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Thanksgiving Dinner
By Stacy Shropshire
We like our holiday celebrations to be loving, relaxed, and as stress-free as possible. With that in mind, here are some tips to make this Thanksgiving—and every holiday—the best it can be.
1. Workout.
It is easy on Thanksgiving morning to lie on the couch in PJs and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (The Rockettes! Santa!) But the rest of the day will feel so much better with a little movement first!  Consider doing a little bit of exercise before the festivities start.

2. Eat breakfast… and maybe lunch.
Knowing that a feast is coming, you might be tempted to skip other meals during the day to compensate for the upcoming calorie-ocalypse. Eat a balanced breakfast with solid protein, quality carbs, and some healthy fats so you’re not famished and/or cranky heading into Thanksgiving dinner. You can make it smaller than usual, but be sure to eat all three macronutrients. (And if you’re eating dinner late, you might need a lunch-time snack in there, too.)  Save treats for the feast and start the day with “regular breakfast.” Of course you are free to do what feels best to you, but we are recommending you don’t pick Thanksgiving to start experimenting with fasting.

3. Drink water.
This probably seems like “no duh,” but it’s worth a reminder. Three things happen on holidays that can cause discomfort and bloating:
(a) You might be eating more than usual;
(b) you might be eating foods you don’t eat very often;
(c) when you do (a) and (b), you’re most likely ingesting more salt than usual, too.
You will feel ever-so-much better if you drink plenty of water to help move everything through your system—and if you’re enjoying adult beverages, think about alternating one or two glasses of water with each cocktail.

4. Breathe deeply.
The holidays can be fun and exciting and magical and overwhelming and awesome and… whew! Reconnecting with friends and family can be a beautiful thing—and it can also be a stressful thing. Whether you’re having a lovely time, or you feel like you’re about to use the carving knife to stab Aunt Edna, a three-minute breathing break is a great way to re-establish your equilibrium. Just find a place where you can sit quietly and undisturbed for three minutes. This may mean hiding in a closet, taking over the bathroom, escaping to the garage, or disappearing to the car in the driveway. Whatever it takes!
Breathe… you can simply do long, slow breaths or try a pattern. Try this: Inhale through the nose in 4 short sniffs (sniff – sniff – sniff – sniff) then exhale in a long, slow breath for 4 seconds; repeat. Just three minutes of conscious breathing can reduce your stress and energize you at the same time.

5. Savor every bite.
Sticking with your diet plan? (We really hope that you are!)  Totally going off-road and enjoying your favorite treats? Eating mostly on plan but choosing a few special nibbles? Whatever your eating strategy is for Thanksgiving, slow down, savor every bite, and engage all of your senses. The holidays are a wonderful time to enjoy some once-in-a-while indulgences, but it’s a bad idea to ruin the experience by (a) eating crappy food out of habit or (b) following something delicious with a chaser of self-recrimination. Eat only the things you love, eat only the things that taste great to you, and enjoy the aroma and taste of every bite.

6. Take a walk.
You might have already worked out earlier in the day, but a short stroll after your dinner will afford you some fresh air and give your belly a break by moving around.  Take the family and bond!

7. Disconnect.
We blogging, Twittering, Facebooking, Instagramming maniacs spend plenty of time online most of the other days of the year. Unless you’re sending a personal message to someone special who is far away, we challenge you to really disconnect on Thanksgiving. No matter how delicious your food looks, we will all survive without seeing the photos until Friday. We’ll all be here, ready to interact with you in our digital playground when you get back online; feel free to leave us hanging on Thursday.

8. Call a faraway friend or family member.
There is something special about hearing the sound of our dear ones’ voices, so why not give your faraway friends or family a ring?

9. Be present.
Getting together with family and old friends can sometimes bring up past hurts, slights, and arguments. Reminiscing about good times is heartwarming; dwelling on the past can be very detrimental. Alternately, fretting about the future (an upcoming “punishment” workout at the gym on Friday) or bargaining with yourself about future behavior (“I’ll eat pumpkin pie now but tomorrow, I’ll eat perfectly.”) is a sure way to create stress and ruin your day. So be present. Love your family right now. Savor the food you’re eating right now. Pay attention to the little details that make this moment the only moment. Suddenly, old stuff and future worries disappear… and right now is really great.

10. Hug indiscriminately.
There are so many details that can go wrong on a holiday (or any day). The turkey is still frozen. The dog ate the pumpkin pie.  Grandma got drunk. Grandpa won’t get drunk. Whatever. In the midst of the craziness you have two choices: get frustrated/angry or embrace the chaos and hug everyone. Seriously. Someone’s being less than pleasant? Disarm them with a hug. Someone’s being awesome? Reward them with a hug. A big hug smooths over lots of ruffled feathers, and it feels good every time.

Remember to have some fun!

*Results may vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as typical. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.