We’ve been dreaming of turkey + gearing up for pumpkin pie! That’s right, Thanksgiving is nearly here and we’re real excited! This holiday is a time of gratitude, warm hugs, comforting kitchen aromas, and filling your bellies with all the delicious foods in your path. But alongside that Thanksgiving coma, we know pervasive feelings of anxiety, shame, or self-loathing can arise for anyone who’s ever experienced negative body image, forms of disordered eating, or even well-intentioned relatives who are prone to shaming/policing food intake. Today we’re here to take the stress out of Thanksgiving once again and to empower ourselves to embrace our bodies AND eat a satisfying Thanksgiving meal. Here are our tips for maintaining a healthy sense of body positivity during the anticipated turkey day.
MAINTAIN BODY MOVEMENT
Elle Woods said it best, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!” (“and happy people just don’t kill their husbands.”) Exercising + getting your body moving has countless health benefits on your body and mind, no matter what time of the year. As we come into the holidays, maintain your regular exercise routines or start making a point to get your body moving regularly. You do NOT need to exercise to avoid guilt about eating at Thanksgiving – instead, we recommend doing something you enjoy to feel mentally and physically healthy.
WEAR CONFIDENT CLOTHES
Confidence comes in many styles. From sweats to a cute lounge set or a slim crop-top to leggings or jeans - it doesn’t matter what you wear. What matters is how you feel about yourself in the context of the holidays. When your outfit makes you feel more confident about your body, this helps eliminate feelings of guilt or anxiety when eating at Thanksgiving.
GRATITUDE FOR YOUR BODY
Before Thanksgiving graces us with its presence, make a list of why you’re grateful for your body. It may sound time consuming but every additional item on your list is worthwhile. The more you tell your brain to see your body as a positive symbol of health, the less concerned you’ll be about specific parts of your body image. Creating this list, and going through the motions of writing it down, will help you approach every situation with more confidence and acceptance. We may not love every aspect of our bodies, but we should always appreciate what our bodies can do for us.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Like keeping your body moving + exercising, the health benefits of drinking water are nearly endless. Water boosts skin health/beauty, regulates body temperature, maintains healthy blood pressure, and maximizes your energy levels. And as an added bonus, drinking plenty of water during Thanksgiving will help to avoid bloating or feelings of heaviness that can happen with eating a big meal.
FOCUS ON BUILDING MEMORIES
Thanksgiving is a people-centered celebration. That means it’s the perfect time to build some memories with your loved ones. The more time you spend getting to know your family members or friends and conversing with them, the less self-conscious you’ll be about the food you’re eating. Take the time to mindfully enjoy the company of your loved ones. It’s not every day when everyone is gathered like they are in November. This will train your brain to associate Thanksgiving with feelings of joy and connection, rather than anxiety or self-consciousness.
EAT WHAT’S BEST FOR YOUR BODY
Good news: you know your body better than anyone and YOU decide the course of your Thanksgiving. That means you are in charge of your plate. You can have a big meal, or you can have a snack before, or you can enjoy all the food all day long. You can stick to your normal food categories, experiment with whatever looks appetizing, or even eat solely desserts. Don’t feel any pressure to eat differently than you normally would. Don’t eat in a way that causes you anxiety. Thanksgiving meals are all about eating what makes you and your body happy.
And that’s that! Hopefully you found some of these tips helpful and empowering as you gear up for Thanksgiving. Let’s take the stress out of Thanksgiving and maintain a healthy sense of body positivity! Let’s be honest, the only stressful thing about Thanksgiving should be not burning the pies. We hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving! You got this. You are enough. You and your body are loved.