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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our US podcast listeners! Today, Marchelle and I have some hints that will help you move through this holiday unscathed. Tune in as we discuss relationships, food, alcohol, and gratitude. If you plan ahead, you will succeed!

Some of this weeks episode highlights are:

12:02 Thanksgiving is always all about the food. And what I recommend that you do is to make a plan ahead of time. So ask yourself this question, are you going to splurge and go all out and just sort of eat whatever you want and try everything? So make that decision ahead of time. And if you splurge, try to just splurge for one day and not for the entire weekend.

15:09 One option to consider is to just do a completely low carb Thanksgiving, and make everything with low carb ingredients.

24:56 Remember exactly what this holiday is all about, which is giving thanks, gratitude, and appreciation. When we live in gratitude and appreciation for everything that we have, life has a way of opening up even more for us to appreciate.

--- Full Raw Transcription Below ---

Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:00):

You are listening to the Keep The Weight Off podcast with Dr. Angela, episode number 43.

Speaker 2 (00:07):

Welcome to The Keep The Weight Off podcast, where we bust all the dieting myths and discover not just how to lose weight, but more importantly, how to keep it off. We go way beyond the food and we use science and psychology to give you strategies that work. And now your host, Dr. Angela Zechmann.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:27):

Welcome back friends. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the United States, Happy Thanksgiving, Marchelle.

Marchelle (00:35):

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:37):

You know, I know Canada had their Thanksgiving in October. So for those of you in Canada, happy belated Thanksgiving. And, those of you in other parts of the world, we are super, super thankful that you're listening in on this podcast. I think probably most cultures have some sort of day of thanks. But you know, our country, it's like this big, big celebration and parades and food. Traditionally, Thanksgiving is all about food.

Marchelle (01:12):

Yes, mostly about food.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (01:12):

And it can be a really difficult holiday for those of us who struggle with food. Cause there's, you know, there's, there's a lot involved in this particular holiday. There's a lot of traditional foods. But then there's also time spent with family members that can be difficult. And this year might be quite a bit different than last year. With more people coming to the Thanksgiving meal than in than last year. Last year was just weird. Do you remember last year Marchelle? Like….

Marchelle (01:43):

I honestly don't even remember what we did for Thanksgiving. I know at our house, I think I remember our house was still being remodeled. Or our kitchen.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (01:54):

Oh yeah.

Marchelle (01:55):

So. we didn't, we didn't do anything plus the whole COVID.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (01:59):

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Last year I was completely alone on Thanksgiving for the first time ever. And that was because of COVID. I usually have a pretty decent sized gathering at my home. But I made a decision last year that I wasn't going to do that because the vaccines were not available yet. And I just was not going to entertain the possibility of having a super spreader event in my home. Right? So, I just went to the grocery store and I brought a Thanksgiving meal and I took it home and I ate it the next day. And it was so sad and we had, we did have a family zoom and you know that, but that's just not the same. It just isn't. So last year was definitely different for me. And I do think that happened to quite a few people. I've talked to our patients afterwards.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (02:51):

And a lot of people told me that it was kind of a lonely Thanksgiving. So I will say this year, I'm glad those days are over. And I'm super thankful for the vaccines that are going to allow us all to come together to celebrate this year. And this year I'm really looking forward to gathering with friends and family and enjoying the traditions. So, so, what do you have planned for Thanksgiving this year, Marchelle? Are you guys going to be like, having, going to somebody place, or having a bunch of people or how's that going to work for you?

Marchelle (03:25):

Yeah, we actually are going to a family, a relative of my husband's who has pretty large family. They're super fun people.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (03:35):

Oh, Okay. That sounds like fun.

Marchelle (03:38):

Yeah. There's some of my most favorite people that I've ever met. And we've never been to a Thanksgiving with them, although we've been to other events and it is a lot of fun. But I do know there's going to be a lot of temptation because family likes to cook.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (03:58):

Ah, okay. Well, that's why I wanted to have this podcast here on the day before Thanksgiving, because I want us all to have a good mindset as we move into this holiday and the whole holiday season. Next week, we're going to talk about some strategies for how to manage, you know, the whole December holiday season, but this week we're talking about Thanksgiving. And so from my perspective, there are four things to think about when it comes to the Thanksgiving holiday. And I'm going to talk about each of them and I'm going to help us to develop a strategy so that we can actually come out ahead and we don't end up with a lot of regrets. Right? And so from my perspective, the four aspects to consider are the food, alcohol if you indulge in alcohol, the relationships and gratitude, because it is Thanksgiving. Right?

