Avoiding Thanksgiving Weight Gain
Sure, Thanksgiving is about eating, but that doesn't mean you have to let the meal wreck your weight loss goals. Follow these tips from Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, director of nutrition for the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic, in Part 2 of our three-part series.
Dressing, pumpkin pie, sweet potato casserole ... the annual
Thanksgiving bounty is something we all look forward to. But if you can't
afford the traditional holiday weight gain, this time of the year can leave you
running scared. With a few simple changes to your usual approach, you
can enjoy the feast without wrapping yourself in those extra pounds.
Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday party season,
and restrictive diets can make this time of the year grueling. But it's also
the time when most of us gain an extra 1-3 pounds that, unfortunately, tend to
become permanent baggage.
The Power of the Plan
You can feast on the food, but this year arm yourself with a plan that will
help whittle down the usual 3,500-calorie meal to a more reasonable indulgence.
Think ahead to Jan. 1 when you will delight in seeing the needle on the scale
right where you left it in November.
Choose a few of the useful weight control-tips below to help you maintain
your weight while still enjoying the good cheer and delicious food on
Thanksgiving day and the rest of the holiday season.
Preparing for the Big Day
- Wear a tight-fitting outfit. This will make you less likely to overeat
because it becomes too uncomfortable.
- Don't arrive starving. Eat before the big feast. A small healthful meal
with lots of fiber (oatmeal, whole-grain sandwich, salad with beans) keeps you
feeling full until dinner.
- Make time for exercise every day, especially on Thanksgiving Day.
- Establish some ground rules in advance of the meal that allow you to
indulge but not pig out -- for example, only one sliver of dessert.
- Buddy up with someone who is also trying to keep his or her weight in
- Keep a food journal and write down everything that you eat. This is an
incredibly powerful tool, especially when you are tempted to overeat.
- Start a new family tradition. Take a bike ride, go for a hike, or play
tennis Thanksgiving morning.
Ready, Set, Go
- Enjoy higher-calorie food in smaller portions.
- Don't eat food just because it is there. Save your calories for the foods
- Distance yourself from the hors d'oeuvre table.
- Munch on fresh fruits and veggies instead of high fat appetizers.
When the Feast Arrives
- Scan the buffet and carefully choose the foods you love. If they are high
in calories like the gravy, just take a smaller portion. Take larger portions
of the simply prepared foods such as baked sweet potatoes, steamed vegetables,
and skinless white meat of turkey.
- Limit yourself to one plate of food, no second helpings.
- Eat slowly and savor every bite. Give the food a chance to let you feel the
satisfying feeling of fullness.
- Eat what you like, just eat a little less of it.