enjoy every bite

November 27, 2011

I haven’t really told you all that much about my Thanksgiving.

And to be honest with you, I took zero pictures throughout the day. But you know, it was typical — we ate, we ate, and we ate some more.

Thanksgiving has always been all about the food for me. When I was younger, we woke up and waited around while my dad made a few dozen cinnamon rolls for us to all sit down to eat our very rare breakfast together. After we stuffed ourselves for the first time, we headed over to my aunt’s house where we ate the same foods each and every year — mashed potatoes, stuffing, broccoli/cheese casserole, sweet potatoes laden with butter and cinnamon. Dessert always came much too quickly as our stomachs could never handle another bite. But pumpkin pie, fudge, and one of my aunt’s famous cakes would always be out waiting for us.

This year was no different.

The Husband and I started the day off with a breakfast together — French toast casseroles have become our Thanksgiving tradition, and we were filled with carbs and sugary maple syrup before the festivities even began. We then made our way over to his grandma’s house where we ate dinner #1, and followed that up with a trip to my aunt’s for dinner #2. Because I de-glutenized (technical term) all of my favorite dishes, I had quite the variety of food to choose from. Okay, let’s be real — there was no choosing. I ate it all. When dessert came around, there was no room — but I made room for things like fudge (talk about a stomachache) and pumpkin squares.

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And then I repeated it all again Friday for leftover night.

I figured there were two thing I could do about all of the holiday indulgences.

The first thing I could have done was beat myself up over it. Get mad at myself for eating when I’m not hungry, for eating foods that made me sick, for stuffing myself until my pants felt unreasonably tight (I actually wore jeans on Friday).

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The other option I had was to enjoy every single bite.

There have been years where I was in the former group rather than the latter — beaten myself up about all the butter and sugar, looking forward for my typical routines to get back to normal in the next few days. But really how is that enjoying the holidays? A few years ago I vowed to myself not to let holiday indulgences get the best of me. To focus on how good they are. To remember a few days will not make or break me of my health. To know that being with friends and family during the holidays is what it is really about, and if I want to indulge with them, so be it.

But really this is about more than just the holidays. I find that people beat themselves up about indulgences far more often than just on the holidays. Want that extra cookie? Then eat it! Life is far too short to be worrying about silly things such as the calories in a cookie or treat.

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Life life to the fullest — and enjoy every last bite.

Question: How was your holiday weekend? What was the best thing you ate?

{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Khushboo November 27, 2011 at 7:23 am

Love your outlook and completely agree! Regardless of whether or not you give yourself guilt, you’ve anyways eaten so you may as well enjoy it! And holidays aren’t a regular occurrence so it’s okay to diverge from your normal eating habits during! I can’t remember which blogger coined the term ‘funger’ but I love it- eating out of fun instead of hunger…eating doesn’t have to be so calculative–> and even though it took me a while to realize this, I’m glad I’m finally “okay” with “splurging all the way” every so often!

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cleaneatingchelsey November 27, 2011 at 6:19 pm

I love the “funger” term – so funny!

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cameo November 27, 2011 at 7:25 am

I couldn’t agree more! It’s the feelings of guilt and remorse that are the most dangerous aspect of any type of overeating because those feelings lead to restrictive behaviors that then lead to binge mentality that leads to beating yourself up that leads to restricting that leads to binging. If you simply remove the ‘beating up’ and replace it with an honest enjoyment, and then go right back to life as usual, there will be no reason to restrict. Remove that part of the cycle and there will be no cycle!

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cleaneatingchelsey November 27, 2011 at 7:26 am

Amen, sister!

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Lindsay @ Lindsay's List November 27, 2011 at 7:52 am

Preach it sister! Wholeheartedly agree – one day (or even a week) of poor eating will not make you a fattie.

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cleaneatingchelsey November 27, 2011 at 6:20 pm

and if a trainer says it, it has to be true!

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katie November 27, 2011 at 7:58 am

SO true girl! I used to be that girl that would feels SO guilty and bad about myself when I would eat unhealthy eats or things I don’t usually eat, but I found it is no way to be. Life too short like you said, and I will live it to the fullest!

xoxo <3

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Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles November 27, 2011 at 7:58 am

I love this attitude, mostly because it’s the same as mine! Our holidays are all about the food, and I always make it a point to eat as much as I can stuff into my tummy. Give me a day or two and I’m back on track and back to my healthy self!

