Today is Thanksgiving here in the United States. While it’s a day when we give thanks to God for the many blessings He’s placed in our lives, it’s also a day of gut-busting feasting.
As I’m writing this, I’ve already taken down two plates full of ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, salad, buffalo chicken dip, carrots, caramelized sweet potatoes, cheesecake, and a piece of frosted cookie cake.
In case you didn’t know, I can eat with the best of ’em. In fact, my ability to cram a disproportionate amount of food down my esophagus is part of what led to me gaining 60+ pounds of fat in my early-twenties (click here to see a picture of 240-pound me, if you don’t believe me).
As if what I’ve already eaten today wasn’t bad enough, my family and I are now headed to my aunt and uncle’s house for another Thanksgiving feast where I plan to partake in a meal that will compare to or exceed the earlier one.
This might surprise you. After all, almost any other day of the year I’m writing about the importance of commitment and discipline, especially as it pertains to the foods we choose to eat on a daily basis.
I absolutely believe in the power of dietary discipline, but I also believe that it’s okay to disregard it on rare occasions. Thanksgiving is one of those rare occasions where I don’t give a second thought about the food I’m eating, or how much I’m eating, and I simply eat to my heart’s content.
I don’t feel a single shred of guilt for what I’ve eaten and I won’t feel any different after my second round of today’s gluttonous escapade. Tomorrow I’ll be back to eating healthy and by Sunday there won’t be any difference on the scale or in my body fat percentage.
Spending an average of one day every few months eating an amount of food that would make a horse blush isn’t going to make a discernible difference in my results over the course of the year – and it won’t to yours, either.
This is why Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Independence Day and my birthday are the days each year that I designate as “eat whatever the heck I want and don’t worry about it” days.
There are certainly other days when I indulge, but it’s on a much smaller scale and it’s usually done strategically. For instance, on these days I’ll be sure to perform an intense workout beforehand and fast (or only eat very lightly) for most of the day before indulging.
These are effective strategies for mitigating the damage, for sure, and I encourage using them before parties or other events where eating healthy is an unlikely proposition. That said, it’s perfectly okay to set aside a couple of celebratory days each year to go nuts.
If you’ve been stressing out over feeling like you’re going to have to spend your holidays sipping on water and watching others enjoy the smorgasbord of food put out for consumption, I want you to know that it’s okay to set aside a few days each year to eat until you’re satisfied (and then some).
So, instead of following the lame advice other coaches give when telling their clients to avoid carbs, skip desserts, limit their portions, or drink a trough full of water, my advice is to allow yourself to indulge a little bit this holiday season.
Just be sure it’s done rarely, only on days that you’ve planned in advance to feast, and that you get yourself back to eating in a way that will allow you to progress closer toward your goals the very next day.
Have a blessed holiday season!