Chances are, you’re already dreaming up your Thanksgiving Day feast. 

And for most, this holiday meal is just the beginning of many, flavor-filled gatherings. 

At the same time, Thanksgiving marks the tail-end of the year. And before you know it, you’ll be thinking about your 2022 resolutions. 

Nevertheless, your 2021 goals are still in action. You must find balance between your health and indulgence this holiday season — and do so honestly. 

Don’t neglect your goals. But, it’s equally important to not neglect a good time. 

To ensure you find this sweat spot as the year closes out, put positive eating behaviors into action now. 

Here are a few tips to put into practice: 

1. Think with your stomach, not your eyes. 

You’ve heard it before — your eyes are often bigger than your stomach. 

This becomes increasingly true when the Thanksgiving spread hits the table. 

With so many comforting and seasonal dishes to indulge in, packing on more portions than necessary is a little too easy. 

So, this year, be more tactical as you build your plate — think with your stomach and not with your eyes. 

Assess how hungry you are, and be sure to take into consideration what your portions typically look like. Know that starting off small isn’t a bad thing. You can always go back for more if your stomach isn’t satisfied by the first kitchen rendezvous.  

2. Stay hydrated. 

It may seem odd, but just how hydrated you are can impact the amount of hunger you experience. 

And this is true for a couple of reasons. 

First, water can actually take up space in your stomach, lending you a sense of fullness and satisfaction. 

At the same time, our brains are quick to perceive thirst as hunger. So, it can be beneficial to drink a glass of water before every meal to better gauge just how hungry you are prior to diving into dinner. 

3. Stop when you’re satisfied, not when your plate is clean. 

The full plate is an optical illusion. 

In other words, a complete plate does not mean that you must finish everything on it to feel satisfied. 

This is especially important to remember at large meals like Thanksgiving dinner. 

The key is to eat until you are satisfied, not until you are stuffed. So, ignore what your plate looks like, and instead focus on how you feel — you’ll know exactly when to put down the knife and fork. 

4. Don’t lose sight of your goals. 

Your health goals should serve as continuous motivation to consume mindfully. 

This does not mean that you must restrict yourself or say no to the wine and seasonal sweets. Rather, it means you should keep your goals top of mind so as to serve as a form of checks and balances as you dine. 

5. Ditch the guilt. Be forgiving. 

It’s the holiday season. You’re bound to bite into the pumpkin pie. The savory sides. And of course, the turkey. 

As you should. 

However, it’s essential that these moments are not followed by guilt, restrictive eating and other negative behaviors. Rather, follow these moments of indulgence with forgiveness. 

Your goals are still intact, and there are many nutritional meals and workouts ahead. 

By practicing forgiveness, you set yourself up for healthy responses to the meals that do not align to your nutrition goals. And this is more powerful than any amount of healthy items on the menu. 

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