Tips to avoid a diet disaster on Thanksgiving

Avoid Thanksgiving Day weight gain with a few guilt-free tips.

Photo by The Vault DFW

On Thanksgiving, diet plans tend to be derailed when juicy turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, and an assortment of sugar-heavy desserts are piled up on the table. Whether you love or hate this button-busting holiday, one thing is certain: if you want to avoid post-holiday weight gain, it's important to stick to a plan. 

Canadian clinical hypnotherapist Success Through Manipulation author Colin Christopher offered some guilt-free tips on how to stick to your diet during the holiday:

Don’t skip meals leading up to Thanksgiving
Just because you avoid dinner the night before doesn’t mean you can squeeze in more fatty food during your main meal.

“This will guarantee your failure as it leads to increased hunger, binge eating and depriving your body of necessary calories to convert to energy,” Christopher advises.

There’s no such thing as eating healthy now to balance out bad meals later
Eating your quinoa salads for a week doesn’t entitle you to stuff your face with pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes if you’re really committed to losing weight.

Have a plan
This holiday is filled with bad choices you may regret later on. Remind yourself to stop eating as soon as you feel full.

Don't compare yourself to others
“Just because Aunt Mildred shows up to Thanksgiving dinner and she’s 100 pounds heavier than you, doesn’t give you permission to go on an eating spree,” Christopher warns.  “Instead, compare yourself to people more fit than you or people whose body you aspire to look like.” 

Learn to say no
If you’re really serious about your diet, let your family know you’re committed. Christopher suggests that family members will understand if you decline desserts in order to stay healthy. 

Exercise doesn’t give you the right to eat poorly  
You may think that a few sessions on the treadmill will give you extra room to consume more calories, but this doesn’t give you the thumbs up to make it a habit. “Working out and exercise is great, but it’s never a pass to load up on bad food at the holidays,” Christopher said.

Let your clothes be a reminder
Don’t wear your maternity clothes or loose fitting jeans on this day. Snug clothing will serve as a reminder to stop eating when you reach for the extra mac and cheese dish.

Traveling for the holiday is no excuse
A lot people believe spending their long weekends at airports gives them free license to eat fast food and bags of chips. But if you wouldn't eat such food normally, don't slip into the habit.  “When traveling, pack a healthy meal before you board your flight or hit the road this holiday.”

You are responsible
Any weight gained from this holiday is on you. Don’t blame the turkey or the delicious dessert, said Christopher. “It’s very possible to control what you eat this Thanksgiving but it’s ultimately your responsibility,” he added.

Dig Deep
“If you really commit to the process, you can lose weight and get healthy – even at the holidays,” said Christopher. “Being partially committed never works.” 

Don’t let your Thanksgiving binge eating spiral out of control. The holidays can be rough on your diet, but there are a lot of ways to curb weight gain without taking a backseat from all the dinner table excitement.

Here are additional tips from The Vancouver Observer:

Skip the skin
As soon as you get your piece of the turkey, skim off the top layer. The skin is loaded with bad fat. A skinless breast is a perfectly healthy choice.

Be stingy with your desserts
There’s no need to drown your turkey in cranberry sauce. Aim for a couple of teaspoons. You don’t have to forget about one of the most exciting parts of the meal, just seek ways to cut calories. Skip the a la mode pie and swap it for a plain pie, it will save you 250 calories.

Trick yourself into eating less
Fill your plate (about one-third) with lots of vegetables, and drink lots of water before and during your meal.  This will satisfy your hunger and fool your stomach into thinking its full.

Choose your drinks wisely
If your friends and family are hounding you to enjoy some drinks with them, you can still join in on the fun, just opt for a glass wine instead of cans of beer.

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