November 21, 2007

Hell, Why Not--Everyone Else Is

Cranky Fitness was going to skip doing a "how to get through the big holiday meal" advice post, because everywhere you look, from newspaper to television to blog to podcast, someone's offering up suggestions, tips, or warnings about Turkey day.

Why add more noise? Because, well, Thanksgiving is tomorrow and Crabby loves to give advice! The temptation, much like the golden brown crunchy layer of marshmallows sitting atop the candied yams, is proving irresistible.

But rather than issue dire warnings about overindulgence, Crabby is feeling contrary this year and wants to suggest sort of the opposite. Instead, consider this:

Thanksgiving is Just One Day of the Year. So while advance planning may keep you from overdoing it to the point of puking and/or self-loathing (always good things to avoid), don't stress too much about what you eat for one dang meal!

Yes, Christmas is coming too, and there will be other holidays to contend with. But to repeat a point made previously about Halloween: the problem most people have with unhealthy eating does not come from thoroughly enjoying a holiday celebration. It comes from treating every damn day of the year like it's a holiday.

Traditional Thanksgiving dinners mix a lot of healthy ingredients (turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, green beans, fruit, etc) with more nutritionally questionable ones (butter, sugar, cool-whip, marshmallows, gravy, white flour, mayo, etc). Sometimes you have control over the ratio of healthy to unhealthy, and sometimes you don't. But as long as you don't totally pork out to the point of pain, and try to lean towards the healthy stuff that you actually enjoy, there's only so much damage you can do. So cut yourself some slack!

Maybe you can go ahead and have a roll and even put butter on it. Or pour some gravy on your spuds if you love it. Or whatever the particular pleasure is that you usually deny yourself. And perhaps the best motivation for not going totally overboard at dinner-- is so you can save some room for a small slice of pie for dessert!

But then it's probably NOT a good idea to treat the special Thanksgiving meal as an excuse to eat gravy-soaked mashed potatoes and stuffing and pie and other decadent leftovers in huge quantities for the next four or five days. Thanksgiving, like Halloween or Christmas, works best when it's celebrated as a Day and not a Season. (And sure, enjoy some leftovers later--but after the Big Day you may want to load up on the healthier items, skip the worst offenders, and supplement with salads and new veggies, etc).

Thanksgiving is already a healthy holiday in a lot of ways--it's about giving thanks and appreciating the people you care about, whether you all get to sit at the same dinner table or not. Maybe you can make it even healthier by going out for a nice crisp fall walk or run, perhaps joined by family or friends. Or not! Don't stress if it's just not practical that one day of the year.

Seems like it's a good day to focus on the positive, rather than making it a test of will power that you must not "fail" at. Just one Crab's opinion.

Crabby hopes, however you choose to celebrate it, that Thanksgiving finds you with lots of things to feel grateful about. (And high on Crabby's list of things to feel thankful for is getting to know, at least a little bit, all the wonderful people she's met through the blog!)

So have an awesome Thanksgiving, unless you are from somewhere else and are not celebrating it tomorrow. In that case, have an awesome Thursday!

There will actually be a new post up tomorrow (Thursday) and it may even contain an Announcement! So if you're around, please stop by Cranky Fitness to see what's cookin' besides turkey and candied yams with marshmallows.


  1. Great advice!

    I'm lucky to be going to my sister-in-laws for turkey day. The bonus of not having the big meal at your own house is that there are no leftovers to graze on for days afterwards.

    Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Ooo, great post. (Does it seems like I say that every time I visit?)

    It's a meal. Not an excuse to "pork out to the point of pain," (lol) So many holidays turn into just the outward traditions instead of being supplemented by them. (hmm, not so much with halloween...)

    I love Thanksgiving and love to eat. But there's just something weird about stuffing yourself so completely full that you can't see straight, when too many other people go hungry. And on a holiday that should be about being grateful.

    Although. I think the general advice to not stress is a great one. You've got to enjoy what you have -including what you eat!

  3. OMG, Crabby - very sensible! But may the Bag Lady add a little something? The key to healthy living is to practice MODERATION in all things! We as a society have forgotten that. There is just such an abundance of food in our countries, and hardly anyone physically works hard (the Bag Lady means like in the 'old days' where in order to even get a drink of water, you had to carry it from the well...etc.) we all tend to over-indulge. But that is just the Bag Lady's humble opinion.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. Totally agree! If you don't let yourself have a treat (like the butter and bun, or a bit of gravy) even on Holidays.. you'll end up a crazy food binging lunatic!

