Thanksgiving Night: How Do You Want to Feel?

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, dieters should begin to think about how they’ll handle their eating on that day. While Thanksgiving is considered by many to be a day in which it’s just too difficult to control their eating, it doesn’t have to be that way. When we help dieters formulate their Thanksgiving plan, we always ask them to think about one important thing: How do you want to feel going to bed once Thanksgiving is over?

Asking dieters this question reminds them that the experience of Thanksgiving is not limited to the time when they’re eating with family and friends. The experience also extends to how they feel afterwards. Dieters often have sabotaging thoughts such as, “If I have to limit how much I eat, I just won’t be able to enjoy myself.” If they then overeat, they may wind up feeling sick both People eating Thanksgiving dinnerphysically and psychologically: physically because they consumed way too much food, and psychologically because they feel out of control and guilty for overeating.

When we ask dieters how they want to feel once Thanksgiving is over, they usually say something along the lines of, “I want to feel full and satisfied and I also want to feel good about myself.”  We then ask, ”Will getting off track and overeating on Thanksgiving lead you to feeling that way?” Because the answer is no, we suggest coming up with a plan that will make them feel good. It makes sense to dieters that they simply can’t have it both ways: They can’t overeat during Thanksgiving and still wind up feeling proud and in control – these are incompatible goals.

We remind dieters that it’s not all-or-nothing – it’s not as if they can eat every bite of food that they want or they can’t eat any food that they want. In fact, there is a huge middle ground between these two extremes. While it’s true that they may not be able to eat as much of everything they want and still go to bed feeling good that night, it’s also true that they can eat reasonable portions, enjoy every bite that they take, and feel really good.

2 replies
  1. Oola
    Oola says:

    I do not understand why there is not some effort to teach people not to feel guilt after eating a little too much. It is not inevitable to feel guilty when one does not meet a particular standard, especially one where there is not a real moral basis to the behavior. I am not saying it is not useful to think ahead to how someone will feel later, but even thin people overeat sometimes. They might regret feeling too full but they do not usually feel guilt about it. That is often associated with eating disorders, not a rational reaction to overeating. I prefer the emphasis be on the physical discomfort, or on health consequences for those who might have present conditions.

  2. Tredena
    Tredena says:

    I am making a plan. I will stick to two plates for Thanksgiving. My first plate will be my favorite food plate. At least three to four of my favorite foods on my that plate which will include desserts. My second plate will be vegetables and fruit.


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