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    Instead of Worrying About What You Eat on Thanksgiving, Try This…

    Turkey, gravy, pumpkin pie, green bean casserole, mac n’ cheese–it’s about time for that Thanksgiving food coma (and the guilt or anxiety that comes with it). While this feast-focused holiday is an endless parade of indulgences and carbs that will leave you sluggish for days, there is absolutely no reason to worry about what you eat on Thanksgiving (say it again for the people in the back!). One meal (or a few, if you include leftovers) won’t affect you in the long-run, but the worry about it will. The more we relate food to anxiety and use labels like “good food” and “bad food,” the less we can listen to our bodies and enjoy special occasions (which is the point, after all). Rest assured, the fear-mongering around calories and holiday meals says more about our culture than it does about our bodies. In reality, our bodies are smart; they are meant to be resilient. So go ahead: savor every last bite of that turkey or pumpkin pie, totally guilt-free. Here are 10 things to do instead of worrying:

    1. Redefine what a “healthy diet” means
    We all think we have a pretty good idea of the definition of a healthy diet: lots of produce, clean protein, and limited additives, carbs, or sugar. Maybe your idea of a healthy diet is as specific as macronutrient percentages or caloric limits tracked on MyFitnessPal. But in reality, a healthy diet is much more flexible than a food pyramid graphic. A healthy diet looks different to every single person; it’s whatever honors what your body needs (including foods that you love), and it’s about making good choices with whatever is available. Enjoying pumpkin pie or buttery cornbread does not mean you “broke” a healthy diet; it simply means your healthy diet includes foods that feed your soul and honors special occasions. 

    2. Enjoy the real thing
    Sure, cauliflower mash is a delicious alternative for mashed potatoes that has some extra nutrients and maybe fewer calories. But let’s be honest: cauliflower mash is not a classic Thanksgiving food. If you live for your mom’s mashed potatoes year-round (or you just don’t appreciate cauliflower posing as potatoes), then eat the real thing. It’s one meal, which won’t affect you any more than one healthy meal would change an unhealthy diet. If you’re cooking, you can experiment with plant-based versions of classic dishes so that you feel better, but when it’s a food you love or want to enjoy, eat the damn mashed potatoes. 

    3. Skip what you feel meh about
    You already know to load up your plate with veggies that make you feel good and to indulge in the foods you love, totally guilt-free. But those dishes and foods you feel indifferent to? If they don’t excite you, skip them. For me, cranberry sauce and gravy are just so meh. I’d rather get extra sweet potatoes and cornbread, and forego the foods or toppings that aren’t exciting. If you could take or leave the dinner rolls, skip them so you have more room for veggies that will fill you up with nutrients or the foods you’re going to enjoy every bite of. There’s no Thanksgiving rule that states you have to eat turkey, stuffing, or green bean casserole, so if you don’t love it, don’t eat it. It will allow you to be more intuitive about what you’ll truly enjoy. 

    4. Know that nutrition is not just what’s on your plate
    If you’re still under the impression that one meal (or a few holidays) can drastically affect your body long-term, you should also know that nutrition is not only the food we eat. The music we listen to, the people we spend our time with, the shows we binge on Netflix, the accounts we follow on Instagram are all things that feed us too. If you’re not as focused on the ways you’re being fed and nourished besides the food on your plate, you’re missing key pieces of the puzzle. You could completely stop caring about diet for a day and still have lots of opportunities to nourish yourself. Focus on these other areas instead of what you’re eating. 

    5. Add in extra nutrients 
    Perhaps you’re worried about what you eat because you feel sluggish for days after Thanksgiving, or a big decadent meal can leave you feeling sick. Instead of worrying about the aftermath during the meal, show your body love by treating it with the best before and after. Have at least two meals rich in protein, healthy fats, and fiber before dinner so that your blood sugar isn’t low and you’re not starving (it will help you from overeating and prevent that sluggish feeling). For the days after, add in extra leafy greens and a variety of produce that will give your body energy. Trust that your body can repair itself, when given half the chance.

    6. Change the goal to be “fulfillment” instead of “perfection”
    If your goal is to avoid the “bad foods” and stay “good” (whatever the hell that means), try changing how you think about the Thanksgiving meal. Instead, the goal should be to feel satisfied and fulfilled. Focusing on what you shouldn’t eat, whether in certain foods or quantities, means you’ll obsess over what you can’t have instead of enjoying the meal (it’s true for bad boys, and it’s true for pumpkin pie). Instead of vowing not to overeat or only eat certain foods, practice intuitive eating, and eat for the sake of fulfillment and satisfaction, not perfection. You’ll eat less and stop before you’re stuffed, but, more importantly, you’ll actually enjoy the meal. 

