10 Ways to Prevent Thanksgiving Day Weight Gain

Friday, November 16, 2007 - 1:18pm

By Karen Crawford, MS, RD, CSP

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all things for which we are thankful. You may be thankful for your family, your friends, your health, your happiness, your ability to fit into your favorite jeans. Oh wait, that reminds me, this is the biggest calorie fest of the year! But can you really do that much damage in one day? In one day, probably not, but it can lead to a spiraling effect of uncontrolled eating from now until the New Years. But how about in a month? Oh yes; however, do not panic. There are steps you can take that will allow you to enjoy the holiday and still keep your waist line in check. The 10 tips listed below are designed to steer you away from the "Who cares, it's the holidays" mentality and the "I'll just go on a diet after the New Year" mantra.

1.   Don't skip breakfast and avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

Eat breakfast and do not attempt to fast going into this meal, or you will overeat for sure.

2.   Plan what you eat before and after Thanksgiving to avoid weight gain  

Lighten up on your calorie intake a couple of days before and after. Your weekly average intake is more important than one day's intake, and you can balance it out if you are careful.

3.   Small plate = smaller portions = reduced calorie intake

Use a small plate: This keeps your portions in check. Sure, you can still pile high but that tends to get stares from other guests.

4.   Don't deprive yourself of food, just reduce the amount you eat over Thanksgiving

Go ahead and get a dab of everything that you want to try; this will keep you from feeling deprived later.

5.     Make wise food choices so you enjoy Thanksgiving

Do, however, choose between the bread and dessert. One or the other, your choice.

6.   Eating slowly avoids overeating

Eat slowly and take a drink of something calorie-free in between bites. This will allow you time to tap into your body's fullness factor before you have overdone it.

7.   Thanksgiving weight gains as a result of second helpings

No seconds! This is a one-stop shop, not all you can eat!

8.   During Thanksgiving keep moving around to burn up those calories!

Resist the urge to plop on the couch afterwards. Move around, help do dishes, or take a walk. This will aid the digestion process and burn a few extra calories.

9.   Remove the temptation of eating Thanksgiving leftovers - offer to your guests

If you are the host, divvy up the leftovers among the guests. You do not want to repeat this oh-so-good (but calorie-laden) fest any time soon. (Next stop: holiday parties.)

10.   Drink water

Drink plenty of water, follow these tips, and avoid the scale for a couple of days afterwards and you will once again be thankful.

Enjoy the great food, your friends, and your family--it only comes once a year!

For further tips on eating sensibly during the holidays to avoid weight gain see the following article from TheDietChannel: Holiday Parties: How to control eating?, Savvy Eating at Holiday Parties, Holiday Eating: How To Avoid Gaining Weight during the Holidays, 10 High Calorie Holiday Foods to Watch Out For and 10 Tips for Preventing Holiday Weight Gain.