Thanksgiving Weight Gain

A typical Thanksgiving dinner is more than 3500 calories.

If you want to avoid Thanksgiving weight gain you'll need a plan in place before the holiday arrives.

Avoid Thanksgiving Weight Gain

Halloween is the holiday with potential to start adding extra poundage if we aren't careful. This particular holiday diet pitfall is one of the easiest to sidestep. Just buy candy that you don't care for, or give all the candy away at the end of the evening even if it means dumping half a bowl of goodies into some little goblin's trick-or-treat bag.

Getting around the pitfalls awaiting us on Thanksgiving takes a little more planning because it involves eating with others including that aunt or mother that thinks you need "just one more piece." With all those traditional goodies we look forward to each year, if we don't want to gain weight it's important to approach the holiday with a plan. Not a plan that tells you to skip your favorite foods, but a plan to cut back on your portions.

Why a Plan Is Needed

It's so easy to think there's nothing wrong with making an exception to the "eating sensibly rule" on the holidays. The thing that people don't realize is that you can make an exception without being extreme. If we're not careful our Thanksgiving feasting can lead to an extra 1-3 pounds as we head into the heart of the holiday season with all the extra parties and traditional family treats. If we're not careful, one exception leads to another and we'll graze into the New Year and wonder why our pants don't fit.

Calories in a Typical Thanksgiving Dinner

Let's face it. Most often people don't just sit down and eat Thanksgiving dinner. There are all those yummy appetizers and snacks before you even get to the dinner. However, here are the calories found in a typical Thanksgiving Dinner:

  • Roasted turkey - 450 calories
  • Homemade stuffing - 400 calories
  • Gravy - 300 calories
  • Mashed potatoes - 350 calories
  • 10 black or green olives - 125 calories
  • Cranberry sauce - 200 calories
  • Rolls with butter - 300 calories
  • Peas or corn with butter - 150 calories
  • Wine or sweet tea, cider, etc. - 300 calories
  • Pumpkin pie with whipped topping - 450 calories
  • Pecan Pie - 650 calories

This does not take into consideration other family favorites that make it to the table on Thanksgiving. This is just a basic Thanksgiving dinner and the grand caloric total comes to 3,675 calories.

Make a Plan

If you head into Thanksgiving with a plan, your chances of sidestepping the dietary pitfalls will increase. Here are a few suggestions to help you run the gauntlet:

  • Don't skip meals before the Thanksgiving Dinner. If you skip meals you'll be so hungry that you are sure to over-stuff yourself.
  • Drink little or no alcohol before dinner. The calories in alcohol can add up, and alcohol diminishes your determination, kindles hunger. Instead, plan to drink water. Especially plan to drink 8 ounces of water or a low calorie drink about 30 minutes before sitting down to the Thanksgiving feast.
  • Wear clothes with a fitted waistband giving you little room to overdo it without inflicting discomfort.
  • If you're having turkey, choose white meat over dark meat because it has less calories.
  • Eat smaller amounts. You'll be surprised how fast your plate fills up even when taking one spoonful of stuffing instead of three.
  • Don't have seconds of any one food.
  • Determine ahead of time which one of the desserts you will choose when dinner is done.
  • Write down what you eat. Seeing the list in black and white helps keep the amounts we eat in check.
  • Go for a walk after dinner with family members or friends.

It is easy shrug off thoughts of self-control for holiday meals. The problem is that when we enter the holiday season, one special day leads to another and Thanksgiving weight gain is just the start. When you make a plan to cut the amount of special treats you allow yourself, you're not denying yourself totally, but learning to eat moderately. This approach let's you sample those delectable treats without overdoing it and when you find yourself able to wear the outfit you want on January 1 without feeling like a stuffed sausage you'll be happy you did.

Thanksgiving Weight Gain