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Jennifer Lee November 27, 2011 at 8:10 am

Thanks! I totally needed to hear this. Thanks for putting it into perspective. Also, thanks for recognizing that the guilt exists. Ive read far too many of these thanksgiving blogs in the last few days with girls saying how happy they were to be stuffed and go to bed stuffed. Only to wake up the next morning to some 10 mile run. Thanks for keeping it real Chelsey!

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes November 27, 2011 at 8:15 am

Great post! I completly agree :)

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Amy November 27, 2011 at 8:16 am

Thanks for this simple reminder, Chelsey- best attitude ever!!!

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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen November 27, 2011 at 8:20 am

Great attitude to have otherwise the holidays are more stressful than enjoyable. I used to feel guilty about indulging come Thanksgiving & Christmas too but recently it’s just kind of gone away. I think it has something to do with eating healthier and exercising the rest of time. Knowing that, makes me realize that one (or a few) days of indulgence don’t matter in the long run.

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Trainer Kjirsten @ Balanced Healthy Life November 27, 2011 at 8:32 am

We had a great Thankgiving and ate a lot as well! I made homemade cinnamon rolls so we were stuffed with carbs as well before the festivities even started and it was so much fun!

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cleaneatingchelsey November 27, 2011 at 6:20 pm

We do cinnamon rolls on Christmas – they’re the best!!

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Kaila @healthyhelperblog! November 27, 2011 at 8:34 am

I needed this! Being on vacation far away from my standard diet and kitchen coupled with the holiday indulgences was making me a little anxious but this post is SO reassuring! I completely agree! In the grand scheme of things one or two days is not going to affect you in anyway!!

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Katie @ Peace Love and Oats November 27, 2011 at 8:43 am

I actually didn’t eat that much on Thanksgiving, but the next day I found my favorite Ben and Jerry’s that I thought was discontinued, as well as my mother’s M&M stash…, and enjoyed every bite (and the subsequent sugar high)! Haha But other than christmas eve and Christmas day, I can’t let this theory continue over christmas break since 4 weeks might be a bit much…

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cleaneatingchelsey November 27, 2011 at 6:21 pm

I can’t wait to hear how your first GF Thanksgiving went!

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nicole marie November 27, 2011 at 8:49 am

lovely post.
i was anxious as heck all day.
but at the end of the day, i returned to a state of peace. that was truly a nice feeling. x

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Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles November 27, 2011 at 9:12 am

Perfect post, Chelsey! Absolutely perfect! ….You’re right- we need to concentrate on the moment and the people we are with, they come together with food to make a wonderful time of year. Enjoy every bite of food- and of life <3 How true!

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cleaneatingchelsey November 27, 2011 at 6:21 pm

I agree – and I thought of you today in church. One of the special songs was “Blessings” by Laura Story (listen to it if you’ve never heard of it) and you were one of the people I said a prayer for during that song.

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Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles November 27, 2011 at 8:30 pm

I can’t even begin to explain how blessed I feel by this reply… First off, you cared enough to pray for me. That means *so* much to me and I needed that right now, at this moment. Then, you introduce me to this song. I can’t even lie, all of this combined to put a tear or two in my eye and a smile in my heart. Thank you, Chelsey. *huge hug & a smile* Truly, thank you.

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cleaneatingchelsey November 28, 2011 at 5:54 am

You are more than welcome!

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J @ ... semplicemente j ... November 27, 2011 at 9:13 am

This year it was very interesting … I ate everything I wanted in moderation and got up from the table feeling normal … then came round two on Friday with leftovers and that is when I felt I overindulged … I am visiting with family enjoying every minute and bite that goes along with it … I am with you … I am enjoying it!

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cleaneatingchelsey November 27, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Yeah, the second day can be a little bit tricky!

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Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries November 27, 2011 at 9:21 am

So so true lady. Thank you for your thoughts. This was definitely encouraging to me as its something i need and want to do better at.

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Lauren November 27, 2011 at 9:23 am

A-MEN! There’s nothing wrong with indulging during the holiday or any time for that matter! If I want dessert, you better believe I’m having it. I’m just not having the entire pan of cookies or the entire pie. Although I’d like to :P

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Amanda November 27, 2011 at 9:28 am

I love your attitude towards the holidays and indulging. I find that after lots of heavy foods and sweets, my body naturally craves fresh fruits and veggies, tons of water, and exercise (even if it’s just a long walk outside). It all balances out in the long run, so no sense in beating ourselves up over a couple of days of indulging.

