Thursday, November 17, 2011

How To Avoid That Pesky Holiday Weight Gain

Only 7 days until Americas most gluttonous day of the year, Thanksgiving! If you are anything like me, you are already dreaming about all of the tasty treats that you will be indulging in next week at this exact time. 

Pumpkin pie, sweet potato casserole, gravy, stuffing...mmm, my mouth is already watering.

Since I haven't celebrated a turkey day since 2007 because I have always had to work, I am jumping up and down inside with the thoughts of a full day of my life devoted to the three F's in my life...

Thanksgiving circa 2007

Family, Food, Faith.

The family and the faith part I can handle, it's the food part that can get a bit troubling around at times. When amongst great company and great food on holidays, it can be difficult to have the willpower to not over stuff my mouth with junk food. I know I'm not the only one with this problem, this is America and 33% of adults and approximately 17% of children are obese (source). Yikes, those numbers scare me every time I think about them.

While I'm not a dietitian, I try my best to make the healthiest choices I can for this one body that I am given. That being said, here are a few things that I am making note of to get me through the holiday season without busting the seams on my pants.

Fill up plate with veggies first.
Is it just me, or do the plates seem to get larger and larger every holiday? My rule of thumb is to devote at least 50% of the plate to veggies and put them on my plate first, that's just my system. This way by the time I get to the gravy, rolls, and sweet potato casserole there is limited space and I'm not overdoing it on my starches, proteins, and fats.


Don't go crazy with the appetizers.
Ever heard of a "hanky panky"? No? Is my family the only one that gives appetizers obscene names?

Hanky Panky (source)
I'm not usually a big meat eater, but if you cover the meat with 10 lbs. of Velveeta cheese, add some spices, throw in some mushrooms, then put it on some fancy toast...I'm all over it.

I generally tend to avoid the crudites or healthier choices and instead fill up on the fattiest and greasiest appetizers available. Don't be like me, don't sit right in front of the table with all of the appetizers. Instead get up, socialize, and remove the temptation to gorge yourself on the apps.

Start the day with a healthy breakfast.
Back in my earlier years I used to save all of my Thanksgiving day calories for later in the day, meaning I just wouldn't eat. BIG MISTAKE! Ignoring hunger earlier in the day turns the human stomach into a ravaging beast that when unleashed does major damage. These days knowing that I'll be consuming some high fat and calorie foods later in the day I like to fill up on fruits, grains, and proteins that will leave me feeling full until dinner. Best to start the day making healthier choices, I find that the selections I make early in the day tend to effect the common sense of my choices later in the day.

Try to fit in some type of physical activity.
This can be tricky, but it is manageable. Take a brisk walk with some family members while the turkey is  roasting, start of the day with a 15 minute yoga session, play football or take the dog for a walk. Some activity is better none.

Go easy on the cocktails.
If my family reads this, they may be appalled that I am even suggesting this. Booze tends to have a lot of empty calories and often times makes us dehydrated. Nurse your drinks and allow yourself a "max" while sipping on water every now and then.

Pumpkin martini anyone? (source)

Just like the cocktails, go easy on the sauces.
I love a good sauce more then I can even put into words, but this is where the fat content of the day is hidden. A little sauce is good, a plate swimming in sauces may not make the tummy feel too good later.

Know that it is OK to indulge.
There is no crime in having an extra piece of turkey or a little added whipped cream on the apple pie, Thanksgiving only comes around once a year. As long as you are making mindful choices and remember that Monday will bring a fresh start to make new choices, it's all good. 


  1. These a great tips! Too bad Canadian Thanksgiving already passed...and I ate about 3/4 of the pan of stuffing. Whoops. Major food baby that night. If I could add one more tip - Wear stretchy pants. Works every time.

  2. I have THREE thanksgiving dinners this year spanning 2 weeks. I can't even deal. By the 3rd one, I'm just going to fake an illness. I'm so nervous about gaining weight or even just bloating from all the food. I'll just have to call on every bit of willpower in my soul to keep me from making terrible choices.

  3. Great post! I am cooking the whole meal this year and tried to convince DH that I could make a "cleaner" meal. He didn't go for it. As long as you don't overindulge and get back on track the next day, you shouldn't have a problem.

  4. I have a tough time not stuffing myself at holiday meals as well. I usually avoid booze and include some exercise to balance it all out.

  5. great tips!! i'm planning on putting the fam through some tabata drills of some kind before the meal :)

  6. Thanks for the good reminders! I actually signed up for a half marathon on the Saturday after Thanksgiving just to keep me on track with food choices on the day. How sad is that? :-P

  7. Great post! This is such a scary time of year for weight gain. Starts with Thanksgiving, then all the treats in between, then Christmas :/

  8. The green bean casserole is my favorite! It's technically a vegetable, but somehow those fried onions on top and cream of mushroom soup might make it no longer a vegetable...haha.

  9. Glad you can enjoy Thanksgiving this year! My 3 Fs are close to yours - Family, food, and football =)

  10. OK-I'll be honest. The first thing I did was click on the link for the pumpkin martini. Great tips here! For whatever reason, I always eat very healthy and well on holidays when there is all this fantastic food surrounding me. I make great choices and then the next day when all the great food is gone, I make bad decisions and eat crap..... EVERY year I regret passing on the sweet potato casserole with real whipped cream and crunchy deliciousness on top while I'm elbow deep in a bag of Doritos on Friday....HA! Really, though great info here!