11 Steps to A Guilt Free Thanksgiving

Here is something that drives me insane around the holidays, the excessive volume of online articles harping on how to "Boost Your Metabolism" or "Burn More Calories” this Thanksgiving. These articles, though written with good intentions, do nothing but promote guilt, regret, and unhealthy relationships with your body image, weight, and food. So stop clicking them! Stop taking the bait!

So you spend a day eating an excessive amount of food, SO WHAT! Take a day! I have spent countless Thanksgivings stressing about what was on my plate, how much, and how soon I could "burn" it off. I would calculate calories and calculate how long I needed to spend on an elliptical to break even. The way I saw it if you eat less calories than you burn, you lose weight. So I’d calculate and I’d ho and I’d hum and I’d beat myself up about the weight I just gained instead of enjoying a delicious dry turkey! Here’s the kicker, you aren't going to break even, EVER. I need you to do something for me. I need you to enjoy your Thanksgiving. I need you to let go of any preconceived notion of "cutting back" and "dieting" and just enjoy your meal with your friends and/or family.

Does that mean go for the fourth plate of food? Does that mean eat until you make yourself sick? Does that mean eat until you actually are in pain? NO. There’s a fine balance between enjoying a meal and eating mindlessly until you explode. Stop thinking about so much! This is nothing new. This isn’t your first Thanksgiving you know how this holiday works! A healthy lifestyle lasts your entire life and you have to give yourself permission to enjoy an unbalanced meal on special occasions. IT’S OK! I guarantee you, it’s ok. Enjoying Thanksgiving is 100% possible! Here’s how:

Step 1: Get excited!

Thanksgiving is a holiday. There is a reason the word happy precedes holiday. Even if you are dreading going home or if you’re going through a hard time, find a second to smile. Even on our darkest days (or years) you have to find a reason to smile and laugh. Find something to be thankful for. This year I am thankful for my family, especially my sister, because I don’t know how I could survive without their humor or their constructive criticism. I’ve grown a lot over the last few years because they push me to be a more honest, strong, and driven woman. They are the voice in the back of my head (which drives me crazy) but I wouldn’t commit to half the things I do without them. I have some huge power houses in my family and I am really grateful for their advice and thoughts, however unsolicited it may be.

Step 2: Get sweaty first thing in the morning.

Whether it’s a 30 or 60 minute walk/run/bike ride alone, with your dog, a neighbor, a child, a friend, or a family member, find the time to get up and get sweaty. It will make the day easier emotionally and it will help you feel like you earned that second piece of pumpkin pie. (Because yes, you can have a second piece of pie if you want it!) I started running on Thanksgiving. I couldn’t handle the holiday and the gym was closed. It was the best decision I ever made. Tomorrow I'll probably get a quick 5K in before Hurricane Kelly rolls into Dumbo and destroys my family's kitchen.

Step 3: Skip the snacking (IE the chips and dip)

You don’t need it and in the scope of the delicious food coming your way, it’s just not worth it. We always have chips and dip out all day long at our house. It’s a trap. I just park myself as far away from said temptations as possible. And if I decide I need some I go with carrots and dip (and a few chips because live your life). Eat a normal breakfast, eat a normal lunch and avoid the snacking.

Step 4: Don’t be first in line if it’s buffet style.

This is my secret weapon. I am a fast eater. I’m normally ready for seconds by the time the last person gets a plate. So I go towards the end. It gives me a chance to refresh people’s drinks and get major brownie points. (And Thanksgiving is so much yummier with a fresh drink.) Then I get in line and make myself a plate which leads me to…

Step 5: SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE.

slow and steady

Thanksgiving is like a marathon and there’s no way you’ll make it to pie with a smile on your face if you don’t pace yourself. Plate #1=average portions. Nothing overwhelming. There should be room on your plate! Don’t worry about calories, don’t worry about what you’re eating, and don’t make a comment that you’re a pig. There’s no judgment at the Thanksgiving table and anyone is judging is an asshole. Don’t be an asshole.

Step 6: No dinner roll.

I skip the dinner roll because it’s bland and I’d rather eat stuffing. (unless there's cornbread in which case hell yeah cornbread.) 

Step 7: TELL A STORY.

I can’t do the lift your fork up and put it down, chew slowly, “enjoy your food” nonsense. I’m gonna eat fast. The only way I can combat speed eating is if I’m telling a really good story. So back pocket a really good story, start it before you get your first plate, cliff hanger it while you head to the table, and pick back up when you sit down. It’ll buy you a good 5 minutes. Your welcome. (If you don’t have a story, bring up religion or politics. Then watch shit hit the fan J )

Step 8: Eat in negative splits

Round 2, skip the stuff you didn’t like as much. I go with slightly smaller portions and eat like a speed demon. Then if you go for round 3 you are really committing.

Step 9: Take a good little recovery before pie.

Kind of like an intermission in a show. Build anticipation for that sweet sweet pie.

Step 10: Body slam some pie.

There’s always room for pie! And my only rule is that I wait a while for seconds of pie. That way I inflict the pain on a well informed decision.

Step 11: Reflect and reminisce.

MMMMMMM Thanksgiving. MMMMMMM mashed potatoes. MMMMMMM stuffing. And remember to thank your cooks because they made that delicious meal possible.

HAVE A WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! Remember enjoy your food and commit to eating that delicious meal. Tell your people you love them, take pictures, make memories, and congratulate yourself if you hosted. You hosts keep the world spinning. Until Friday, #RunSelfieRepeat. AND REMEMBER there's still time to join this virtual turkey trot!

2 Comments

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.