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cleaneatingchelsey November 27, 2011 at 6:23 pm

It sure does balance out! All I have wanted today are veggies!

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin November 27, 2011 at 11:13 am

I couldn’t agree more! Worrying about calories totally just sucks the fun out of holidays. Actually, it just sucks the fun out of life in general. :P I’m so glad I feel comfortable eating the occasional treat now! Like yesterday I baked my friend Nanaimo bars for his birthday and in the past I wouldn’t have let myself eat one, but yesterday I did. And it was glorious. :D

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Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health November 27, 2011 at 11:26 am

Great post. I absolutely agree! It’s not worth it to beat yourself up over it. I indulged my head off (random way to say that haha) and I’m glad I did. And you know what else? I haven’t worked out since thanksgiving day. I have really wanted to but I got sick and my sinuses are driving me crazy so I’m just not gonna worry about that either. I can get back on track this week when I feel better :)

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cleaneatingchelsey November 27, 2011 at 6:23 pm

meh, get better instead!

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kathleen @ the daily crumb November 27, 2011 at 12:01 pm

i love this post. i spent years beating myself up over nights like thanksgiving, when, in reality, that accomplishes nothing. my thinking is… if you’re going to indulge, enjoy it! and get back on track when the occasion is over.

the best thing i ate was insanely cheesy and creamy lobster mac n cheese.

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cleaneatingchelsey November 27, 2011 at 6:23 pm

aaand mac n cheese sounds delicious.

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga November 27, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Life is far too short to be worrying about silly things such as the calories in a cookie or treat. <—

AMEN!

Glad you enjoyed your holiday; friends, food, family, fun time….and those pumpkin squares. Yum!

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Amber K November 27, 2011 at 12:57 pm

This is exactly the kind of thinking that I had this year. In previous years I have totally gotten down on myself, and I was sick and tired of it! A few days doesn’t undo many more of my normal routine. Glad you had a great Thanksgiving!

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Tina @ Best Body Fitness November 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I think the only thing I need to say to this post is “amen”. I’m so much happier recognizing that this is a time of year to not worry myself with such insignificant things like calories and live in the moment. I do try not to eat so much I feel sick and only have what I really enjoy, but I still eat plenty more than normal. And I’m perfectly fine with that. It saddens me to think all the holiday meals and times not enjoyed because i was too busy mentally tallying calories.

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cleaneatingchelsey November 27, 2011 at 6:24 pm

mentally tallying calories = not a way to live – you’re right! Hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving weekend!

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Megan@eatmybeets November 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Good post! And very true :-) I find that I’m so much more satisfied by my meal when I just enjoy it. I also (oddly) find that I don’t overeat as badly.

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Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon November 27, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Thanks for the reminder about enjoying the holidays and not beating yourself up–so important!

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Sarah November 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm

You’re right- why obsess over an indulgence. It’s so refreshing to just ENJOY it.
I think the best things I ate were my long-time favorites: sweet potatoes (both candied and baked) and pecan pie. OH, pecan pie. I look forward to that every year.

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cleaneatingchelsey November 27, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Pecan pie = blissful!

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Kelsey November 27, 2011 at 4:47 pm

so true! I wish I didn’t get so anxious before a holiday party, but WHO CARES!?!? there is always the next day to eat healthy again, plus, it’s fine to indulge!

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Katie November 27, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I felt the same way this Thanksgiving and frankly it’s exhausting to beat yourself up, because you enjoyed some darn good food. Life is too short! I don’t feel amazing today, but hey I’m getting back on track and going to work hard this week, but still have that piece of fudge tonight. ;) The best thing I ate was my Mom’s cranberry sauce. LOVE!

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cleaneatingchelsey November 27, 2011 at 6:24 pm

GOsh I love cranberry sauce – I definitely am still eating it!

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Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn November 27, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Don’t worry, I only took one picture, and it was a family one ;) Make me summa dat bfast?!

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Lauren November 27, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Truer words have never been spoken. ;) I didn’t take as many pictures as I normally do because I was so involved in being with my family. Nothing wrong with that.

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Kit-Kat November 27, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Holiday was Great! I think I already have stated to every person I follow that the YAMS my mom makes are THE BEST!!! She cuts them in circles, layers them in a dish, and squeezes the juice of a couple lemons on the yams. Then she covers the dish in foil, and bakes untill tender. It tastes unbelievable! And there is no added sugar, or marshmallows!!! It is the most sweetest, simple yam dish in the world!

