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3 Ways to Avoid Thanksgiving Weight Gain

By on November 21, 2012

Many of us find ourselves caught in the cycle of trying lose weight to look fit for the Summer months without contemplating the roots of our Winter weight gain. The average American gains seven pounds during the holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving. Since Thanksgiving is known as a feasting holiday, half the battle can be won with a few simple strategies for getting through it without overdoing it.

Did you know the average Thanksgiving meal consists of between 3,000 to 5,000 calories—clearly exceeding the recommended daily nutritional requirements of around 2,000 calories. And it just does’nt work to not eat all day until Thanksgiving dinner and then eat lightly because the body is shocked into storing more reserves (as in fat), and you will likely consume more calories had eaten throughout the day. Try these tips.

Strategy #1: Don’t Skip Meals

So, the first tip for not gaining weight during Thanksgiving is to eat breakfast and lunch. If these meals are usually large or contain a lot of fat or sugar, eat lighter and healthier. For example, a fibrous meal will generally be low in calories and help you sustain a feeling of fullness that can last all the way up to the big feast.

Strategy #2: Drink Water

Another easy tip that will help keep Thanksgiving pounds off of your body is to drink plenty of water. You should drink water throughout the day leading up to the meal and at least two glasses of ice-cold water right before it. In addition to filling you up a little, your body will have to burn calories in order to bring the cold water to body temperature. Continue with cold water during and after your meal to give your stomach a good workout.

Strategy #3: Be a Little Picky

Many of us will eat at least a little of everything during Thanksgiving, even if we don’t particularly like everything. This pseudo-tradition of eating everything because, hey it’s Thanksgiving, can spell disaster for your waistline. Instead, you should focus only on the foods that you really love. This will cut a lot of unnecessary calories from the meal and leave you more room for what you crave.  The more turkey and vegetables you eat, the better chance you have at reducing your caloric intake.

Finally, a word about seconds: a good strategy for allowing yourself seconds without going overboard is to, again, focus on the foods you love. If there are eight total dishes including the turkey and you could do without eating three of them, try eating your first helping of turkey plus two side dishes and leave the remaining two for a second helping (plus some more turkey, of course). In effect, this is a simple means of attaining good portion control.

These are just a few strategies for not putting on weight this holiday season. And by all means get in some real exercise away from the shopping centers. Recent studies have shown that simply deciding on a strategy before the meal will mitigate weight gain more so than sitting at the table and hoping for the best. Happy Thanksgiving.


Luvaire Murrell is a writer and editor for healthyblackmen.org and our monthly newsletter. Mr. Murrell is experienced in marketing, public speaking, and research. He is also a published poet.

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