We've all been there. We do our best to live mindfully day to day, then we're presented with a scrumptious buffet of our favorite Thanksgiving foods and all spiritual practices go out the window! Luckily, there are some simple and practical tools that can help us avoid overindulging. I've put together my personal list here, so we can enjoy this Thanksgiving without regrets!
1. Set an intention.
Our first moments of wakefulness in the morning have a huge impact on the rest of our day. Before you even get out of bed, take a few minutes to sit quietly and observe your body. Set the intention to nourish and respect it throughout the day, and you're already going to be off to a great start.
2. Give thanks.
Isn't that what this whole holiday is about? During your morning meditation or before you start rushing to prepare for the day, take a moment to remember what you are thankful for. Bring to mind the quality time you will spend with family and friends, the warm and cozy home where you will congregate, and the time and energy spent to prepare a delicious meal. Expressing gratitude for these specific things before and during your day will allow you to make decisions from a more mindful place.
I cannot stress this enough! Not only will plenty of water keep our food and alcohol intake down, but it keeps our hands busy. I often find myself reaching for another deviled egg or glass of wine when I'm not occupied, and keeping a glass of water nearby helps. If water bores you, try adding a squeeze of lemon or splash of tonic. Alternate between water and alcoholic beverages, and drink a tall glass before your main meal to suppress hunger and aid in digestion.
4. Chew and eat slowly.
Did you know that digestion starts in your mouth? We need the enzymes in our saliva to start to break down food while we're still chewing, or it will be harder to digest. Savor and chew each bite, and even try putting your fork down (gasp!!) between bites. You will be amazed by how much more satisfied you are with your meal, and how much more you enjoy the flavors and textures that were prepared with so much love!
5. Brush your teeth.
This is one of my favorite tips and one that feels most effective. Let's say you overdo it a little bit at dinnertime and are feeling like you might as well have a few helping of dessert while you're at it. I am a sucker for this all-or-nothing attitude and can promise you it leads down a slippery slope. When I reach this tipping point, I like to brush my teeth and apply a nice lip stain, then head back to the party. It helps take me out of the pattern of eating and drinking, refreshes my mouth and reminds me of my intention. And if you're single, you'll have nice fresh breath for mingling with your cousin's cute friend!
6. Move on.
Last but certainly not least, we must practice compassion with ourselves. The reality is, you will probably indulge more than you do on any other day. They key is to acknowledge when you've gone a bit too far, come back to your intention, and then forgive yourself and move on! A piece of pie is not going to derail your healthy lifestyle unless you allow a side of shame and self-loathing to accompany it.
Wishing you a very happy, joyful and mindful Thanksgiving celebration! Lots of love and gratitude.