11/26/2013 10:58 am ET Updated Jan 26, 2014

Being at Peace With Thanksgiving Eating

It's just one day! Or is it?

Those of us who are concerned about our body mass (which likely includes you if you chose to read this) have a difficult time through holidays. All of the work we've put into shifting our eating habits -- personal schedules, exercise systems etc. -- seem to be directly challenged at this time of year.

This can be overwhelming. The fear of gaining weight that we've worked so hard to either lose or simply maintain is very powerful. This fear seriously clouds our judgment. We think of ways to not eat too much of this or that. We come up with exercise programs that are fit for pro athletes. We stress about our meals before they happen, only to find ourselves eating pie for breakfast three days in a row after Thanksgiving.

So here's a solution.

First, bracket the holidays into days -- not as a five week period (which would be one twelfth of your life!). Thanksgiving is just one day -- maybe two if you are having a second meal/celebration with family. Christmas is a day or two, and New Years is a night and a day. Breaking up the holiday season in such a way is more manageable and less stressful.

It is our minds that are really the problem, creating endless overeating and sitting-on-the-couch opportunities out of a simple meal with friends or family. If we simply allow our regular "healthy" habits to kick in after these big events, we can avoid the "damage" caused by all of the unnecessary and, to be honest, not really fun bad food behaviors that can extend for days after each holiday.

Second, what do we do during these holiday meals? Take Thanksgiving for example. Do we plan out what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat? Absolutely not! Eat and enjoy yourself. Be yourself. And then be yourself the next day too when you resume your normally scheduled program.

I guarantee if we do this, we will arrive in January with more or less the same body we have now.

Brandt Passalacqua's CD Being at Peace with Food is available from More Than Sound.