Dr. Angela Zechmann (04:55):

So the first time I'm going to talk about are the relationships. In my world. People are always more important than anything else. And so I want all of our listeners to think about who you're going to be seeing on Thanksgiving day. So, maybe people are coming into your home or maybe you're going to be going to someone else's home. Think about who's going to be there and ask yourself, what do you think, and how do you feel about the people who are going to be there? And here is something that you could actually consider doing ahead of time. This will be really, really helpful. Just sit down with a paper and a pen and do some writing about the people that you're going to be seeing on Thanksgiving day. So for example, let's say you're going to go to your mother-in-law's home for Thanksgiving dinner, and maybe you don't have the greatest relationship with her.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (05:51):

And maybe you're feeling a little bit anxious about what she might say or do. Just write that down, put it on paper. Okay. Write down exactly what it is that you're afraid of, what thoughts you're thinking that cause you to feel that anxiety. Maybe you're worried that she's going to say something hurtful or that she's going to judge you in some way. That's really, really common. And think about how you're going to handle that. If she does and ask yourself, is there anything that you appreciate about her? So, for example, maybe you appreciate the way she cares so much about your spouse.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (06:32):

If you can focus on those thoughts instead of how she might judge you, I guarantee you're going to have a much better time and you might even see a different side of her this year. So think about, if you're, if you're worried that she's going to judge you and you're feeling anxious, you're going to behave in certain ways, you're going to feel defensive. Okay? So if you walk into that situation, feeling defensive, you're going to sort of have a certain energy about you. If you walk into that feeling appreciative, you're going to have a totally different energy about you. And different things will happen because of the energy that you bring to the table. Does that make sense?

Marchelle (07:19):

I totally have experience in this and that is exactly why we're going to one of my husband in-laws or one of his relatives for Thanksgiving, because everything Thanksgiving became so stressful for So, for our family. Because my mother gets very stressed out and she always goes way overboard for Thanksgiving. And by the time that we show up, she is in a bad mood. And then my sister and I, puts my sister and I in a bad mood, because then we're stressed out and then everybody starts kind of nitpicking at each other. And then by the time that we're eating, you know, hardly anybody would be talking because everybody would be kind of mad at that point. And then we'd all overeat. And of course, you know, everything that my mom makes you, you know, you have to eat every bit of it because you don't want to offend anybody because they made whatever they've made.

Marchelle (08:17):

And if any of the relatives like bring anything, you know, you have to try a little bit of everything. And so we always, always overeat. And then we would always leave, you know, in a pissed off mood. And it would last for days. And that it would happen like over and over and over again. I'm not really sure why Thanksgiving happens to be the holiday that that happens at, but in our family, when we all get together, Thanksgiving always seems to be, there's some kind of meltdown happens, something, you know, with one, one family member or another, you know?

Dr. Angela Zechmann (08:48):


Marchelle (08:50):

And so that's why we have, my husband and I, pretty much have come to the agreement that we, we take off typically for the Oregon coast, every Thanksgiving. Because of COVID, you know, that's changed our plans a little bit, but you know, for the last three years before COVID came around when we would take off for the Oregon coast. We would, you know, and we would just come to my parents' house for Christmas and everything would be fine.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (09:19):

That's so interesting.

Marchelle (09:20):

But yeah, I mean, it would just be the same old thing every single time. Like, you know, that there's going to be tension. You know, that, you know, so-and-so is going to be rude to so-and-so or to, so-and-so, doesn't get along very well with so-and-so. And we're all going be in the same room. And I don't know if anybody else has families like this, I'm sure everybody does. But then it's just like really tense. And then we, like I said, I always end up overeating because then I'm just trying to like deal with it. And so, you know, over at the, the hors d'oeuvre of table, you know, trying to, you know, eat and get through it. And so, and just leave really stressed out. So, that's been my past experience with things.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (10:01):


Dr. Angela Zechmann (10:03):

So, so you've, you've made, you've decided to just shift the whole experience. For those people who are still going to be sort of in that sort of situation. This is where I think that if you go in with the right mindset, you might be able to shift the whole energy of it all it's possible. It really is. So if you think about, you know, the difficult people that might be there, think about what you might appreciate about them and really get that cemented in your head, just about what kinds of things could I appreciate about them. And you, you will then come in with a different energy and it might be a much different experience. So that would be my encouragement sounds, sounds good?

