Don't Skip Breakfast
When we deny ourselves food before the main meal, we'll end up eating way more than we would to begin with. It's not about caloric intake, it's about psychology. Eating a modest breakfast, like a cup of yogurt or a bowl of oatmeal (let's skip the toast this morning), will not add many calories to your day, but will psychologically tide you over until dinner. You won't feel the need to make up for your lack of food all day and can eat a modest meal for dinner. Thanksgiving is not so much about how much you eat, but what you eat, and who you are eating with. Besides, there are always leftovers!
It seems like someone is always making batch after batch of cookies and pie after pie on Thanksgiving. With everyone standing around in the kitchen cooking and socializing, the urge to snack is powerful. Without even thinking about it, we're popping chips and cookies into our mouths all day. It is not just the Thanksgiving meal itself that adds inches to our waistlines, but all the snacks before and after the meal. The 10th cookie does not add very much enjoyment to your day, and cookies are not exactly what we look forward to on Thanksgiving anyway. Pay attention to what you put in your mouth all day, not just at mealtime. Entertain yourself with things other than food. Play a card game or a board game with the family between checking the turkey and mashing potatoes, or watch your favorite holiday movie to kick off the holiday season.
When the time for the big meal arrives, we tend to rush in a mad panic to fill our plates and our stomachs. Instead, sit down, pass the dishes slowly, socialize, and take small bites. Food is more enjoyable when you eat it slowly, and this is a meal you want to savor. Think about each delicious bite as you chew and remember it. Eat a little more of your favorite dishes that you look forward to all year and let yourself indulge, but get smaller portions of the sides you are not as fond of, or let go of them all together. For dessert, choose one pie or treat for now, or maybe two tiny pieces of your two favorites. You will have the next week or so to re-enjoy the meal left over and time to try any desserts you did not the first night. There is no rush, and the third piece of pie never tastes quite as good as the first two, anyway.
Let Go of Guilt
After all, it's only one meal and one day. If you have eaten a modest breakfast, limited snacking during the day, and enjoyed a slow, mindful meal, cut yourself some slack for indulging a bit. Guilt does not sit well with a full stomach, and sitting around with family, full and sleepy, is one of the best parts of the meal.