Thanksgiving Dinner: Now Coming with a Side of Health & Wellness

Thanksgiving Dinner: Now Coming with a Side of Health & Wellness

Thanksgiving is a time of coming together with friends and family…. All gathered around a table covered with tons of delicious, tempting and diet-busting foods. This time of year, it can be difficult to keep your healthy habits in check. I mean, who doesn’t fill their plate until it’s full and go back for seconds—or even thirds, not to mention the savory desserts!

The holidays are the ultimate challenge when it comes to maintaining healthy eating habits. Fortunately, help has arrived from Dr. Joel Meshulam, M.D., a personalized care physician with SignatureMD, who knows first-hand that taking control of your life—and not letting your life control you—makes a world of difference when it comes to your health and wellness.

Food for Thought

“To make meaningful changes in your life, you have to understand where you are now,” says Dr. Meshulam, whose practice is based in Baltimore, Maryland. “Bad habits are easy to form and hard to break. Good habits are the exact opposite – hard to form and easy to break.”

This becomes increasingly more apparent around the holiday season. An advocate and coach with the Take Shape for Life program, Dr. Meshulam knows that “one’s health and wellness, even around the overflowing dinner table, is not about losing weight which can bring forward negative connotations and self-denial like ‘I can’t eat this,’ but rather about gaining optimal health, thinking more along the lines of ‘I don’t want to eat this because it’s not going to help me be healthy.’”

One of the essential elements of Take Shape is to teach yourself how to “Stop, Challenge, and choose.” Before you do something that might not be healthy for you (sit on a couch instead of going for a walk, smoking a cigarette), or eat something that isn’t good for you…

STOP – take a centering breath, drink some ice water, and focus on the moment.

CHALLENGE – ask yourself… “Is this what I REALLY want? Is this helping me toward my goal of optimal health?”

CHOOSE – make the choice that propels you toward health. Ideally you should choose health 100% of the time, but none of us is perfect.  The more you practice this habit, the stronger and healthier you will become.


Our Q & A with Dr. Meshulam provides additional insight for eating healthfully during your holiday and throughout the year.

Q: When it comes to holiday seasons what are a few important things to keep in mind regarding health and wellness?

A: As with all tempting moments (holidays or otherwise), we have to keep our long term goals in mind.  Family and gathering with celebration is important for health also, right? So when you’re having Thanksgiving dinner, consider portions and remember that the next day isn’t the holiday. Go for a walk and keep the portions small.

Q: What is the worst thing you can do around the holidays regarding health and wellness?

A: “Reward” yourself with a big meal, sit on the couch, fall into a turkey-induced coma, and spend the rest of the long weekend sitting around being lazy. This isn’t a real reward.

Q: What motivates someone to stay on track during the holidays?

A: Passion for health, and the realization that life is precious. Balance is the key. You should never worry about being “off track” or “on track.” These are words I rarely use with my patients and clients.

Q: What can steer someone off track?

A: Forgetting the big goals and dreams that got you started in the first place. And stop thinking about going off track. “I don’t use those words, remember?”

Q: Does the holiday make that much of a difference when it comes to someone’s health and wellness? Why or why not?

A: Not really, as long as we maintain focus and self-control. Enjoy the holiday. Enjoy family and friends. But also enjoy health, exercise, and the feeling of success that brings you.

Thanksgiving may only be one day, but the year is full of other holidays when you can take advantage of this advice. Better that than having the holidays take advantage of you. Celebrate with awareness and you won’t stray too far from the path of health and wellness. If you need an extra boost, WebMD provides some helpful tips to keep in mind, too!

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About SignatureMD:

SignatureMD (signaturemd.com), with offices in Los Angeles, California and Richmond, Virginia, is one of the nation’s largest providers of initial conversion and ongoing support services to concierge medicine physicians, with an expanding network of over 160 affiliated primary care physicians and specialists across 31 states.