Happy Thanksgiving - my mental, physical, and emotional approach

Happy Thanksgiving - my mental, physical, and emotional approach

This will be the only post I write this week; I'm going to savor the holiday weekend with my family. Hopefully you're able to do the same. And we'll be back to business as usual next week.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Microsoft clipart

There's no escaping the fact - this is Thanksgiving Week. A gigantic meal, which also serves as the kick-off to a Holiday Season filled with sweets, snacks, and more gigantic meals.

I'm sure the web will be dripping with tips and tricks for being successful, so I'm not going to write too much about that on this one. But I will share some of my personal thoughts on the holiday..

Mental Preparation

I like to take a look at how I've been doing lately before the day even starts, and game-plan accordingly:

  • If I've been relatively successful, I might not mind a set-back day - especially if I'm confident I'll be able to get myself back on track.
  • If I've been struggling lately, Turkey Day might not only be a major setback, it might also serve as the gateway drug to a failed season, and I'll wake up on January 1st with big regrets, big goals, and a big waistline.
  • Exercise - I understand that a Thanksgiving-day workout is great, but even a 500 calorie workout will pale in comparison to how many calories I might eat that day if I'm not careful.

Physical Execution

Once you have a game-plan in place, it's all about execution:

  • I definitely want to get a workout in on Thursday morning. Even if I don't burn off everything I'm going to eat, I know I'll feel better about myself. Last year I ran a 10-mile turkey trot (not fun!); this year I'll take my family on a hike in the local mountain preserve.
  • What gets on my plate - Option 1: small variety. One option is to limit what I eat. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, a little gravy, carrots-corn-peas-beans, and a reasonable helping of a dessert.
  • What gets on my plate - Option 2: small serving sizes. Another options is to have a little bit of everything, emphasis on the little. That way I get all the basics, but I can also try the casseroles, salads, breads and biscuits, and a bite or two of several different desserts.
  • Watch the liquid calories. Beer, wine, sparkling ciders, soda (with or without bourbon)... I could put down 1,000 liquid calories easily. Gotta keep my eye on this one.
  • Get away from the table. Those long, drawn out meals, where everyone just sits at the table and gabs away - I find myself eating just because there's still food on the table. Better to get out - grab a few of the kids and the dogs and go for a walk. Or take a football outside and play catch. It's not that I'm after exercise at this point; I just have to physically leave the table to stop eating!

Emotional Thanks-giving

What are you thankful for?

I spent the first 18-19 years of my life not knowing how good I had it, so the whole concept of "what are you thankful for?" was lost on me. I spent the next 18-19 years of my life focused pretty heavily on the stuff - house, toys, job, investing for the future.. So while I was happy with what I had, and with those people in my life, I was never satisfied. "What are you thankful for" became more a part of going through the motion than it was an actual question - I was happy, but I wasn't thankful.

The last few years have been different, very different. The Great Recession took its toll on me and my family, pounding us financially and emotionally. We've also lost a couple close members of our family. This year, I'll look around the table, and be legitimately thankful - more so than I can remember being at any other time in my life.

  • Thankful for my family - that we've had the strength to stick with each other through some difficult times.
  • For my extended family, and the support and love they offer.
  • That we have a roof over our heads, and a stable environment to call home. (something I've taken for granted my whole life, but which I've learned isn't a given.)
  • For being able to put food on the table, and my kids never having to worry about being hungry.
  • That my oldest son, who has autism, is one of the greatest kids on the planet. If every kid had his heart, friendliness, and compassion, the world would be a far better place.
    • I'm also thankful that he's surrounded by an amazing support team. (extra thanks on this one to my wife, most of all, who spent years assembling that awesome team.)
  • That my younger son, though I haven't always stacked the deck in his favor, has grown and thrived - time after time, in situation after situation.
  • For our health. As trite as it sounds, there are plenty of people who have more to deal with than the basic aches and pains of being in your 40's.
  • For the light at the end of the tunnel, which is burning bright and is easy to see.
  • For those who read this blog, and the digital age we live in. Never could I have imagined being able to learn so much from so many people, as well as having a place to share my opinions with others - from all across the world. All while sitting at my desk. Absolutely amazing.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

-Chris Butterworth