5 tips for how to eat on thanksgiving & not gain a pound

When I eat with my friends, it is a moment of pleasure.png

Are you thinking of skipping breakfast on Thanksgiving to save up your calories for all that turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie you know you're going to indulge in because you absolutely don't want to pass any of it up AND you also don't want to to gain even one pound?

What if we tell you that your plan will likely backfire? That if you don't eat all morning or only eat a piece of toast with your coffee you're going to not only eat more but you likely will put on a pound or two (or more) in just that one day. 

As women, we've been led to believe that weight loss is all about calories and if you 'save them up' you'll 'stay on track'. 

If you've been through our 14-day cleanse or if you're in our current 28 Days to Calm Your Cravings course, you already know that this kind of thinking doesn't work. And it doesn't amp up your vitamin P, aka, pleasure.

Experiencing pleasure when you eat is actually one of the most important things you can do if you want to lose or maintain your weight. Seriously. 

"A relaxed, pleasured eater has natural control. A stressed eater produces more circulating cortisol – our main stress hormone. What’s amazing is that cortisol desensitizes us to pleasure. So when cortisol desensitizes us to pleasure in our day-to-day stresses, we need to eat more food to feel the same amount of pleasure as when we’re relaxed. This means that if you’re afraid of pleasure or anxious about gaining weight or frightened to eat a dessert, you’ll generate more cortisol. This chemical will swim through your bloodstream, numb you to pleasure, and ironically create the very self-fulfilling prophecy you feared from the beginning: “if I eat something fun, I won’t be able to stop…” It’s time to welcome a healthy sense of pleasure back to the table." ~Marc David, Author of The Slow Down Diet

If you want to know how to eat on Thanksgiving to not gain weight and experience more pleasure when you do eat, here are 5 top tips to follow:

1. Start your day off right with a mug of warm lemon water 'tea', herbal tea or bone broth. You'll be hydrated, which will help regulate hunger and calm your cravings. Sit down and enjoy sipping your drink of choice while you think about what you're truly grateful for. Also set your intention that your plan is to thoroughly enjoy your food today AND make choices that nourish you.

2. About 30 minutes after your mug of warmth, sit down at your table and eat a breakfast with a moderate amount of Powerful Protein, a lot of Friendly Fat and plenty of Colorful Carbs. Sitting down is key, and so is the Friendly Fat. Some ideas for you: this Mango Tango Smoothie; an omelette made with pastured eggs and lots of veggies; organic turkey or chicken sausages (Applegate Farms makes some great ones) with guacamole and cucumbers (yes, for breakfast!)

3. Drink 1/2 your ideal body weight in ounces between meals throughout the day. Drink most of your water about 30 minutes apart from meals so it doesn't interfere with your digestion during meals. If you'd like, squeeze fresh lemon or orange juice in your water for some flavor and a little boost of sunshine. Dehydration is one of the main drivers of sugar cravings so keep hydrated all day.

4. Sit down and eat a real & balanced meal at midday even if you are eating your Thanksgiving feast just a few hours later. If your main meal is actually before 2 p.m. that's even better because midday is when your digestive system is strongest and when . The goal is to eat 3 meals on Thanksgiving, with 3-4 hours between them and to make sure each meal includes Powerful Protein, Friendly Fat and Colorful Carbs. Did we mention to make sure to include Friendly Fat at EACH meal?!? ;)

5. Increase your vitamin P by actually showing up when you eat. Sit down every time you eat on Thanksgiving. Take a few deep breaths before you eat. This will actually shift your body into rest and digest mode which will help you digest and metabolize your meal. While you're eating, pay attention to the colors and smells and textures and tastes. Set your fork down between bites and chew, chew, chew. If your mind starts going to calories or weight or fat, just say, "Not today, darlin'. Today I'm going to enjoy every bite, including dessert."


There you have it. If you follow this plan, you are not only going to increase your chances of not gaining a pound, you'll also enjoy the day so much more than if you skip meals and count calories and beat yourself up during and after eating, all of which put you into fat storage mode.


And, one more little bonus tip: add in cultured food or drinks with your meals like raw sauerkraut, kefir or kombucha. They'll give your digestive system a little TLC with probiotics and enzymes that will help you digest your food more effectively and get the most out of those sweet potatoes! Alternatively you can take a probiotic and/or enzyme supplement.


You really can enjoy every single bite of your Thanksgiving meal and wake up the next day with no regrets and no extra pounds. If you do happen to wake up Friday not feeling your best or having put on a pound or two, stay tuned because we've got a blog post coming later this week to help with that too (as well as ideas for your leftover turkey!) 


Also, watch your inbox later this week because Chef Jackie's latest 12-week Menu Plan Program will be available to help you save money and time while you enjoy deliciously simple meals and you're whole family is going to love, love, love these recipes!