Marchelle (10:55):

That sounds, that sounds amazing. But as you're talking, my mother, my mother keeps popping into my mind. And so I'm just, I don't know, I'm just thinking of past situations. But you know, you're probably right. I mean, it's because of the past situations, I guess, like you anticipate yeah, exactly like that, and you can bring that energy with you.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (11:21):

That's, that's what I'm saying.

Marchelle (11:23):

And especially if we're running late, which happens to me a lot at Thanksgiving, Then, I'm stressed out that we're running late. And so that's a really, really good idea to just maybe let all that go. And and again, focus and write down some of the things that you know, you appreciate about, yeah. I was going to say my mom, I know. Cause that's where my, or, my anxiety lies when it comes to Thanksgiving and stress. Yeah. And then, yeah, just come in with a whole, I'm going to have to try that. Maybe not a Thanksgiving, because like I said, we're spending, spending time somewhere else, but I just think that's a good general idea.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (12:02):

Yeah. Cool. Well, the next thing to talk about is the food. So, Thanksgiving is always all about the food. And what I recommend that you do is to make a plan ahead of time. So ask yourself this question, are you going to splurge and go all out and just sort of eat whatever you want and try everything? That is one decision that you can make. And it's a perfectly fine decision. You have to recognize that if you do make that decision, you're going to be uncomfortable for a while. And you're going to want to be prepared to have some cravings later. So I always recommend that you not have leftovers laying around in the few days after Thanksgiving. And that's hard to do. But, I just recommend if you have uneaten pie or bread, once Thanksgiving is over it's really hard to have that stuff sitting around and not get into it. And you know, it can, I always say it can either go to waste, meaning the trash can, or it can go to your waist. So make that decision ahead of time. And if you splurge, try to just splurge for one day and not for the entire weekend. Okay?

Marchelle (13:19):

Oh, I heard something funny. I just, I just thought of, so [unclear] they have to just pop in for a second. So somebody was telling me about we were talking about this, about throwing stuff away, you know, like whatever, like leftover desserts or anything like that. And one of my friends was telling me how she would be tempted to even after she threw stuff away that she would go in like at the middle of the night and go like, go back into the garbage and get stuff back.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (13:48):

I have done that. I know.

Marchelle (13:51):

Yeah. She said that what she did is she take Dawn dish soap and that she would put like, whatever she threw away, she would like cover it in dish, soap, squirt it on. Yeah. On top of the stuff though, she could not get it back out.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (14:05):

There you go. That's another, that's a good idea. Or you could just put it down your garbage disposal too. I've done that before.

Marchelle (14:12):


Dr. Angela Zechmann (14:12):

Because yes, that is something that has happened to me on more occasions than I want to admit, but it's true. It's very easy, even if it's thrown away, if it's sitting there on the top and if it doesn't look like anything's gotten into it, that it'll call you. I mean, that's how strong these, this is how addictive these food substances are. Like you're dealing with drugs here. You really have to recognize that. So, so one, another option that you could consider is to just carefully pick and choose what you're going to eat. So you kind of know what the traditional foods are, your family serves. And so what I'll do is I'll have turkey and gravy and vegetables and maybe a small amount of stuffing, but I try not to go all out just because I can't stand feeling stuffed. I hate that feeling and I don't want to deal with a bunch of cravings later.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (15:09):

So that's another option. A final option is to just do a completely low carb Thanksgiving and make everything with low carb ingredients. And this is usually going to involve, you know, using almond flour for bread or pie crust and using some sweeteners. And this is another perfectly reasonable option that you can choose if you want. One caution that I have for people with sensitive brains like mine; I once made a keto cornbread recipe and it was really, really good. As a matter of fact, it was so good. It might've just, it might've, it might as well have just been real cornbread because it triggered something in my brain. And I ate, I ate the keto cornbread at Thanksgiving. I had some more later on that night. And the next day I had all of the leftover keto cornbread, just one piece at a time all throughout the day.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (16:07):

I didn't have anything else. The rest of the day after Thanksgiving, I only ate that keto corn bread. My brain could not get enough of it. I just felt absolutely crazy. And I was really glad when it was all gone because it was like, okay, I'm done finally. But my daughter came home from work on the day after Thanksgiving and she was not happy because she was looking forward to some keto cornbread, but her mother had eaten it all. So, I just, just be careful with, with stuff that sort of is an imitation of stuff that could be a favorite, you know, cause sometimes they can be just as triggering. So I just want to warn everybody about that. Have you ever had that happen to you, Marchelle, where you've tried something that's supposedly a healthier version of something and it turned out to trigger you just as much as the real stuff?

