What is the Real Purpose of Thanksgiving for You

As I lost weight and learned to stop thinking about food every single minute of the day, I also learned something really important about the holiday season. I learned that the success of the holiday isn’t about what food is on the table, but rather who is sitting at the table and what kind of experiences we all share. Additionally, I learned that holidays are more than one meal.

Of course an “eating” holiday like Thanksgiving does center around a meal, but in our house, it also centers around vocalizing what we are all thankful for. It also is a chance to pull out of wedding china, use fancy glasses and the nicer flatware.

Before, all I thought about was the food. I thought about when to buy the food, when to start preparing the food and how much food I could get away with eating. I started baking days in advance. Dozens and dozens of cookies, brownies by the pan and enough pie for each member of the family to have their own was standard prep for me. I was so busy thinking about the “food” that I often failed to notice anything else.

By the time I had obsessed over the food, just sitting at the table was exhausting. I just wanted to be done with the whole thing and have some pie.

Perhaps it’s because I’m older now, but these holidays are now about simplicity. What’s the simplest way to make delicious food that we all enjoy without stressing myself out. What other events do I want the kids to remember – sitting down for 30 minutes eating a gigantic meal, or spending the days ahead doing crafts and hanging out together?

I choose the family memories over the food frenzy.

We still have a great meal, but it’s easy to prepare and I don’t focus on how much food, but rather on what else is going on around us.

I know all of you are working on the same types of things this time of year. How to balance food, fun and family times while staying true to your goals.

I promise you that you won’t miss obsessing over the food – I sure don’t!

Happy Healthy Thanksgiving to all of You! Diane


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  1. Dianne, these kinds of holidays was also “just about food” for me. It’s such a burden of my shoulders, that I don’t think about food all the time and that holidays can be spend in simplicity (like you say).
    Happy Thanksgiving to you.
    blackhuff recently posted…You searched for what?My Profile

  2. We still do not have options for the Thanksgiving meal as it is MIL’s day and any suggestions for changing the menu or bringing additional items are not welcomed. As our eating habits have changed along with the types of food we enjoy, this particular meal isn’t all that appealing any more. I have learned to pick carefully from the good healthy choices and choose just enough to get by without attracting attention from the choices I used to pig out on. And yes, we choose to spend much time just being grateful that another Thanksgiving is here with the same group as last year.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your readers!
    Sharon recently posted…My KitchenMy Profile

    • That’s me too if I don’t do some or all of the cooking. I just put some relatively healthy things on my plate and then move it all around when I’m done picking at it so no one notices what I did or didn’t eat! Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Hope you have a wonderful holiday, Diane.
    Karen@WaistingTime recently posted…Feed Her, Feed Her, Pumpkin EaterMy Profile

  4. Diane, perfect post because so many stress over the whole thing. I LOVE your approach & that is the way it should be! :-)

    Have a wonderful one!
    Jody – Fit at 53 recently posted…Thanksgiving Fun PicturesMy Profile

    • It can be stressful to make a huge meal when you are not used to doing that, and also stressful to try and control eating when you are still in the early stages of weight loss/maintenance. Like you – it’s been a lot of years in the making though.

  5. I love this post and I can totally relate. Us girls all love cooking but want to spend time with family that comes to town so we buy our pies (audible gasp). But somethings gotta give if we want to have some downtime. I enjoy all the food but cherish being with my family so much more.

    1 pie per person, wow. We do 2-3 pies for about 22 of us. I have a family full of healthy eaters.
    Marie@feedingfive recently posted…Let’s get this party started…..My Profile

    • (Gasp)! You didn’t make all your pies? I did make one pie and also a small cheesecake. We don’t like pumpkin pie (gasp)!! Hope you had a great, wonderful holiday.

  6. Best thanks giving post! Thank you for turning me in the right direction as I get ready for tomorrow!

  7. “As I lost weight and learned to stop thinking about food every single minute of the day,” So true. I agree with this sentence. When I was losing the weight, the holiday was about calories and anxiety. I was stressed about the calorie dump and felt like a failure. Now? I eat whatever I want without overdoing it AND the holidays are more about family and friends than food.
    Lisa recently posted…Repost: Setting a Skinny TableMy Profile

    • Me too – it was very stressful when I was heavy. I was always dieting, and never felt like I could enjoy the holiday guilt-free because everything seemed off-limits.

  8. I can see your point. The holidays for me now isn’t about “pigging out”, but calories. I have to stay in line!
    Maren recently posted…I’m progressing !My Profile

  9. I miss the the family interaction since we won’t be around for Thanksgiving, but definitely don’t miss all the temptations.
    Siobhan recently posted…Happy Thanksgiving!My Profile

  10. I fly to Chicago every year and take my daughter out to a restaurant for our holiday meal. There are many upsides to this; simplicity, low-stress, and so-on. But high among the upside is that in a restaurant, you can only get “seconds” if you pay for them…

  11. I’m so glad you had a lovely, family-centered thanksgiving. People are so much better than food, but it’s amazing how hard that is to see in the middle of it all. That is one of the nicest things about changing perspectives on this – food loses some of its power and people become far more important again :)
    Taryl recently posted…Technical difficulties with the siteMy Profile

    • People are better than food! It can be hard though if the other people around you really are focusing on the food, food, food. I’ve been to holiday meals where family and friends try to make me feel guilty over not eating and eating and eating.

  12. This is a great post and definitely well-timed. Just this morning, my wife and I were discussing how ridiculously blessed we realized our lives are. Food is fuel, and a year from now, we won’t remember how the pecan pie tasted last Thanksgiving, but we will remember the blessed life we get to live.
    Jeremy Logsdon recently posted…A Black Friday Weigh-InMy Profile

  13. Couldn’t agree more! It was the first Thanksgiving in 4 years I didn’t feel like I was obsessing over the food nor was I feeling like I couldn’t eat whatever I wanted.

    Hope you had a great one!
    Sheri @Motivation Health & Fitness recently posted…Happy Thanksgiving!My Profile

  14. I managed to STOP when I was full and did NOT snack all day. Major win! It STILL was sorta about the food since it is a family event to cook, BUT the company was more fun than the thought of all the food. It was only a few months ago that food had this CRAZY hold on me and it was an awesome holiday being in control instead! Happy Thanksgiving!
    La. recently posted…Health Woes: 31 WeeksMy Profile