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Weight Loss & Diet Plans

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.
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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.

Desserts, Desserts, and More Desserts

  • Enjoy a small serving of dessert. Choose pumpkin over pecan pie and save a few hundred calories. Eat just the filling to take in fewer additional calories and limit trans fats.


  • If you drink alcohol, save those calories for a glass of wine with the meal.
  • Skip the high-calorie, high-fat eggnog this year.

When You're Done

  • At the end of the meal, drink a glass of water and push away from the table to help you realize that you are full.
  • Follow the large meal with a leisurely walk.


Be realistic -- don't try to lose weight during the holidays, just aim to maintain your current weight. And if you plan on overindulging, bank some calories early in the week and get more physical activity before and after Thanksgiving Day to make up for it.

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