At Vanderbilt Family Chiropractic, we are thankful for so many things this Thanksgiving, especially for the chance to help the wonderful patients we treat each day.  Thanksgiving is a time to eat good food and have fun with relatives. It can also be a time for stress, over-indulgence and stomach aches.

Americans make a big deal over holiday meals, we make an even bigger deal over holiday eating. For some Americans, the worry of fitting into their jeans after the holiday season is a huge concern. Americans spent on average 2.3 billion dollars on Thanksgiving dinner foods. That’s a lot of food!

Here are some tips to make your Thanksgiving holiday and  weekend healthier, enjoyable, and pain-free:

  • Eat before you feast. Fasting throughout the day before your Thanksgiving meal can lead to overeating. Eating breakfast when you wake in the morning can curb your appetite, as can munching on crunchy vegetables throughout the day. If you’re having relatives over, encourage healthy snacking by making a vegetable platter with healthy dips for you and your guests to consume.
  • Drink Water. Water is an appetite suppressant, so make the effort to drink lots of water throughout the day. Drinking ample water can prevent you from sneaking bites of pumpkin pie and ice cream as you prepare the meal.
  • Pace yourself – It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you’re feeling full. In that time, many people overeat. Pacing yourself can help. Take pauses between bites. Draw out the meal by savoring your food, eating slowly, and smelling the delicious scent of each dish.

Go for a walk. Going for a walk can encourage the digestive juices to start flowing after your Thanksgiving meal. Get together your guests after the meal is over and go for a walk around the neighborhood where you live. This will help you burn off some of the calories that you’ve just consumed and will also help you get over any stomach ache that you may feel when you’re done eating.

  • Manage your stress – Many people feel stress at the holidays, especially when entertaining guests. Using stress management techniques can help you enjoy your meal and may prevent you from stress-eating.
  • Take deep breaths throughout the day. If you feel your muscles tensing throughout the day, take deep breaths to loosen your muscles and settle your emotions.
  • Give thanks. Put things into perspective by taking note of the things that make you feel thankful.
  • Plan ahead. Disorganization can lead to stress. Planning ahead can help. Cook dishes ahead of time and clean the house the weekend before the event.
  • Avoid bending directly over the oven door to lift out that heavy  turkey. Crouch and use your legs and knees for better balance. This will avoid putting all the weight-bearing stress on the lower spine.
  • Road trips – If you’re going for a long drive to visit friends and relatives this Thanksgiving, make sure to take a break from driving and get out of your vehicle to stretch. This helps restore normal posture and prevent  recurrence of painful neck or low back conditions.When loading your vehicle for the trip or from the grocery store, organize your luggage, packages and goods into smaller loads, as opposed to carrying them all in one load. Adjust you car seat’s headrest, making sure that the top is no more than two inches below the top of the back your head. Make sure everyone is wearing seat belts . Most of the estimated 20 million victims of auto accidents in America suffer from whiplash, which can easily be prevented by properly adjusting the seat headrests. Use the correct car seat or booster seat for your children and make sure they have a head rest or a child-sized neck pillow so they don’t strain their necks falling asleep in the car. Without support, your child’s head can flop forward and sideways and affect their breathing and even cause misalignment of vertebrae.
  • Practice proper posture when sitting, standing and shopping! With the long weekend, you’ll most likely spend time sitting and slouching on the couch or recliner. Try not to sleep in these position because the joints in this position may irritate the nerves and blood vessels and cause muscle spasm.

See your Chiropractor – A well-timed chiropractic adjustment can help your Thanksgiving go more smoothly in a variety of ways. Chiropractic adjustments boost the immune system while preventing muscle pain and injury, so you can spend your Thanksgiving enjoying time with friends and relatives. In addition to chiropractic adjustments, a good chiropractor will use a variety of natural techniques to help you have a happier, healthier holiday.

  • Stretches and exercises. Your chiropractor can teach you a variety of stretches and exercises that you can use to loosen your muscles, reduce stress and aid digestion after the meal is over.
  • Lifestyle advice. Making small changes to your habits at the holidays can help you feel less anxiety while avoiding illness. Your chiropractor can give you lifestyle advice to help you make those changes.

It would be a good idea to come in for an adjustment prior to the holiday season so that you and your spine can be in good shape for this busy season.
With these few simple tips everyone can have a happy Thanksgiving.  We wish you and yours a healthy, happy Thanksgiving.