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Erica @ For the Sake of Cake November 27, 2011 at 7:14 pm

I definitely agree & live my life that way too. I try not to get too caught up in what I’m eating, especially on holidays — that’s why I work out & eat relatively healthy the rest of the time!

Although I AM looking forward to getting back to “normal” tomorrow… my pants are a little snug too! ;-)

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Ruth November 27, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Thanks for this post, Chelsey. I definitely enjoyed food & family this weekend, and got off-track my running schedule. When I was really stinking at running this evening, I was getting pretty frustrated with myself for my “terrible health choices.” You are so right, though…this is NOT something to dwell on! Not really that big of a deal.

What WAS a big deal was sharing the joy of pumpkin pie with my Daddy. We had to make a special trip to the store on Thanksgiving because no pie got baked by any of the family…and Daddy (and I) secretly felt that Thanksgiving wasn’t complete without some pumpkin.

However, the BEST thing I ate was a navel orange my in-laws brought from their place in Florida. It was SO good!

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Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile November 27, 2011 at 7:31 pm

I completely agree with this! I used to get bent out of shape if I had too many desserts or something that didn’t seem “healthy enough”. This weekend I’ve honestly had dessert every single night and loved every bit of it. And guess what? I actually lost a pound. I’m not trying to lose weight in any way shape or form, but it just goes to show you that indulging a little more than usual is nothing more than enjoyable :)

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Ali November 27, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Its so funny isn’t it. If a friend told us they felt awful about all they had eaten and how bad they felt about it we would tell them to chill out and just enjoy the holiday and some yummy food, and be really kind to them – yet we find it hard to be kind to ourselves!

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Melissa November 27, 2011 at 8:02 pm

love the post doll :)

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Lauren November 27, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I, unfortunately, am a member of the former. I am taking steps towards getting better, though. I can’t wait for the day to sit and enjoy time with my family. Instead of being anti-social, uncomfortable, counting calories in my head, thinking about my next workout, and just wanting everyone out of my house so I can be alone. What kind of life am I living? And although I think about this WHILE I’m feeling that way, I just can’t shake it. But I am SO determined because the holiday you described sounds wonderful. Inspirational and good post, chelsey! Glad you had a wonderful and enjoyable Thanksgiving!

Best thing I ate = Stuffing, for sure.

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Marian November 27, 2011 at 8:28 pm

that sounds like a really nice T-day. I agree we can’t beat ourselves up over what we eat. It = us getting no where.

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Anna @ The Guiltless Life November 27, 2011 at 11:57 pm

It’s true! Living a ‘guiltless life’ as I call it is not just about eating good things, but about not feeling guilty when we eat bad ones – guilt is such a wasted emotion! Thanks for the post :) .

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esmemerrie November 28, 2011 at 12:07 am

I love that you two have a thanksgiving breakfast tradition! so cute! and I’ve heard that quote about the rocking chair before yet it still impacted me! It’s such an important thing to be reminded of!

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Michaela November 28, 2011 at 12:08 am

so true, so very true!
(how could you wear jeans???)
best thing I ate… hm. I really can´t choose! Too much good food :)

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Sarah November 28, 2011 at 12:43 am

Really glad to hear you enjoyed your holiday!

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Tiff November 28, 2011 at 5:16 am

I know exactly what you mean. Most years I search the Internet for tips and tricks on how to stay slim through the holidays. Not this year. I’m going to enjoy the big meals and try to keep healthy in between. No worries! Holidays are fun, so I plan to keep them that way. :)

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Kaaren November 28, 2011 at 11:58 am

I am debating the “clean eating” way of life. I know I should go ahead and get started but UGH! Seems to be overwhelming my “carb addicted brain”. But back to the subject of today’s post. Thank you so much for the yummy looking recipe. Also thank you for reminding me that regardless of what type of food we put in our bodies, we need to eat in moderation. I always beat myself up over every bite I consume if it isn’t on the “approved diet” list. I will say this though, we had lots, I mean lots of food over Thanksgiving. And while all of it was good, I didn’t feel controlled by my food anymore. I have always turned to food for comfort and love. I don’t know if I am no longer satisfied by all of the junk or what. It didn’t “do” anything for me. The mashed potatoes were, mashed potatoes…the dressing, was dressing…the pumpkin pie was, pumpkin pie. In fact I am throwing out most of the left overs today. I don’t want to eat any of that food anymore. Thank you for your wonderful recipes and I look forward to your blog everyday.

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