Did you know that gratitude changes brain chemistry? It's true.
Gratitude turns what we have into enough. It amps up happy brain chemicals. It slows down time. It appreciates. It creates connection.
There are no negative side-effects to practicing gratitude.
"The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest light to all the world." - Ann Voskamp
Along with practicing gratitude, we love coming back to the basics at this time of the year, practicing simple self-care to nourish and flourish throughout the holidays.
Here are our 5 top tips for returning to the basics this Thanksgiving:
1. Hydrate. Start your day with a mug of warm lemon water 'tea' or herbal tea. Hydration helps regulate hunger and calm your cravings. It's easy to mindlessly start the day and get going with a list of to-do's. Instead, intentionally sit down and sip your warm lemon water while you think about what you're truly grateful for. Set your intention for the holiday. Plan to enjoy your food experience today and make choices that nourish you. Dehydration is one of the main drivers of sugar cravings so be mindful to stay hydrated all day.
2. Eat breakfast. If you are thinking of skipping breakfast on Thanksgiving to save up your calories for all that turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, think again. We've been led to believe that weight loss (and "controlling" your eating) is all about calories and if you 'save them up' you'll 'stay on track'. The opposite it true. If you don't eat all morning or only eat a piece of toast with your coffee, you are fueling cravings later in the day. Sitting down for breakfast is key (not while you're running around finishing up details for your guests), and you want to make sure you include Friendly Fat. Need some ideas? Enjoy this Mango Tango Smoothie or Berry Smoothie or an omelette with lots of veggies and avocado.
3. Relax and be present. Ask for help. Delegate. You're not supposed to do everything on your own. Think through your menu for your holiday and enlist people to help you. Set up the table ahead of time so you're not rushing around the day of. Light candles. Put on relaxing music. Grab a cuppa tea and put your feet up while the turkey is cooking or while everyone is socializing. Turn off your phone for the day. Breathe. Laugh. Have fun.
4. Eat Slowly. Mindless eating is pretty common at social and holiday gatherings, so here are some mindful eating tips. Every time you eat this holiday, sit down. Pay attention to the colors on your plate, the smells and textures and tastes. Set your fork down between bites. Eat slowly. Breathe. Relax. Find pleasure in conversation, laughter and presence. If your mind starts going to calories or weight or fat, just say, "Not today, darlin'. Today I'm going to enjoy every bite."
5. Get some fresh air and move your body. Set up a plan ahead of time. Bring your shoes and bundle up. Plan a walk around the neighborhood or a hike in the woods, a basketball game with the kids in the driveway...whatever it is, enjoy some movement and fresh air.
We love to K.I.S.S. the holidays. Keep It Super Simple. Holidays can bring a lot of emotional heaviness - whether it's grief, loneliness, family drama, hardship and so much more. So let's not overcomplicate anything else. Add in simple nourishing things (food, mindset, movement) to begin to crowd out the things that aren't so nourishing.
If you do happen to wake up Friday not feeling your best physically, we've got you covered. Click to last year's blog post: Your 5-Step Day-After Thanksgiving Plan. And if you have leftover turkey, check out our recipe ideas for your leftover turkey!)