7 Days and 7 Ways for a Thinner Thanksgiving

By Dr. Kevin P. McCarthy

Thanksgiving comes around once a year, so why not splurge? Each year, most of us pack on at least a pound during the holidays – and then keep the extra weight permanently. Thanksgiving is 7 days away, so here are 7 tips for a thinner Thanksgiving:

  1. Eat Breakfast – While some may think it makes sense to save calories for the big meal, experts say eating a small meal in the morning can give you more control over your appetite. With a small but satisfying breakfast — such as an egg with a slice of whole-wheat toast, or a bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk —  you won’t be starving when you arrive at the gathering.
  2. Police Your Portions – Thanksgiving tables are bountiful and beautiful displays of traditional family favorites. Before you start filling your plate, survey the table and see what there is to choose from. Then select reasonably-sized portions of what you just can’t live without. Try not to waste your calories on foods that you generally have all year long.
  3. Slowly Savor – Eat slowly and put your fork down between bites while engaging in conversation. Tasting each mouthful is one of the easiest ways to enjoy your meal and feel satisfied with one plate full of food. Choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, and other foods with lots of water and fiber add to the feeling of fullness. Spread out the food and fun all day long.
  4. Easy on Alcohol – Alcohol calories can add up quickly! Make your wine a spritzer, and between alcoholic drinks, enjoy a glass water. If plain water sounds boring to you, flavor it with fruit or veggie slices for a fun twist.
  5. Focus on Family and Friends – Thanksgiving is not just about the delicious bounty of food. It’s a time to reflect on what you’re thankful for and celebrate relationships with family and friends.
  6. Get Active – Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, former president of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) suggests you create a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off extra calories before you ever indulge in your favorite foods. “Eat less and exercise more is the winning formula to prevent weight gain during the holidays,” Diekman says. “Increase your steps or lengthen your fitness routine the weeks ahead and especially the day of the feast.” Make fitness a family effort. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the holiday together.
  7. Be Realistic – The holiday season is a time for celebration. With busy schedules and so many extra temptations, this is a good time to strive for weight maintenance instead of weight loss.