One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is having no Thanksgiving traditions. My family has some pretty established must-do items for other holidays, but Thanksgiving has always been a wild card for us. Sometimes turkey day finds us at the beach, we’ve spent Thanksgiving on the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, and for the past couple of years we have gone camping.
It’s liberating to not be tied down to certain things needing to happen in order for the day to feel “right.” Whether Thanksgiving dinner is cheeseburgers and a pint of beer at a diner or a pot of gumbo over a campfire, it’s all good to us.
It makes me think about other ways we challenge convention, and how rebelling against what is expected can be a liberating breath of fresh air. Are you feeling stifled by your holiday food traditions?
I’ve spoken to plenty over the past couple of weeks who feel it is next to impossible to not eat everything that is presented to them on Thanksgiving. Some folks tuck their napkin into their collar, open their arms, and say, “bring it on!” Others wring their hands because they don’t want that I-can’t-believe-I-ate-the-whole-thing feeling but also don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or don’t want to miss out on the tasty food they love.
Either way, let it go. Thanksgiving is one day. Yeah, I know, everyone says that healthy living is a lifestyle, but it’s not really. It’s a series of small decisions that take place over the course of a long time. But you don’t actually have to commit to a healthy lifestyle to reap the rewards of good health.
I know this sounds like the opposite of what everyone has told you! Weight loss success stories are full of testimonials about how you have to toss the quick fix to the curb and adopt a healthy approach for your whole life! Well I am here to tell you that is simply not true.
You just have to do it now.
You don’t need to commit to being healthy for the rest of your life. You just have to commit to doing it today. Or at this meal. Right now. You deserve to feel great all the time, but if that’s more than you want to think about, just feel great now.
Then, if you liked it, do it again. You can make healthy choices - the ones that keep your body feeling light, energetic, and mentally clear - all day long if you want to. Or, you could stop and go back to the old way. It’s your choice!
Now, I might be playing a bit of a trick on you. In a perfect world, you would start doing those healthy things, and then do another one, and another one, and keep doing them until, if you looked behind yourself, you would realize that you are smack dab in the middle of a healthy lifestyle.
But let’s not think about that right now.
Right now, it’s Thanksgiving week. You’ve got old family recipes to make, family coming into town, travel to pack for, and who knows what else. It might feel overwhelming to add exercising and watching what you eat on top of all that. So don’t. Just do it for today.
You don’t have to stay tied to those old holiday traditions of eating too much and regretting it later. You can go to the beach, or get on the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. You can go camping. You can get a hotel room by yourself and watch TV all day. Whatever. You do you.
Thanksgiving is about reflecting on that for which we are thankful, and it is also about a bit of rebellion. After all, if people couldn’t see a better future for themselves, they wouldn’t have sailed across the ocean to get it. This year, rebel against convention. Throw that healthy lifestyle out the window. Toss your holiday traditions to the side. Live healthy one moment at a time, and be thankful for the right to do it.
About This Blog
Each week, I write the "Healthy Heather Blog" in the Tallahassee Democrat. It is republished here in case you are not a subscriber (what???). Sometimes it is really good and other times it is just okay. Thanks for reading it regardless of your opinion!