Do you have plans for Thanksgiving dinner? And if so, is your plan to let loose and overindulge, eat a healthy platter beforehand and nibble on a few foods, have an escape route when it’s time for dessert or cram a workout in before you head out?

In today’s weight-obsessed world, along with the recipes for mouth-watering mashed potatoes and sweet apple pies, you also find recipes for cutting calories from your Thanksgiving feast; ways to fit a workout into the day; and tips for getting back on track after the holidays. With all of the increased attention on diet at this time of year, it’s tough not to focus on food, particularly the dangers of overeating and the feelings of guilt associated with overindulging.

Dr. Stacey of the blog Every Woman Has An Eating Disorder (see her post, On Thanksgiving) believes Thanksgiving is the day many of us fling caution to the wind and feast because we need a break from our year-long restricting.

“But, because we don’t trust ourselves to do this, because we see such occasions (similar to cruises) as respite from the shackles of dieting, we go overboard.”

Has Thanksgiving Day become a battle of self-control? For some of us, indulging in a rich meal automatically signals a lack of self-control and willpower — two things our society views as virtuous and attractive. Many dieting and weight-loss books and gurus will glorify words like “willpower” and “restraint.” So, should we indulge or overeat, many of us will feel guilty and adopt an all-or-nothing mentality: restrict entirely or exceed our limits.

Whether you overindulge or restrict yourself during the holidays, this all-or-nothing thinking might be the unhealthiest choice of all. We either decide to gorge on the buffet of countless calories or rein in our appetite, refusing to partake in the meal. Either way, we’re left feeling unsatisfied, uncomfortably full and guilty.

This holiday season, start your New Year’s resolutions early and be kind to yourself. Don’t condemn yourself for wanting to eat a delicious meal. Instead, make a healthy choice to enjoy Turkey Day’s tasty treats bite by bite — and most importantly, enjoy and appreciate yourself and your family and friends.



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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Nov 2008
    Published on All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2008). Thanksgiving: An All or Nothing Holiday ?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 29, 2015, from


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