So here we are, the magical week of Thanksgiving. All the yummy foods of our nostalgic, American holiday are approaching. We’ve only got a few days before we’re elbow deep in the food of this seasonal holiday. How exciting! Except, for some us, we know that odds are, we’re going to run into some troubles.
Let’s take a look at that.
First things first, I love food. It’s been a long road to get here, this place of loving food, so I might be a little defensive about my eating habits. But it’s not just me. A lot of people do suffer from some eating disorder or disorder eating habits. But we’ll get to that. Bottom line: I love food.
That doesn’t mean I eat all that much though.
It’s not a matter of restriction or depriving myself of something I enjoy. It’s not about old habits or embarrassment. It’s not even about trying to watch what I eat. The fact is that how much I eat is a result of my diet, and here I mean the dictionary definition of a diet. You know, the kind of food you habitually eat.
I eat veggies, salads, fruit, nuts, poultry, and fish. And some grains and other stuff of course. I don’t eat three meals a day. I eat between five and six. Lunch and dinner are just a tad bit bigger than the others. What does that mean?
That means I have stable blood sugar. Stable energy. Stable mood. And a smaller stomach. Do I mind? Not at all! I enjoy my eating habit because it’s what works best for me. I meet all my nutritional requirements and I feel really good. But I don’t really ever overeat. I don’t feel crazy full hardly ever now. That’s fine with me, but at family meals it seems to be a problem for other people.
So I’m writing now to the people like me and more importantly to the people unlike me. I will eat a tiny, half or full-sized honest portion of everything (no, not the amount we think is a portion). And that’ll be enough for me. I’ll be very happy and very content with that. Don’t think I’m starving myself, that I hate your food, or that I’m not enjoying my meal. When I get home with those leftovers, I’ll be eating again!
The best part of my thanksgiving is the four-hours-after-diner diner.
So please, don’t worry. Respect my eating habits. Lots of times I’ll hear, “Aren’t you hungry?” or “You aren’t eating enough, c’mon it’s the holidays” or “You haven’t cleared your plate”
Which brings me to this point, when I’m done. I’m done. I won’t eat a morsel more if I’m full. I’m not one to clean my plate, but I try not to waste it either. I’ll pack it up and eat it later. But these comments aren’t super polite. In fact, they’re a bit rude. I don’t enjoy stuffing myself. I do enjoy eating and the flavor of food but I don’t like feeling overfull. It’s my choice not to finish my food. It’s my choice to eat a little less than everyone. It doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying myself though.
Be a little tolerant of those of us who don’t scrape our plate clean. We probably are happy.
Here’s another thing, because I eat less at dinner I get tons of comments about the snacks I ate three hours earlier. No, I didn’t spoil my appetite with some cheese, olives, crackers, veggies, whatever. No, I didn’t fill up on those. I ate till I was satisfied, like normal, and come dinner I was hungry but I just don’t eat as much.
Since most people don’t eat every few hours it seems strange that those of us who do can and will be hungry so soon after. That coupled with seeing a smaller pile of food than everyone else makes it seem like we just messed up and ate too many snacks.
Nope, not the case.
Besides, if I wanna eat chips, let me. I spend a lot of time eating healthy so if I feel like splurging and eating chips and cheese and creme fraiche, boy am I allowed. Anyone is…it’s the holidays! To me, that’s what it means. It doesn’t mean stuffing myself full but it does mean enjoying every food. Not passing things up that I might normally. I might even eat a few preservatives (though hopefully not). This is one of the times I let it go.
All right let’s make a little list here to understand some things.
- Respect people’s habits. Some of us eat less and some eat more, but it’s okay because we aren’t getting together to judge one another. Let’s all just assume we’re doing what’s best for us.
- Understand that everyone has different diets. Some of us are vegan and might not eat a family meal or might want some vegan options. Some are vegetarian. Some don’t eat wheat. Some eat only poultry. The bottom line is whatever the reason, ethical or dietary, we all have our choices. Thanksgiving is not the day to bring politics, opinion, or anger into it. Understand it, respect it.
- Relax into your own choices. You’re eating for you, not anybody else. Don’t feel like you have to give up something in your diet just because someone else made the food. It’s your choice what you want to eat. Understand, respect, and relax.
And that’s the core of it: Understand, respect, and relax.
So as you head into the holidays, just enjoy them. Enjoy the food. Enjoy the memories. Force yourself to understand a little more, respect a little more. Relax into the situation. End of the day, everything is okay and you are the only who matters when it comes to making decisions about your life and your food. Someone else’s disdain about how much cheese doesn’t really matter, does it?
With that being said, have a happy Thanksgiving this year that is as stress free as it possibly can be. Enjoy the buildup. Enjoy the day.