Terri Kersch

Terri Kersch, MA, CWC, CHES
Certified Wellness Coach
Certified Health Education Specialist

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Terri’s Tilt — If It Was Turkey Day – Why Do We Feel So Stuffed?

As we return home from Thanksgiving weekend, or try to discover creative ways to use leftovers, many of us are pondering how much, or if, we over indulged this Thanksgiving. Others of us are filled with guilt, shame and dread. And some of us might have jumped on the treadmill the moment our guests departed! It is a common dilemma…this reality, fear and dread of overeating and gaining weight over the holidays. If one day can wreak such havoc…what will happen as we plunge into a month long holiday season?

Let’s look at the threats and the powerful opportunity Thanksgiving has provided us:

  1. Do a check in – what did you really consume and how did you feel while eating and afterward? We might be relieved or overwhelmed by this exercise. By actually writing down what you consumed, however, you have a realistic point to gather your resources and for discovery.
  2. What were you thinking going into Thanksgiving meal? Were we thinking
    1. “I am here to celebrate…bring it on!”
    2. “I over ate the appetizers, so I might as well keep right on going.”
    3. “I am going to taste everything, but keep it all in balance.”
    4. “Tomorrow’s a new beginning.”
    5. Realizing how we approached Thanksgiving’s menu helps us understand our consumption and may provide focus or area of change for the upcoming celebrations.
  3. Review any triggers or emotional, environmental or ----- that affected your food choices.
    1. Was it simply being together with family or friends that encouraged us to eat more than usual?
    2. Were you stressful, over tired, anxious, bored or overwhelmed?
    3. Did you fear you wouldn’t have that food again for a year, so you had to eat it while you could?
    4. Did the smells, textures, flavors and fun dictate what and how much I ate?
    5. Did you simply write off the day…
  4. What did you drink – or not?
    1. We need lose more than 2 quarts of water each day through respiration, transpiration and urination. We need to stay hydrated. Often thirst is misinterpreted as hunger.
    2. Drinking sodas, coffee, tea and other beverages doesn’t meet our body’s need for hydration. Water, water, water…and more water!
    3. How much alcohol did we consume? Alcohol provides 7 calories/gram, while carbohydrates and proteins offer 4 calories/gram and fat provides 9 calories/gram.
      1. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant – it slows our ability to burn calories
      2. Alcohol increases our appetite…all those foods look even better!
      3. The huge amount of calories you drink do not feed your body…they offer no nutrients and simply get stored.
  5. Did we maintain an exercise schedule? Usually exercise on Thanksgiving comprises moving to and away from the table. Write on that same list as A above, what activity you experienced throughout the day. Again, this provides great information and direction.
  6. Finally, write down any changes you would like to make for next Thanksgiving, or any next ‘feasting celebration’. Write them today, while they are fresh in your mind. Your comments might look like:
    1. “I am going to try things, but not eat seconds of anything, because I know there is probably more to come before the day is through” or
    2. “I am going to remember this ‘full’ feeling…I do not like it.”

Let’s all keep this exercise. Label it cleverly and put it where you will find it. I recommend clipping it to your datebook, or next November’s calendar and post a copy on your desk, calendar or workspace. Without guilt or shame, we are going to use this information to move toward healthier eating. We need not be the ones who get stuffed on Thanksgiving. Let’s use this information, unique to each one of us, to guide us. From it we can learn our attitudes, (discovering if our attitude helps or hinders us), our motivators, our Achilles’ heel (desserts), and our strength.

I invite you to discover a new, mindset around eating. Experiment with mindfulness. It is the opportunity to be aware of what we are eating; thoughtfully enjoying the food, the ambiance, the company and all around us. Mindfulness, most of all, helps us recognize that food is not good or bad, but necessary for nourishing our body. Mindfulness is about experiencing a great meal without allowing the food to ‘carry us away’. We become conscious of the amazing experience of hunger and the signals of fullness. Mindfulness empowers us to stop eating as we become full. We may even startle ourselves by discovering that less food really tastes better, and a bite of that pie is really all we wanted or needed.

As Thanksgiving Day is past, and may have left a few pounds on your waist, let’s be thankful for the opportunity to learn and become more healthy. I invite you to become aware of the powerful ability you have to develop a plan and succeed in helping your body discover and maintain healthy weight. We have a month or more of celebrations ahead. Let’s vividly remember that stuffed feeling and plan for holiday eating that allows us to thoroughly enjoy the foods we love, without wearing them as additional pounds for months to come. Let’s not waddle away from November like a turkey, but dance into the coming holidays. Don’t wait! Honor where you are and begin mindful eating and exercise today. You will be ahead of the nation by New Year’s Day. You will be closer to your healthy body, more lean and mean, and the rest of the world will still be asking the question…why did I eat all that?


Terri Kersch     (518) 368-2285     Contact me via email
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