  5. I usually "give" myself Thursday and Friday to enjoy my food and not worry about my diet. Of course, I also run a five mile Turkey Trot on Thursday a.m., and have an exercise class Saturday a.m., so I don't feel too bad :-).
    I agree with the Bag Lady - it's all about moderation.
    Y'all have a happy Thanksiving!

  6. Ok, for today:

    A) good post

    ---oops, that was yesterday, right? {grin}

    Moderation in everything - that's really what it should be. Unless you have a medical condition that says you can't eat certain things, there is no reason why you can't enjoy some of your favorite things.

    Thank goodness not too many people put crab and lobster on their thanksgiving table, or you may have to hide out for the next few days. :-)

  7. I'm with you Crabby. I think the main issue with holidays is that people have treats and fatty foods hanging around their houses and offices for 2 solid months rather than for 3 isolated days. I guess I'm THANKFUL that we're going to my parents house for the holiday meaning *NO* leftovers at our house! Great post - far more sensible than the deny-yourself crap advice out there.

  8. You've been tagged...

  9. There is always room for pie.
    Sorry I haven't been around much, but no computer yet.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  10. You're right, of course. One day is no big deal. What trips people up this time of year is all the office pot-lucks, parties, family get-togethers, etc, that are centered around tempting and calorie-laden food and beverages.

    My strategy is to pre-select the days or events during the holiday season when I will indulge. Usually this ends up being just Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then I plan ahead to do a long workout on those mornings. I rearrange my schedule however I need to in order to get this out of the way.

    And then I enjoy the day. No guilt, but no excessive gluttony, either. It helps that I really, truly, love fruits and veggies! I eat sparingly of the heavy stuff so I get a taste of everything, and load my plate high with lighter fare and even take seconds. Or thirds.

    I make sure not to end up with a whole lot of leftovers at my house, though, unless they're of the veggie variety. If there's a pie or cake in my house, I'll eat it. Same for cookies, fudge, and all of that stuff. Best to take it to the office if I end up with a lot of sweets. Vicarious enjoyment of desserts can be surprisingly satisfying!

  11. Or send Canadians your leftover turkey :D

  12. I'll be enjoying my happy thursday, thank you very much. And who's idea was it for your holiday to not be on a weekend? How irrational.

    Your attitude = my attitude. Go a little nuts for 1 day. Actually eat butter.

  13. I've always heard that Thanksgiving is one of the healthiest meals people eat all year. I'm sticking to that. Have a happy turkey day Crabby! Not that real crabs eat turkey. They do eat pie I think though so knock yourself out.

  14. Yay - so reasonable! what a clever crab you are!!!

  15. I'm with ya. Enjoy the over-indulgence.

  16. Just ducking in for a second here--
    LOVE all the sensible holiday suggestions!

    Leah, you're probably off the library computer by now, but thanks for stopping by! How frustrating to be computerless; so sorry to hear that. We'll all be glad when you're back to blogging, but don't worry about us and enjoy a little blog break while your computer's on the fritz. You've earned it!

  17. What advice would you give to a family which has a weigh-in before and after the meal?

    Bart won at 14 pounds last year, but we're pretty sure most of that was beer.

  18. Have a great feast, and if you take Marie's suggestion, I'm in line right behind her.

  19. I for one appreciate my family more if I don't have to spend the holidays with them. Being around most of them is just too stressful, so I don;t go. This year, my husband and I are traveling to a volunteer job, and will arrive at the location on Thanksgiving day. When we get there, I will cook us a small chicken, some cornbread dressing, some baked sweet potatoes, and some turnip greens. And we will both be very happy and not eat too much.

  20. Your T-day dinner sounds both reasonable and delicious, Fab Grandma! You're making me hungry!

    Jim, 14 POUNDS!??! In one meal? Holy crap. I am simply awed.

    And as for you always reasonable Canadians requesting leftover turkey be sent north: Turkey? Really? I'd so be trying to finagle some pie instead!

    Thanks for all the great comments so far, you guys rock!

  21. Very well said! And it's not as if you'll NEVER EVER have this food again. Turkey, sweet potatoes... these are all things you will have again in your lifetime!

    Now your Aunt Ginny, who you only see at the holidays, and the special fudge she only makes for Thanksgiving: have some! Enjoy! That's a special treat.

  22. Mmmm...I like this post.
    And I can't wait for the announcement!

  23. An excellent post, as always.
    Nothing wrong with inserting a little common sense and realism into blogland :)

  24. I worry far more about how much people drink before getting behind the wheel to drive home!

    Happy Thanksgiving Crabby.

  25. haha, good advice :)

    fortunately I didn't have to celebrate Thanksgiving. I live in Chile and I don't even like turkey or sweet potatoes or stuffing!


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