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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kimberly Gilbert


Before you read that title, assume I’m going to tell you not to eat sweet potato pie, and scroll away - stop! I assure you that’s not what this post is about. Yes, it’s about health, but it’s also about celebrating your life and the beauty of the season. You absolutely can have your pie and eat it, too.

Throughout my years as a doctor, I’ve met a lot of people who have a lot of concerns about Thanksgiving. They wonder if they can stick to their guns and make healthy choices. They worry that they might clog their arteries with one big meal. They stress about whether their dad is going to say something offensive to their fiancé and if that stress could give them an ulcer…the list goes on and on, and I’ve heard it all.

I want to emphasize the point that Thanksgiving is all about finding some balance between eating, drinking, and merriment & maintaining your health. Here’s how:

Stop Labeling Food as “Good” or “Bad”

Those of us who have survived the traumatic diet culture of the previous decades have been conditioned to believe that some foods are inherently “bad.” As your friend and a doctor, I’m giving you permission to stop doing that! Do certain foods have more valuable nutrients than others? Sure. But you can’t deprive yourself of the foods you love and enjoy without being miserable, and there’s no reason you should feel guilty about delighting in a scrumptious Thanksgiving meal with your loved ones. Thinking about things like pie as “bad” will only leave you feeling a deep sense of shame and remorse. And guess what? That’s bad for your mental and emotional health and can actually cause you to eat more and harm your overall level of wellness. Ditch the labels and simply eat what you want in moderation.

Slow Down and Savor

Let’s be real - Thanksgiving food is delicious. Succulent turkey, soft mashed potatoes covered in butter and gravy, hot rolls, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie…my tastebuds are psyched just thinking about it! Instead of loading up your plate and scarfing it down so fast you can barely taste it, why not slow things down and allow yourself to fully experience your meal? I know it’s hard to pace yourself when you’re excited, but trust me. Taking the time to savor every bite is the way to go. First, you’ll delight in your favorite foods like never before. Second, you’ll give your body some time to process what’s happening. The reward sensors will light up in your brain at a healthy pace, letting you feel satisfied instead of clamoring for more. Your stomach and digestive system will be able to send cues to the brain to let it know you’re full. If you’re still hungry, go back for seconds, but just listen to what your body is saying as you take Thanksgiving at a leisurely pace.

Take a Walk

Did you know that walking right after a big meal can help with weight loss? Make it a new tradition to grab your favorite cousin (or the whole family) and head out the door for a nice fall walk after Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, you don’t have to take anyone with you. Sometimes the stress of the holidays leaves you feeling the need for a little distance from your crazy relatives. In that case, you’ve got the added bonus of escaping the madness while getting some exercise and fresh air! What’s not to love?

Live your best and healthiest life this Thanksgiving, and make sure to drop back throughout the holidays for more tips from your friend – Dr. G!

The information and other content provided in this blog, website, or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


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