    7. Take care of yourself
    One way to stress less during the holidays (and especially a food-heavy holiday like Thanksgiving) is to take care of yourself like you would every other day. Get lots of sleep the night before, go through the key pieces of your morning routine that make you feel your best before turning on Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, take a bath or go for a walk if you find yourself stressed out during the day, and have a new face mask or luxurious pajamas to look forward to after the Thanksgiving feast is over. You know you should prioritize yourself 24/7, and a family holiday is no exception. Take care of yourself, and you won’t feel so out of control when it comes to food choices. 

    Source: @mylittlebooktique

    8. Unfollow or mute any account that’s posting “diet mistakes”
    Is it just me, or is everyone else’s Instagram feeds flooded about “Thanksgiving diet mistakes,” hacks on how to slash calories from traditional holiday foods like Eggnog, or “pre-Thanksgiving” workouts to earn your food. (PSA: you do not need to earn your food–not on Thanksgiving, and not ever.) The preemptive goal with this “health” advice is to prevent holiday weight gain as if it’s something we need to nip in the bud. But this messaging is “damage control,” as if the holidays are inherently damaging. Honestly, we just don’t need that kind of negativity RN. Holiday traditions and happy family meals are worth so much more than a number on a scale, and we should unfollow or mute anything that tries to make us think otherwise.

    9. Listen to your body’s cues
    When I tell people to “listen to their bodies and eat what their bodies want,” they often tell me they would eat all the mac n’ cheese and pumpkin muffins insight, and not pick up one vegetable or “good-for-you” food. However, when you overeat until you’re stuffed or opt for only the foods that make you feel sluggish or sick but taste delicious, that’s only in response to ingrained food rules that make the “off-limits” food sound more enticing. When we’re really in tune to our bodies’ needs, we eat until we’re satisfied (not stuffed) and crave a mixture of energizing nutrients and less nutritious foods we’ll enjoy every bite of (rather than mindlessly gobble down). Listen to what your body wants and feed it accordingly (yes, it really is that simple). 

    10. Bottom line: If you’re thinking about what you’re eating, you’re wasting precious time
    Listen, I’ve been there: you feel stressed out the day of, knowing it’s going to be a “bad” meal. You anxiously scan the buffet table, acknowledging what you shouldn’t eat or identifying the foods you know will make you feel guilty. As everyone sits down to eat, you’re comparing your plate to your siblings’ or cousins’ as if the way other people feed their bodies somehow gives meaning to the way you feed your body. For days after, you feel guilty about little things or add in an extra workout to counteract the calories. I’m exhausted after all of that–aren’t you!?
    Yes, diet culture is so ingrained in us that it’s sometimes hard to ignore, and we all want to treat our bodies well. But all of that thought, energy, and mental capacity could have been used for other things. If you’re busy worrying about your food choices, you’re missing out on time with your family or the ability to feel gratitude (AKA the point of the holiday!). If you’re stressed about eating, it’s a sign that you’re too focused on yourself. Be more engaged in the conversations with your family or call up a friend to check-in if you’re spending the day alone. If all else fails, donate money to a food bank, and you’ll remember there are bigger problems you can spend your energy on than eating too much turkey.

    How do you prevent food guilt or anxiety on Thanksgiving? More

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    How to Get Through the Holiday Season Loneliness When You Can’t See Your Family

    The holidays will be different this year, and this is a fact I am still processing. The holidays are my favorite time of year, and I know COVID-19 is real. But it is still strange to have to choose isolation during such a special time of year because of a global pandemic. I have personally been feeling the emotional effects of COVID-19 isolation since I am nearly 3,000 miles away from my hometown and family. It wasn’t until September that I started to feel a significant emotional shift. Since I have opted not to go home for Thanksgiving this year (this will be my first Thanksgiving away from home) due to taking COVID-19 safety precautions, I am truthfully feeling a double whammy of sadness. However, I know staying put is the safest choice for my family and me. I thought breaking the news to my parents would be difficult, but they beat me to it—sharing their concern about risking exposure to fly home.It’s safe to assume that I am not the only person who will be spending the holidays alone this year. With that in mind, I reached out to Dr. Gail Saltz, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine and host of the Personology podcast; and Dr. Nikole Benders-Hadi, a licensed therapist and the medical director of behavioral health at Doctor On Demand, to seek out their guidance on how to cope with loneliness this holiday season. 

