We have so much for which to be thankful! One thing I’m not thankful for is a week full of binging on foods that make me feel sluggish, grumpy and guilty. So how can we change our minds around Thanksgiving? By rethinking the craving to overeat.
My family is coming to my house for Thanksgiving this year, and I plan to pour my heart into every second with them. Of course, the crescendo will end in the Thanksgiving meal, which will feature a beautifully seasoned turkey, pear and chestnut stuffing, cranberry persimmon sauce, green beans amandine, rosemary focaccia, and of course, delectable pumpkin pie tartlets. Instead of encouraging moderation at the Thanksgiving meal, why not splurge? If we can keep our urge to overeat to one meal, and one meal only, perhaps the craving to splurge will be blunted. The brain triggers cravings in response to emotions, from pleasure to anxiety. Indeed, a classic study from the journal Appetite found that 97% of women and 68% of men reported experiencing cravings.1 But will avoiding cravings or finding a substitute make them go away? Not likely. Research suggests that resisting cravings can actually cause us to eat more – until we develop new patterns to avoid habitual cravings. So what’s the best way to manage cravings? Keep it to the actual meal itself – focus on enjoying your Thanksgiving meal, and get back to smart choices and portions on Friday. Happy Thanksgiving!
1Weingarten, H. P., & Elston, D. (1991). Food cravings in a college population. Appetite, 17, 167-175.