5 Ways to Avoid Thanksgiving Weight Gain

Even the best weight loss or maintenance plans fall victim to decadent Thanksgiving food. The average Thanksgiving plate contains about 1700 calories, also the average amount of calories most adults need for the entire day. That total doesn't include appetizers and cocktails while you wait. Here are 5 ways to avoid Thanksgiving weight gain.

1. Don't skip meals

Instead of banking all of your calories for the main event, stick to your normal eating pattern the day of Thanksgiving. Arriving to a meal famished will prime you to overeat. Choose healthy and light meals for breakfast and lunch to save a little room, but certainly don't fast for the main meal.

2. Use the 2-tablespoon rule

With tons of different dishes to try, it's easy to end up with a mountain of food on your dinner plate. To keep it reasonable, sample a bit of each dish by taking about 2 tablespoons of each to try. You will end up with a delicious taste of all of your favorites without overdoing it on calories.

3. Skip the empty calories

Appetizers, juices and alcoholic drinks quickly add up in calories. A few cocktails while you socialize will load your system with sugar and calories that you simply don't need. Go easy on these items and choose lighter options like veggie plates and alcoholic drinks mixed with seltzer instead of juices.

Butterball turkey
With a 20-pound turkey, there are bound to be leftovers! I'll send some home with family and whip up a big batch of turkey soup to freeze for leftovers.

4. Say goodbye to leftovers

While overdoing it on Thanksgiving day will not completely derail you, eating days on end of leftovers will surely pack on the pounds. If you're cooking, send guests home with to-go bags or freeze leftovers to utilize through the winter. If you are a guest, politely decline a doggie bag, or take just enough for one extra meal.

5. Take a walk

Exercise is always great to include in your daily routine, but especially when you are likely to overeat. Try taking a walk before dinner to burn some calories, keep your hands away from the appetizers and curb your appetite for the main meal.

What happens if I follow these rules but overdo it anyway?

Even the best intentions sometimes fall flat. Instead of feeling guilty for eating too much, put things in to perspective. It takes a total of 3500 calories above and beyond your daily needs to gain a true pound of fat. Any weight gained overnight is likely water weight. Excess carbohydrate, salt and alcohol cause the body to retain water. While you may feel a little bloated the day after, it will dissipate within a few days as long as you go back to your normal eating habits.

Bottom line?

Enjoy yourself and those around you this Thanksgiving day. Food is a celebration, so don't stress over perfection. Have a great time and get back on track fighting the crowd on Black Friday!

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