    Know that it’s normal to feel more lonely during the holidays
    Feeling lonely or melancholy during this time of the year isn’t abnormal. So if you find yourself feeling less enthusiastic as the holidays grow near, Dr. Benders-Hadi said these feelings aren’t uncommon. “Many people feel more lonely during the holidays since this time of year may bring back memories of time spent with family members they have lost, or feelings of sadness around the status of relationships they have with family or friends,” she told The Everygirl. “There is so much pressure to get into the holiday spirit that if you are not feeling joyous, this time of year can be very difficult.” Since we aren’t alone in having these feelings during the holidays, how do we navigate them? Our experts have a few tips. 

    Connect virtually
    Both experts agree that virtual connections can be beneficial. “Virtual connections can absolutely create a positive sense of community,” Benders-Hadi said. “Similar to how many individuals find it easier to connect to healthcare professionals from the comfort of their own home, the same rings true for developing new friendships and connections. When connecting virtually, the reach of your community is also so much more widespread across the nation and even the world, so you have the ability to learn and experience things you may never have had the opportunity to otherwise.”
    While virtual connections offer an opportunity to open up your world, Saltz said, don’t be afraid to connect one on one. “You need to pump up the emotional content of the conversation when it’s virtual,” she explained. “Be kinder, express more positive feelings, and listen to them more.”

    Source: West Elm

    Fill your time with a new hobby, but don’t isolate
    When we went into quarantine, I was the new hobby queen until I got fatigued. After talking with my therapist, I soon realized that those activities made me feel busy, but still left me feeling alone. If you’re going to pick up a new hobby, bring those you love in on it. “It’s actually more helpful to reach out to others and try to have more intimate, valuable conversations with them,” Saltz said. “That will make you feel better than a solo activity.”
    If you’re unable to go home for the holidays, try booking an online cooking experience with Airbnb (I love them) or schedule a time with a group of your family members to learn a sacred holiday recipe like sweet potato pie or mac and cheese. This way, you’re still a part of your family traditions, but now in a new way.

    Be supportive of others
    Everyone will be dealing with something different this holiday season, including loss. If you don’t know what to say to someone who is grieving, our mental health experts have sound advice. “If you know someone coping with the loss of a loved one this holiday season, reach out to let them know you care,” Benders-Hadi advised. “It can be easy to get caught up in negative thinking and grief around this time of the year, so showing that person you are thinking of them can go a long way. A simple phone call or a small gesture are great ways to display kindness to someone struggling.” Saltz added that normalizing a loved one’s grief is also important. “[Express] that you understand it is sad, rather than saying things like, ‘Don’t be sad.’ Reminisce with them of happy times with that lost one, be supportive, and be present.”

    Plan moments to look forward to
    COVID-19 has changed how we live and plan to spend time with our family and friends, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun reminiscing about old times while being hopeful about the future. “If you can’t be with those you love this holiday season, get together on a video call and share a laugh or some memories from afar. You can even start making plans for what you will do when you can see each other again. Having something to look forward to can help ease stress in these uncertain times, even if you have to do so with flexible travel dates,” said Benders-Hadi.  

    I hate to say this is the “new normal” because, let’s face it, none of what we’re experiencing right now is normal. But, I hope one (or all) of these expert tips helps remind you, you aren’t alone.  More

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    6 Cozy Outfits That Are Perfect for a Casual Thanksgiving

    Listen, I get it: even those amongst us who get the most possible joy from cute clothes are pretty over anything but sweats this year. What started out as wearing real clothes just for ourselves to work from home in has turned into fatigue and prioritizing comfort over all else—and hell, I think we deserve that.You don’t need me to tell you that this year, Thanksgiving—which usually serves as the holiday with the highest-stakes outfit planning and the runway for proving your family that you are, in fact, the most fashionable cousin—looks a bit, well, different. Most of us aren’t going to put on our usual Thanksgiving look to sit in the house with our immediate family at most, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear your old, stained sweats; we say that the strategy for this year is wearing cute sweats.
    We’ve styled six different outfits that are perfect for feeling a little special come Turkey day, while also ensuring that you’ll be extra cozy. Bonus: there isn’t a pair of jeans in sight.