Marchelle (16:56):

No, I usually go right for the real deal.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (16:59):

For the real stuff. Okay. Well, so we talked about relationships. We talked about the food. The next thing I want to talk about is the alcohol. And many people choose not to drink, which is a perfectly fine option. For those of you who do choose to drink alcohol, remember that alcohol is going to shut down your prefrontal cortex. That is the thinking part of your brain, the planning part of your brain, the part of your brain that is in touch with your long-term goals. So that part of your brain is going to get shut down. And it's going to be a lot easier to eat more food than you'd planned; if you're drinking alcohol, eating different types of foods than you'd planned. So I would just really recommend making a plan ahead of time. How much are you going to drink if you're going to drink? Let's say you decide you're going to have one glass of wine.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (17:55):

What will you say if someone offers you a second or a third drink that you didn't plan on. You might even rehearse in your head just saying, no, thank you, if you know, for example, that your father-in-law might be offering to refill your glass. So, always plan this ahead of time and go through it in your brain ahead of time. Imagine the situation in as much detail as possible because your brain doesn't know the difference between what's actually happening in what you imagined. And so if you've done it once your brain will have a neural pathway to fall back on so that you can do it again in real life. And I always say, no thank you as a complete sentence. So, you don't have to say anything else. Just say, no thank you. You don't have to make any justifications. You don't have to say you're trying to watch things so that you can be healthy. All you have to do is say, no thank you. And that is enough. All right.

Marchelle (18:56):

Yeah. This sense, boy, you know, this all sounds great. You know, and I, I, I think that all these ideas are fantastic. Yeah. I'm thinking like it through like, if this was me planning on going to, you know, to my family's house, like I used to, you know, for many, many years, and I was that controlled. Like I had a good attitude when I went in and I controlled exactly what I was going to eat. Cause I thought about it ahead of time and I didn't drink more than I wanted to. And I did everything right, I'm not sure if I would really be enjoying myself.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (19:34):


Marchelle (19:34):

Because I, I,for me, just the way my brain works, when I go, I don't know, I mean, it's probably just because it's me, but… Yeah.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (19:45):

Well, it doesn't sound like you were enjoying yourself very much before.

Marchelle (19:49):

Yeah. But, but I, I wasn't enjoying myself before because I thought that it was because, you know, of my mom's stressing everybody out. But then on top of it, it would lead to, you know, me overeating or me over drinking, trying to deal with it. Getting too stuffed, you know, feeling like crap, you know, leave, you know, leaving the place with resentments, you know, and that would happened year after year. But then also, you know, this, it's, what you're saying, it's like so foreign to me in the way that like, I have to practice this so much.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (20:21):

Yes. It takes practice.

Marchelle (20:22):

Yeah. It does not come natural, it's not natural for me. Like I would have to definitely, really think this out and really write this down because for me anything can happen. Like, somebody offers me a drink and I'm just trying to be polite. And I don't even think about it, even though I say, I'm not going to drink anything when I go in to do this event or, I'm you know, I'm not going to have any pie because you know that I have a sensitive brain and that's going to trigger me. I should up, you know, if grandma Bea offers me or homemade pumpkin pie, I know I'm going to feel like, you know, obligated and I'm going to not even think about it.

Marchelle (21:03):

And I'm, the next thing you know, I'm going to be two pieces. I mean, so that's like, I'm just, pre-thinking like, this is really well thought out, but am I going to be, you know, I don't know, am I going to be fighting this the whole time, trying to like, control that, the situation around me that am I going to even enjoy myself? Where am I going to be trying to dodge and duck, you know, all the temptations the whole time.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (21:25):

Right. Exactly.

Marchelle (21:26):

For me, I going to more focused on, like you said, the people that I'm going to be there with and try to maybe think of all the things that I'm grateful for while I'm, while I'm there. And maybe that will help my mind to.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (21:45):


Marchelle (21:46):

Be so focused on struggling through the whole event.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (21:51):

Well, the other thing I want to say is that you're going to, you're going to go in with intentions and you may fail. But remember we just did a podcast on failure. That doesn't mean that anything's going wrong. Let's say you have all of these great intentions and you end up, you know, coming out of there going, hmm, that didn't work so well, then that's okay. Remember, cause you're, you're a human being and you're in a learning process. Just the fact that you were thinking ahead is different than what you've ever done any other year. Right?

