How I avoid gaining weight over the Thanksgiving holiday

Soon an elaborate Thanksgiving meal fit for a king will be sitting upon a beautifully decorated table.  People will feast on everything from turkey to pumpkin pie while enjoying the company of loved ones.  It’s a wonderful time of year.

But there are some people that will not look at Thanksgiving this way.

Why?   To put in bluntly,  they are afraid that they may gain weight or throw off their new healthy lifestyle.  Believe me, it’s a very familiar feeling.  When I began my new healthy lifestyle back in 2001 by the time Thanksgiving had arrived, I had already lost over 100 pounds.  Did I want to gain any weight back?  No.  But I also wanted to enjoy the meal like everyone else.   So what did I do?  Basically what I still do today.

When it comes to the turkey itself, white meat has less fat than the dark meat.   Many nutritionists unanimously recommend white meat, but the dark turkey meat contains more iron and zinc. Since I try to watch the fat content, my choice is the white meat of the turkey.

I love mashed potatoes so I take a small helping and just a very small spoonful of gravy or “fat-free” butter spray.  Rolls with butter are “empty calories” so I avoid them completely.    Green bean casserole, scalloped corn, cranberries dishes, lettuce salads and fresh veggies are my healthy favorite choices as I make an extra effort to keep the creamy sauces and fat-laden items off my plate.

One plate of the Thanksgiving food is my limit.  Second plates are no longer an option for me.

I don’t deny myself all the high-calorie items because then I would feel deprived.  I simply allow small portions-just enough to taste and enjoy. The first bite always tastes the best anyways, right?  And don’t fill up on items that you’ll feel guilty about later.

This advice goes for the dessert, too.  I allow myself some dessert, again remembering that bite (or two) tastes the same as a large portion yet does not contain all those excess calories that we are trying to avoid.

Watch your beverages as well.  The calorie content of beverages  add up just like food calories do. Plain water, black coffee and cold/hot tea are zero calories and are my beverage choices not only during the holiday season.  Wine, beer and eggnog are popular beverage choices for this time of year, so take a moment to look over the calorie content of these drinks in order to help you to make the selection that works best for you to maintain your new healthy lifestyle.

And last but certainly not least, I take a walk after the Thanksgiving meal.  My daily walk was … and still is my key ingredient towards a successful weight loss, one that I’ve maintained for ten years.  Walking works more than words can describe!

Have a healthy and happy holiday, one that allows you to be thankful for all your many blessings.

Photo credit: The Vault DFW

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