my guide to thriving on thanksgiving


Years ago, I dreaded holidays like Thanksgiving. For weeks in advance, I’d have thoughts like:

There’s going to be so much food there, how am I ever going to be able to control myself the entire time? 

Now, I look forward to these days. Instead of dreading the food, I’m so excited by it. And I know that I can completely enjoy my family without having anxious food thoughts cloud my brain.

I want that for you too, so I’ve put together a short little guide with my best tips for not just surviving, but THRIVING on Thanksgiving.

Because you deserve to thrive. Enjoy!!

1. How Do You Want To Feel? 


Danielle LaPorte is the master behind the concept of deciding FIRST how you want to feel, and then setting goals or actions around those feelings.

Imaging yourself on Thanksgiving day. How do you want to feel? Choose 1-3 words. Maybe it’s connected, relaxed, calm, or energized.

Then, think about what actions, practices or steps to take in order to help yourself feel that way. For instance, let’s take the word “calm”. How can you feel calm on Thanksgiving day?

Maybe you…

  • get up 30 minutes early so you have some alone time before rushing to your in-laws
  • drink hot tea throughout the day
  • take frequent 5 minute bathroom breaks where you get to retreat from all the bustling conversation and regroup with yourself
  • get organized the night before so there’s less to think about the day of
  • watch how much sugar you consume (if you’re someone who loses the feeling of calm when you have sugar running through your system)

Setting intentions for how you want to feel and then taking action to plan to feel that way can leave you feeling great on any day, even Thanksgiving.

And the better you feel, the less you’ll need to turn to food to fill in the voids.

2. Move Your Booty


It’s much easier to take care of yourself when you feel connected to yourself. And one of the best ways to feel connected to yourself is by getting IN your body – moving your bones!

Try to carve out at least 30 minutes to move on Thanksgiving Day. Go for a brisk walk with your mom, take a family trip to the gym, or make up your own workout in the backyard.

It can be something totally silly, fun, and random, but do something that gets you IN your body and feeling connected.

I’d recommend doing this in the morning before the day begins, and then if you can, doing something again in the afternoon, even if it’s just swinging on the swings for 10 minutes. Any movement breaks you can take will add up to helping you feel amazing and energized all day.

3. Dress for Success: Comfy Chic 


Set yourself up to feel great on Thanksgiving by wearing something fun and stylish yet comfortable at the same time.

If you have pantyhose digging into you or a blouse that’s too tight, you’re going to automatically feel like crap.

And usually, when we feel crappy, we eat to soothe our uncomfortable feelings.

Why put yourself through that?

Pick out an outfit that feels fun to slip into but that’s also completely comfortable. Go for soft materials, pants that are actually your size, and tops that hug you in all the right spots. If you’re not super excited about your outfit of choice, you can always spruce it up with a bold necklace and a red lip.

Have fun with this, and remember that it pays to feel comfortable – and therefore confident – all day long!

4. Fullness-wise, aim to feel “good” at the end of the day. That’s it. 


There might be tons of food thoughts running through your head right now — how much can I eat? What if I eat one piece of pie and can’t stop? 

Thanksgiving is a big food day, and even normal eaters will overeat on Thanksgiving. It’s normal. It’s human. It doesn’t matter.

Restricting yourself will feel like crap — you’ll feel deprived and likely, you’ll end up binge eating later. So I would advise not to go that route.

However, out of love for yourself, you deserve to feel good at the end of the day. On these holidays, I try to just say to myself “let’s try to feel good”. I don’t have to feel ready to run a marathon, but I also don’t want to feel like I’m going to be sick.

If you simply went into the day with the intention to feel “good” afterward, what would that look like for you?

5. Be Present With Your Loved Ones


You’re gonna kick yourself if you wake up after Thanksgiving and feel like you were in your head all day about the food and you didn’t settle into the love all around you.

Often times we turn to food for pleasure, but what if we got SO much pleasure elsewhere?

Think back to a time when you were so happy that you forgot about food. How can we channel some of that toward Thanksgiving?

