8 Tips to Avoid Thanksgiving Weight Gain

Thanksgiving week has arrived which means millions of dieters face a huge challenge in their weight loss goals. Avoiding Thanksgiving weight gain is a tricky proposition for dieters and health-conscious alike.

Americans consume over 675 million pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving not to mention enough mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pie to fill a football stadium. With all of this consumption taking place, how can someone counting daily calories avoid the pitfall of stuffing themselves past their limits on Thanksgiving?

Here are our eight tips for avoiding Thanksgiving weight gain:

1. Treat it like a normal day. Don't stress out too much about Thanksgiving. Treat it like any other normal day by eating a good breakfast, getting exercise, and being ready to count calories when dinner time rolls around. As it happens, you'll be having turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and dessert for dinner on this particular evening. Approach accordingly.

2. Know the danger zones. By understanding calories in Thanksgiving food, it's easier to steer clear of the worst options. It's okay to load up on turkey which is a great source of lean, healthy protein. The white meat is lower in calories per ounce than dark meat. Just go easy on the mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pie. A couple forkfuls will suffice.

3. Drink water before Thanksgiving meal. Drinking water before eating a meal will help curb appetite. Fill up on water by drinking 2-3 full glasses in the two hours prior to sitting down for your Thanksgiving dinner. It's a simple little trick to help eat less.

4. And stick to water. Two glasses of wine has nearly 200 calories. Additionally, alcohol can stimulate hunger cravings and lower your inhibitions and determination to stick to your diet plan. Limit yourself to one alcoholic drink at a maximum on this holiday season. A much better reward is knowing you made it through Thanksgiving without compromising your weight loss goals.

5. Avoid the post-turkey nap temptation. Speeding up metabolism by going for a long walk after your Thanksgiving meal will help keep weight off. While it may be tempting to lay down for a nap after a turkey dinner, doing so will slow your metabolism to a halt. If it's warm enough outdoors, go for a brisk fall walk with a loved one after your meal. Alternatively, get an early start on your holiday shopping by hustling your way around a shopping mall to work off that Thanksgiving meal.

6. Gobble on greens. Crowd out free space on your Thanksgiving dinner plate with delicious, low-calorie vegetables. We're not talking about Grandma's sweet potatoes coated in brown sugar and marshmallows. Sauteed or steamed vegetables with no butter or cheese added are where it's at. Eating a raw salad before dinner can help curb appetite to make skipping the potatoes and stuffing a piece of cake.

7. Change tradition with new healthy Thanksgiving recipes. Eat healthier during the holidays by gathering a few new weight loss-approved recipes to try out. Who knows? Maybe you'll stumble on the next great addition to your yearly Thanksgiving tradition!

8. Put down the fork, join the conversation. Thanksgiving is a great chance to catch up with loved ones. Use their company as an outlet to avoid overeating this holiday by putting down your fork between bites and engaging your friends and family in conversation. People who eat slower eat less. Take your time and savor this Thanksgiving meal and you may just realize you're fuller sooner than you expected!

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