Marchelle (22:27):


Dr. Angela Zechmann (22:29):

Just the fact that you're thinking about what's going to be happening ahead is going to put a pause in between what happens, what the situation is and then what your response is. We were just talking about this last night on the Journey Beyond Weight Loss support call about how important that pause is so that we're not just always responding with knee jerk reactions to everything that's going on around us.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (22:52):

So, so what was your grandmother's name, grandma Bea, you said, she offers you, she offers you pumpkin pie in the past. Your knee-jerk response is absolutely give me some. This year, you're, you're not going to have that knee jerk response because you will have for the very first time thought, add a little bit. There will be a pause. Let's say you decide in the moment while you're still gonna have that pumpkin pie. It's still going to be different experience for you because you will have thought of somethings ahead of time. Does that make sense?

Marchelle (23:22):

like, I'm going to be telling my brain. No, no, no, no, no.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (23:25):

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well you ought to also want to do is to remind your brain about yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. And how happy you're going to be when you're not a slave to your primitive brain anymore.

Marchelle (23:41):


Dr. Angela Zechmann (23:41):

You know? Because this is your primitive brain that's going, like you should have, you know, like, like me with a Mars upon [unclear]. like, you need to have that [unclear]. What's that like?

Marchelle (23:52):

Yeah. And in my controlled environment, like in my home, I can control more like what is around me? Right? So going into an event like this, it's difficult for me because…..

Dr. Angela Zechmann (24:05):

Well you're worried about, you're worried about all the decisions that you're gonna have to make in the moment. Which is why I'm making the suggestion that you make the decisions ahead of time, so you're not having to make all of these decisions in the moment. If you make the decision ahead of time, then there isn't any question. You don't have to use any will power. You just are like, here's what I'm going to do for Thanksgiving. Here's how I'm going to do Thanksgiving this year. And you know, for many people, a big piece of this might be, well, you know, what are they going to think if I say, no thank you. Or, you know, what are they gonna, how are they going to take it? And you don't want to go in and try to micromanage what they're thinking. That's for sure. That's a, that's a losing proposition.

Marchelle (24:45):


Dr. Angela Zechmann (24:45):

So, so always, always, always you got to do what's right for yourself. So we talked about the relationships. We talked about the food we talked about, the alcohol. The last thing that I want to talk about is to remember exactly what this holiday is all about, which is giving thanks. Right? So in other words, gratitude, appreciation; appreciation is an absolutely amazing thing because it lifts us up. It brings our spirits up. When we live in gratitude and appreciation for everything that we have, life has a way of opening up even more for us to appreciate. Right? So one of the things that you can do is to make sure that you get a very good night's sleep tonight. This is the day before Thanksgiving. So don't stay up late, go to bed on this day, before Thanksgiving. Drink plenty of water tomorrow. Do some journaling in the morning about what you're thankful for.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (25:48):

And I will actually put up a post in Sugar And Flour Busters Society, remember that's the Facebook group, and I'm going to give you an opportunity so that you can write down what you're thankful for on Thanksgiving morning and publicly acknowledge it. That's always an important thing to do is to acknowledge what it is that you're grateful for. It's important and it's fun too. And of course, you know, the most important part of this holiday is the people that you love, that you're going to be spending time with. And again, I feel that even more intensely this year after being so alone last year. Zoom just wasn't the same. So I say, enjoy your peeps, enjoy the special foods if you choose to do so. Be careful with the alcohol. Remember what the day is all about and remember to give thanks and appreciation for everything that we have. Sound cool?

Marchelle (26:48):

That sounds awesome.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (26:49):

Yeah. So, Happy Thanksgiving, Marchelle and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, our listeners, and we will look forward to seeing you next week.

Marchelle (26:59):

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Goodbye.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (27:01):

Take care. Bye-Bye

Closing (27:03):

Hey, if you really want to lose weight and keep it off for good, your next step is to sign up for Dr. Angela's free weight loss course, where you're going to learn everything you need to get started on your weight loss journey, the right way. Just head over to to sign up. Also, it would be awesome if you could take a few moments and write a review on iTunes.

New Speaker (27:24):


Dr. Angela



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