Thanksgiving, and the entire holiday season, is a really tricky time of year for a lot of people. This is a time of year where we're getting together with our family and it can be quite an emotional time, as families often have dynamics that leave everyone feeling like they need to live up to certain expectations. It's also culturally accepted tradition to eat copious quantities of food during these times and holidays have become more about feasting than about nurturing the connection with the people who mean the most to you.

A lot of what I hear at this time of year is, "How am I supposed to lose weight, or even maintain weight, during the holiday season?" Studies have shown that the average American gains at least one pound during the holiday season that they never lose. That means that every year between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, you could be packing on a pound that contributes to an ever-increasing waistline throughout your life. And that's in addition to any weight you may have gained throughout the rest of the year. That's a pretty sobering fact.

Some solutions to this issue have been presented, such as making the food healthier, eating less, making less food, and cutting back on desserts. While all of these are great ideas, they're not always feasible, accepted, or effective. My solution is this: Work together as a family to redefine what the holidays mean to you. Do they mean a banquet of delectable treats? Or does it mean something more? For instance, Thanksgiving is traditionally about the giving of thanks. By redefining what the meaning behind the actual holiday, you make it less about the food and more about communion, more about sharing, and more about coming together and being together.

My challenge to you this Thanksgiving is to connect with your family in a way you haven't before. Ask them what their true heart's desires are and get to know them on a deeper, more personal level. This can be a little uncomfortable, but it can also help open up the doors to fabulous communication within your family. Sometimes the holidays are the only time you get with family, so stressing the importance of making those connections can be done enough. Making the holidays about coming together, sharing the love, and learning more about one another can be a huge turning point in the health of the whole family, not just physically, but also emotionally.

A little "extra credit" would be to think about what your ideal Thanksgiving would look like. Would having help setting up ease the burden of hosting? Would everyone make and bring their own dish, so it was more like a potluck? Would you all take a walk together before or after the meal to get some exercise and fresh air? Figure out what your ideal Thanksgiving scenario is and see how much of that you can implement this year as possible. What could you do together as a family to strengthen your bond?

Food is just a social tool used to get together. The promise of a hearty meal makes even the most distant family member join in the festivities. By making our celebrations more about the sharing of thoughts, ideas, and interaction, the focus on food lessens, the family intensifies their bond, and those holiday pounds don't stand a chance of making a comeback.

Author's Bio: 

Shannon Lagasse, The Young and Fresh Health Coach, teaches women who are struggling to lose weight how to drop the pounds easily and enjoyably by empowering them to find freedom from restrictive dieting, deprivation, rigorous exercise regimes, and beliefs about food that are holding them back from having their ideal body. To schedule your F.R.E.E. Breakthrough to BodyLove Session and to receive her inspirational weekly health & wellness articles on natural ways to get the body and life you want, visit