    1.

    joggers / joggers (plus-size option) bodysuit / mug / slippers

    2.

    sweater / pants / loafers / necklace

    3.

    pants / pants (plus-size option) sweater / slippers / hoops

    4.

    pants / pants (plus-size option) / turtleneck / slippers / necklace

    5.

    cardigan / joggers / joggers (plus-size option) slippers / scrunchie

    6.

    joggers / joggers (plus-size option) / sweater / bow / socks More

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    7 Outfits to Copy for Thanksgiving—No Matter What You’re Doing

    Of all of the holidays of the entire year, the one that gets treated the most like a fashion show is, without a shadow of a doubt, Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s all the rich, warm colors that come with autumn or maybe it’s just the chance to show your cousin who the top dog of the family is, but a Thanksgiving outfit comes with a lot of pressure to perform.Yes, we know Thanksgiving looks a little bit different this year than others. You might be seeing less people than usual, or you might be choosing to stay home altogether—but dare I say, the show must go on. I know that for myself, my immediate family consisting of a total of four of us will be seeing me dress to the nines while they make fun of me from the comfort of their pajamas—to each their own.

    To help alleviate the decision making you have to do (stick to choosing which pie you want to eat instead!), we’ve styled seven outfits perfect for your Thanksgiving dinner. Bonus: most of them don’t require real pants!

    1.

    pants / button-up / necklace / sneakers

    2.

    dress / tights / boots / hoops

    3.

    knit dress / shacket / booties / sunglasses

    4.

    sweater / pants / boots / coat

    5.

    skirt / sweater / boots / necklace

    6.

    joggers / sweater / slippers / mug

    7.

    sweater vest / blouse/ jeans / booties More

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    How to Recreate Every One of Rachel Green’s Thanksgiving Outfits

    In this world, there are two universal truths: one is that Jennifer Anniston simply doesn’t age, and the other is that some way, somehow, Rachel Green’s Friends outfits remain in style as time goes on.Rachel Green’s outfits (and hair, obviously) defined the ’90s, and her cool-girl, effortless looks all offer something to aspire to even in 2020. Sure, Monica and Phoebe had looks that will stick in our minds until the end of time, but Rachel just got it. She seldom wore something that we wouldn’t happily wear today, and considering it’s 25 years later, that’s saying something.
    Every year, one of the most difficult dressing conundrums is, of course, choosing at Thanksgiving look, and who better to turn to for inspiration than Rachel Green herself? We’ve replicated every Thanksgiving outfit Rachel ever wore, from her iconic football look to what she cooked her infamous trifle in. (Never mind that we might not be leaving our homes for it this year, we say the show must go on!). 

    1. Season 1, Episode 9

    Rachel’s first Thanksgiving outfit was, in my humble opinion, one of her best. The simplicity of this sweater with some black pants screams “I don’t need to try too hard to be the best-dressed cousin.”

    sweater / mom jeans / black booties / watch

    2. Season 3, Episode 9

    When I think of a Friends Thanksgiving episode, my mind goes straight to this one—and we have a feeling that quarantine Rachel would be wearing something similar to this this year.

    shirt / long-sleeve shirt / joggers / shoes / hat

    3. Season 4, Episode 8

    Yes, Ross was the worst in this episode, but Rachel’s chic layered look was (almost) distracting enough to steal the whole episode.

    turtleneck / shirt / skirt / boots

    4. Season 5, Episode 8

    Leave it to Rachel Green to be wearing one of 2020’s top fall trends: fringe. This subtle touch of it on the lower-half of her sleeves is more Thanksgiving dinner, less boho, and we couldn’t love it more.

    sweater / jeans / black boots / necklace

    5. Season 6, Episode 9

    Rachel didn’t know a thing about how to bake a trifle, but she did know about picking the perfect color sweater for Thanksgiving dinner. Paired with a red lip? To die for.

    sweater / skirt / black booties

    6. Season 7, Episode 8

    In all of Friends, this is one of my top three favorite looks worn by any character. This is all-black done right with a mix of textures to make it interesting. A long black leather skirt and knee-high leather boots? It doesn’t get better than that.

    leather skirt / sweater / boots

    7. Season 8, Episode 9

    The star of this episode was Brad Pitt, but the runner up was this whimsical lace top that was as festive as they come. 

    top / top (affordable option) / jeans / layered necklace / boots

    8. Season 9, Episode 8

    A wine-colored sweater is the quintessential go-to of Thanksgiving wear, but we think Rachel would swap these pants for 2020’s faux-leather trend (in a similar color, of course). The result? The fall-toned color palette of our dreams.

    sweater / pants / earrings / booties

    9. Season 10, Episode 8

    Nobody does a twist on preppiness like Rachel Green, and lucky for us, preppy looks are back in full-swing for 2020. Take inspiration from Rachel and layer a black sweater tank over a crisp, white button-up, and you’ve got an understated-but-festive winner of an outfit.

    tank / button-up / jeans / bracelet / boots More