Although sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie bring me as much pleasure as the next girl, there is also SO much other goodness that Thanksgiving brings.

Football games, funny cousins, getting to squeeze babies, belly laughs, fascinating conversations, etc.

Play a little game with yourself to see how much fun you can have with the people around you. How much can you love them?

6. Take Time To Reflect On All The Good


My family has a tradition of going around the table and everyone saying something they’re thankful for ( I cry like a baby every time — ridiculous), but this year I’m going to aim to also have some time on my own to personally reflect on everything good going on in my life right now.

Gratitude is SO crucial for a happy life. It’s so easy to get caught up in comparison, lack, and what’s wrong, and the anecdote to that is gratitude and appreciation.

It’s fun to start making a list of everything you’re grateful for and watch it keep growing and growing. All of a sudden you realize how much good you have going on.

Remember, what we focus on grows. 

In the comments below, I’d love to hear:

a. What are you wearing on Thanksgiving? (I need help deciding!)

b. Is there anything you need advice / support / coaching around regarding Thanksgiving? I’m here to coach you in the comments, so ask away. I’ll be around all day today to reply. 

If you loved this guide and want to share it, click here to tweet about it!

I hope you have a delicious, joyful and love-filled Thanksgiving.



P.S. It’s not too late to join in on the fun we’re having in our Holiday Challenge. You can sign up here.


Share with your friends

Join the Conversation

  1. I’m feeling really good going into Thanksgiving for the first time ever! We’re hosting, which is my favorite thing to do. I’m starting my day with a Turkey Trot with girlfriends and did a ton of prep work so that the day of I can just relax. I delegated the turkey to my husband. I’ll be working the oven as I warm up the sides we prepped and am looking forward to kicking back in my PJ’s after the main event! 🙂

  2. After reading your thanksgiving guide ,I feel much better about the day, my family are coming over and we always have a good time,I am going to enjoy them and think less about the meal…..

  3. I LOVE this guide 🙂 Great job, Jamie! As far as what I’m wearing…AH! I don’t know yet either! I just got a couple of flowy tops that are really pretty, but I also have a flowy dress….too many options 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. wearing a dress with wedge boots and a new full coverage push up bra that flatters me nicer than the regular coverage ones 😡 TMI? And Jamie, I plan on removing myself for dessert. I’m not in a good place right now :/ I also plan on fake drinking with lite grape juice. Is this strategic or disordered?

    • Bethany, thanks for sharing. I’m not sure what you mean by not being in a good place right now, but what I’ve found is that “removing” ourselves from dessert or telling ourselves we can’t have something usually just makes us want it more. Our Soul feels like she’s missing out on life! It’s hard to advise you in this post, but I would say just to choose whatever you feel like is the most loving thing you can do for yourself on Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s enjoying 1 decadent dessert and truly savoring it? Maybe it’s slowly drinking a delicious glass of wine? Or if this feels like too much, maybe we can work on it for next year. Follow your heart, darling 🙂

  5. thank you for posting this Jamie! great tips – I love the one about dressing for comfort =) I am thankful for you and your blog!

  6. Love these tips! Thank you for sharing them!! We have pretty casual plans (a giant potluck party by the beach), so I think I’m going to wear riding boots, skinny jeans, an oversized cozy sweater, and a newsboy cap so I don’t have to deal with cooking AND making my hair cute. 😉

  7. This was perfection. I’ve been feeling a bit panicky about thanksgiving and this just calmed so many fears. I especially love choosing a few words to focus on and challenging myself to see how much fun I can have rather than agonizing over ever little morsel of food. As far as outfits, I’ve picked out my favorite comfy jeans, riding boots, and a float cream sweater. To jazz up my outfit of comfort, I’m throwing on a cheetah print scarf, cause everything’s better with cheetah 😉

  8. LOVE this post! I just started the 21 day IE challenge, and this post came right on time to prepare me for the holidays. I especially liked “How do you want to feel”; that really hit home. I want to enjoy wine and food and not feel super stuffed and uncomfortable 🙂

Speak Your Mind