The holidays can be filled with mixed messages. But the messages this Thanksgiving take the low-fat, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan cake! I subscribe to many blogs and newsletters related to food, Pilates, yoga and women’s health. Too many of them lately emphasize impossibly shaped women, often in exotic locations like Costa Rica.

One newsletter I subscribe to emphasizes the mind-body connection and invites readers to subscribe to a “Thanksgiving Edition Teleseminar” that promises to help you celebrate your dream body instead of potatoes and pie this Thanksgiving. The email invitation asks readers: “Are you nervous about being on a ‘diet’ over the holidays?” The above image accompanied the invitation.

In fairness, the teleseminar suggests we tap into choosing our dreams rather than just resisting dessert. I think this is terrific advice actually, but this kind of imagery feeds eating disorders rather than dreams.

Thanksgiving and eating disorders often sit side-by-each at the table. These stats from the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders regarding eating disorders and the media made me think:

• 95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight within 5 years
• 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders
• The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females
• 47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures
• 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape
• 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner
• 81% of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat

This is where Mindfulness and Pilates come into play. Pilates teaches us about purposeful, conscious movement. It brings awareness to alignment and breath.  In order to receive the greatest benefit from the Pilates practice, you need to be present. You need to breathe. You need to listen your body.

These subtle practices can help us in our daily lives and at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Take a Pilates private and you’ll learn mindfulness techniques that will empower you to make better decisions about your diet and your actions. You may even find that this Thanksgiving, you are thankful for the skin you’re in.