip dessert altogether. Dressing is THE DEVIL! Mashed potatoes- a demonic indulgence. Choose low glycemic foods over high glycemic foods.”

“Choose a BLUE-colored plate or better yet, bring your own blue plate to dinner. The plate that helps you to eat the least amount is one that is blue, that color has the least appealing blend with food.”

“Bring your own healthy salad so that you’ll have something to eat. These people don’t understand you and this healthy living path you’ve chosen.”


You’ve heard these before. I know you have because they’re everywhere we look – magazines, Dr. Oz, Oprah, even healthy living blogs. Tips on staying healthy during holiday meals.

We thrive off these “RULES”. We NEED them or we’ll go rampant like rabid raccoons all over that Thanksgiving/Christmas meal, standing over the table, elbows akimbo, scarfing down carbs and spoonfuls of gravy. In fact, who needs a spoon!?!? We raccoons will just drink it straight from the gravy boat.

Oh the sheer horror of losing control!! It’s more than most can bear! And that’s why we form PLANS. A strategy to reign us in. Because heaven forbid we actually indulge once and then carry on with our healthy living journey.

To hell with that.

I’ve lived 30 years with a plan and honestly, I’m so tired. Maybe it’s just that I now have my APPETITE back, but it seems illogical to me to set special rules for eating. I’m hungry. And the food at holiday meals is some of the best of the year. Why wouldn’t you want to partake in it?!?

Because most of us don’t trust ourselves.  Or our bodies.


From 1998-2004 or so, I would “fake eat” at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’d follow all of those rules I listed above and make up some of my own. Pushing food around on my plate to make it seem like I ate. Spitting food out into napkins, hoping no one would notice. And if I’m being perfectly honest, a couple of those dark years, I’m sure I went upstairs and purged that meal. The meal my mama worked so hard to cook.


Dude. What the heck!

It’s unacceptable behavior. And it directly opposes the very sentiment behind Thanksgiving. We’re supposed to be THANKFUL for this food that we’ve been blessed with. Thankful for the hands that prepared the meal. Thankful that we can break bread together.

When food rules and game plans are introduced, a little bit of that thankfulness is pushed to the back and a feeling of control and what I would describe as obsession takes first place.


My Holiday Eating Strategy:

I don’t have one.

Well I guess I kinda do. I’m going to fill up my plate with a little bit of every thing that looks good to me. I’m going to eat my food and talk to my family and enjoy this time that I’m blessed with. And if I want seconds, I’ll go back for them. Not partaking in my sissy’s homemade pumpkin pie would be a tragedy. After the meal is over, I’ll continue on with my healthy life.

No starvation. No binge eating. Just normal eating of some pretty amazing food.

Yep. I like this plan. It’s one I want my children to mimic in the future.


Will you join me??

QUESTION: I know I missed some of those “food rules.” What are some of the other ones? What’s your favorite dish at Thanksgiving dinner?


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  1. Thank you for writing such a beautiful post. I have a similar story to you and have decided to take the same attitude towards holiday eating. Although I know it is the healthy option that will ultimately make me the happiest, I still struggle with some guilt after feeling as though I have ‘indulged’ too much. This was wonderful to see you put your position so eloquently on your blog though – very helpful for me. Thank you!

  2. Oh, and my 9 year old son and I ran a Turkey Trot that morning : ) HIs 2nd and he ran it in 24.55 and I was behind at 29 minutes! Lol

  3. I couldn’t even get through that list of rules it was so exhausting and scripted!! I so enjoyed my day : )

  4. When did being healthy become a job, something to be worked at, instead of a way to live? When did we stop listening to our bodies, seeing food as only fuel (and a bonus to the holiday rather than the main event), and start seeing it as something to be feared, hated, or obsessed over? It just makes me sad. Today isn’t a “chest day”. It’s a Thursday, as far as food is concerned. Sure, enjoy the food, but focus on the company. The gifts around you. The blessings. Gosh, why do we make things so much harder than they have to be? (And I’m not excluding myself…ED is a lifelong struggle, as I know you know!)

    Anyway, thank YOU for this message. It needed to be said and it needs to be taken to heart! I’m thankful for YOU!! And prayers for many MANY blessings in the year to come. Torch, of course, being the big one ;)

  5. I remember this from last year, and again, I have to say AMEN. One of the greatest things we have to be thankful for is freedom…and that includes freedom from unhealthy rules and restrictions like this, and the freedom TO enjoy life (gravy and all).
    Have a blessed Thanksgiving, friend! Praying you feel well and can enjoy all the food! <3

  6. EXACTLY! It’s only once. If you want to eat something, eat it (you don’t have to make yourself sick off of it to have tasted it). And you can move around, walk the dogs like normal (no “oh, I just FELT like going 5 miles with Fido today…”) or DON’T and just sit there and enjoy the darn day. Don’t we need a vacation? Don’t we need to relax and enjoy this lovely family that has magically all come together? Appreciate it!

  7. I love this! Life is short…don’t skip eating your favorite stuff at the holidays! I think the “food rules” are extremely dangerous, especially the tight clothes one. Nothing makes me feel “fatter” than wearing really tight clothes when I know I’ll be eating, and all it does is make me feel disgusting when I DO eat something.

    I’ll be eating all the stuffed mushrooms I want, because my mom only makes them at Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving! :)