12/27/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Best Ever Thanksgiving Survival Guide

Are you wondering how to survive Thanksgiving? How to make it through without gaining 7 (more) pounds plus 20 pounds of family baggage?

Just follow these 10 tips, guaranteed to help you get to the other side of the holiday, happy, sated and smiling.

The Best Ever Thanksgiving Survival Guide to Mental Health

1. Manage Your Expectations. Remember - Thanksgiving is just like any other day in life. It's filled with ups, downs, glitches and unexpected happenings. Whatever your expectations of Thanksgiving may be, please lower them right now!

Do you really think every dish is going to be a major hit?

Do you really think that no one is going to say something that might push your buttons?

Do you think that the air will be filled with happiness and gratitude every single second of this fabulous family day? Think again.

2. Don't Regress. Your brother isn't 13, and you're not 9. It doesn't matter that he was bigger than you, elbowed you, teased you, took your favorite toy and smashed it! NO! It really is NOT relevant in the NOW. Let go of the past!

3. Celebrate You. If you find that comments from family members, or rather your interpretation of their comments, send you on a downward spiral, then come armed with the knowledge that you are wonderful.

What amazing qualities do you possess? Are you strong? Thoughtful? Creative? Whimsical? Friendly? Determined? Caring? Funny? Celebrate you!

Jot down a quick list of the qualities you like most about yourself and bring the list with you to Thanksgiving. Tuck it away in your pocket or up your sleeve, and if feelings of insecurity start to come up for you, then quietly disappear into a secluded corner. Take a quick peek at your list. Take in a deep breath. Own your greatness.

4. Give the Little Kids a Break. All that energy, all that food, all that sugar. It's inevitable. Someone is going to spill something, cry, get cranky, fall down, break something. Prepare ahead of time. Bring enough games, DVDs and books to occupy the little ones. And bring a bag of extra patience for yourself.

5. Pretend "They" are Someone Else's Family. Don't we all love our friend's family? Don't we find them interesting, loving, and funny? Pretend that you are not related to 'them.' Get a fresh start; a new perspective and you may be surprised to find that they're not so bad after all. (This is my favorite tip, because I was sure, as were many of us, that there was some slip up in the hospital and I was sent home with the wrong family.)

6. Become a Foto-Food Journalist. Bring a camera and give yourself a journalistic assignment. Perhaps you can take a photo of each person eating, or holding a plate filled with their favorite food? Interview them and ask "What is it that is so compelling about pumpkin pie?" Cameras are a great buffer.

7. Wear Tight Pants. Take your winter sweats, loose pants, elastic waist -bands and ditch 'em. You will definitely eat less if there is no room to grow.

8. Say "No, Thank you." Even though some people show their love through food, you don't have to eat it! Rehearse saying "No, Thank You!" In numerous languages, just in case English doesn't work.

ne hvala * Croatian
nej tak * Danish
nee dank u * Dutch
ei kiitos * Finnish
non merci * French
nein danke * German
no grazie * Italian
no grazie * Norwegian
não obrigado * Portuguese
nu multumesc * Romanian
no, gracias * Spanish

and when all else fails, try ...
no, thank you * English

9. Visualize. Instead of losing control and feeling really bad about yourself at the end of the day, in addition to possibly feeling ill from 'it all,' at the very onset of the day, before you venture out into the world, sit in a quiet place and visualize.

Visualize that it is the end of the day. Yes, you made it through the day, and you are feeling relatively sane and pleased with yourself. You feel good; you practiced moderation; you took some great photos, felt grateful for what you do have in your life (your glass is more than half full). Add any details to your vision in your mind's eye that brings forth visions of happiness, success, actions that are in alignment with your values and goals. Make it real, set your intention and carry this image with you! Yes, you can make it through the holidays without the glaze!

10. Thanksgiving is NOT a Gateway Holiday. Contrary to the agreed upon reality, you do NOT have to gain 6 or 7 pounds this holiday season. Create a new reality. Join with us as we change at The Christmas Diet change the tradition and actually WAKE UP THINNER on New Year's Day! Now imagine that!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Spread the word ... NOT the icing,

Janice Taylor is a weight loss coach, author, columnist and 50-pound big-time-loser.

Interested in one-on-one coaching? Write Janice for a free consult.

Want more information on how you can wake up thinner on New Year's Day? Christmas Diet

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