3 Reasons Why You Eat Yourself Into a Food Coma on Thanksgiving

Why is Thanksgiving a binge-fest that leads to a food coma?

Why do we not only allow, but plan to give in to our gluttonous selves on the last Thursday of November?

Why is Thanksgiving all about the dessert table? The puffed fried appetizers? The black Friday food plans? The in-dul-gence?

It’s like we’ve taken this holiday and made it all about stuffing our senses like we stuff that bird.

But here’s the deal: The reason we eat so much on Thanksgiving may not have everything (or anything) to do with the food.

In fact, it’s more than possible that the food is just a symptom of something bigger.

Think about it…

What would it look like to eat that Thanksgiving meal on a Tuesday in July? Most likely, you would eat that decadent meal in an empowered and healthy way, without eater’s remorse and the three-day, post Turkey Day food coma.

So if it isn’t just the food, what is it about Thanksgiving that makes it so challenging for us to navigate this holiday easily? Read on, because we think we’ve cracked the code.

3 Reasons Why You Eat Yourself Into a Food Coma on Thanksgiving

1. Stress comes with the holidays. 

Stress is a huge trigger for overeating, and since Thanksgiving brings on stressors like travel, broken routines, extra time in crowds, and navigating relationships, it’s no wonder people turn to the comfort of food.

But not all stressors are bad. The holidays can also bring on good stressors like spending time with your 2-year-old niece or 85-year-old grandmother, writing your holiday cards, watching your alma mater’s nail-biter of an annual football game, and loading up your virtual shopping cart with anticipated Black Friday deals. These may all be fun and wonderful things, but they take extra energy and can bring on stress, even if it is “good” stress.

So during the holidays, you’ll want to keep your stress level to a minimum as much as you can, because with stress comes the hormone cortisol, which is destructive to both your waistline and your health.

Our tip: Plan for these stressors, both good and bad, so you won’t feel overwhelmed and not know why. Identifying the stressors of the day will help keep you in check and gain perspective. When you bump into a stressor, say a mantra to yourself like, “be in the moment” to help remind you to stay present and not get overwhelmed.

2. Your world is disrupted. 

Is it possible your Thanksgiving food coma is a result of you being out of your routine?

Thanksgiving is a day, followed by a day off, followed by a weekend that turns our regular day-to-day schedule on its proverbial ear.

Schools and many businesses are closed. Our world breaks routine.

The thing is, your body likes routine. It likes to sleep in its own bed, use your own toilet, and sleep and wake at the same time.

Routines are healthy, and even “good” disruptions keep our systems from humming at their best.

As much as possible, stick to your daily routine of sleep, morning habits, coffee or smoothie of choice, and wellness habits. The little bit of consistency will make it easier to recover from Thanksgiving and set you up for a healthy December.

3. Your nurtured self is on a shelf. 

Could the temptation to overdo it on the sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows be related to your disconnection with your body?

Let’s face it, celebrating Turkey Day is not always easy on the ol’ self-care routine. As a host, there is lots of planning, prepping, organizing, and expectation to manage. As a guest there are lines at the airport, traffic, and navigating which family gathering you show up to first.

Taking time to squeeze in a bubble bath, read a few pages of a novel, or visit your favorite Instagram accounts just may not happen. 

Any chance you can rethink this?

We need our nurturing time to restore balance to our bodies. Taking care of ourselves, beyond the basic teeth brushing, hair washing and toenail clipping takes us from surviving to thriving.

When your wellness isn’t thriving, you’re more likely to get sucked into overeating your way into a food coma, skipping the exercise, and having the extra glass of holiday cheer that starts a cycle of unhealthy behaviors.

Feed your soul like you’re feeding your tummy this Thanksgiving by listening to your favorite tunes, calling your bestie, or enjoying some other self-nurturing activity for a few minutes every day.

Feeling good leads to fueling right!

Enjoy yourself this Turkey Day, and do it in a way you can feel great about. Think beyond the food to the underlying reasons you may overdo it.

Maybe one of the reasons above speaks to you. Squash your stress, maintain balance in your world, and remember to nurture yourself. Happy Thanksgiving!

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About Nutritious Life Editors

The Nutritious Life Editors are a team of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts who not only subscribe to — and live! — the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, but also have access to some of the savviest thought leaders in the health and wellness space — including our founder and resident dietitian, Keri Glassman. From the hottest trends in wellness to the latest medical science, we stay on top of it all in order to deliver the info YOU need to live your most nutritious life.

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