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La Puma recommends choosing four days a year as "feast days" when you can eat and drink anything you want in any quantity you want.

"I think the idea of feasting that Thanksgiving represents is kind of lost in American society because we tend to feast all year long," he tells WebMD.

"The problem isn't Thanksgiving, it is the fact that many people don't stop eating between Thanksgiving and the New Year," he says.

Pete Thomas was once one of those people.

"Before I lost weight I viewed Thanksgiving as a day to gorge myself and eat everything in sight," Thomas tells WebMD. "That turned into a month of gorging between Thanksgiving and Christmas."

In November 2005, Thomas walked away from the finale of NBC's Biggest Loser $100,000 richer after losing 185 pounds in nine months.

Now a motivational speaker, Thomas specializes in helping extremely obese people lose weight.

Thomas' strategy for staying in control during the holidays involves planning.
"If you plan to get some exercise the morning of Thanksgiving and the morning after, that will go a long way to keeping you on track," he says. "And develop a plan for holiday eating so you don't eat everything in sight."

Some of Thomas' other tips include:

  • Enjoy the foods you really love in reasonable portions, but skip the foods you don't.
  • Plan activities to compliment the day that everyone can do together. "Make it about more than just the food," he says.
  • If you are the cook or are contributing to the holiday meal, make a dish that you like that meets your nutritional needs.
  • Clear the table and put the food away immediately after the big meal and send food home with guests.
  • Have reasonable expectations.

"You probably won't lose weight during the holidays, but with careful planning you can avoid gaining weight," he says.

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