Happy Thanksgiving and the Happiness Diet

The Number of Calories Doesn’t Really Matter

Not today. Not one single day of the year.

The type of calories matters so much more. Then again, it is just one single day of the year.

True that it is that if you indulge in gluten and wheat and sugar today you will likely look hung over and wake with puffy eyes tomorrow, if you get back on your regular routine tomorrow, outside of some gastric distress and a lower sleep quality night, you’ll probably be just fine.

If this blog – which has a release time mind of it’s own – has caught you before the feast my suggestion is to eat. Just eat what you want and enjoy the traditions you would miss if you didn’t. Don’t go to extremes of ruining your day with major stomach discomfort by choosing foods you know make you miserable. In fact, pay attention to the way you feel tomorrow because you could learn a lot. You could reinforce what you already suspect.

It was in fact my Thanksgiving Day last year that triggered a month of reducing toxins. I was simply not feeling good. I wasn’t feeling energetic with workouts. I wasn’t feeling like I was digesting well. I had hunger. I ate. Then I was uncomfortable rather than feeling my usual high energy self. So I pulled the plug on sugars, dairy, gluten, wheat and soy for a full month. I exercised only 20 minutes a day and added a short daily yoga practice. I slept more. I breathed deeper. I abandon my computer screen more often.

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I began with the intention of doing this toxin reduction for a week. As I began to feel better and better it went into the next and the next. For those who know me and my love for movement and physical activity this was unheard of: I’d be more likely to run a marathon or have a 2 mile swim on Saturdays (at my pace that extends far beyond 20 minutes)!


I encourage you to consciously approach today. Yet, not about the food. Pull the plug on food’s power. Focus on your people, your responding and not reacting. Focus on small things and let the days richness wash over you. From the color, and aroma, the warm radiating not only from the kitchen oven but from the people in your presence or your heart there is a rich experience that even the food can’t compare to.

To extend your happiness and gratitude all year, I challenge you to begin tonight to do this one consciousness activity from You Still Got It, Girl! every day either in the morning or at night. It is a key to happiness. Both Shawn Achor, speaker and researcher from Harvard, and Kelly McGonical author and researcher from Stanford share this message everywhere from Tedx Talks to keynotes. In You Still Got It, Girl! The After 50 Fitness Formula for Womenthis is one of the many interactive exercises to decrease stress.

By decreasing stress, you decrease the stress hormone cortisol. When you do that it’s like removing a road block so that you can get where you’re going. If you’re intention is to lose weight and you’re doing everything you can but you’re stress level is high, it’s as if you have your foot both on the accelerator and the brake at the same time. You’re just not going to get where you want to go that way.

List Three Things That You Are Grateful For.




Now, go back to each of those and clearly state your “why.” What is it about those things you’re grateful for? What do they do for you? How have you benefitted? That may make you get more specific with traits of a person you’ve listed. Instead of simply saying that you’re grateful for your significant other, for instance, you might find there are so many reasons why that you now specifically say:

I am grateful for __________ because of the way he makes me laugh every day reminding me that the little things that bother me are not so important.

Every day for the next month…from now until the end of the year. do this exercise. It is after all the time of year when we acknowledge these gifts in our lives.

I will start.

I am grateful for your presence. To know that someone reads and values the words and thoughts I share and benefits from them puts joy and purpose into my life. ~ Debra

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Learn how to measure!

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Circumference outside of both arms, at the armpit

Right Triceps
Halfway btwn shoulder & elbow, arm extended.

Find the widest point of girth at the hips

Right Thigh
Standing with weight on both legs, measure halfway between knee cap and hip flexor

Right Calf
Standing with weight on both legs, find the largest point of calf.

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Measure from the rib cage just under breasts at bra line

At the belly button/umbilicus

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