Tips for Getting Through Thanksgiving

November 22, 2010

holiday food

The holiday season can be a trying time for those who are losing weight, and perhaps no holiday is loaded with more food traditions than Thanksgiving.

I am of the philosophy that the holidays only come once a year, so I don’t advocate a strict no-participation approach. However, you also want to be sure that celebrating and enjoying one day doesn’t turn into going off your medical weight loss plan until after the New Year!

In general, if you are following any sort of weight loss program, it’s critical that you have a very strong plan in place going into the holidays to ensure you don’t lose sight of your goals.

For example, I’d recommend bringing one or two healthy dishes to any gatherings – perhaps some shrimp cocktail and a vegetable tray with low-fat dip. That way, you have at least a few dishes you know you’ll be able to turn to during the event.

In general, I’d recommend those actively losing weight to avoid the carb-loaded options (potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and desserts) if possible, or to keep portions to just a little bit. Reach mostly for turkey, vegetable side dishes, and fresh fruit for dessert.

If you are in medical weight loss maintenance mode, you can relax a bit more. Perhaps have a little of everything but again, keep it in moderation.

Remember to eat slowly and mindfully. Try not to make food your focus. Look to other things about the holiday to bring joy, such as visiting with family and friends. After all, part of life is making room for celebrations.

No matter what, you just want to make sure you get right back to business as usual the next day. If you do overeat, don’t let yourself slip into guilt or shame. Expect that the next day or two following the holiday could be more challenging if you’ve stretched out your stomach or eaten foods that may trigger further cravings. But be strong! Within a day or two this will pass and you’ll be glad you didn’t abandon your goals.

Remember, weight problems don’t come from one day. They come from the pattern day after day. So even if you do eat more than you planned, the key is not letting it become a trend. Simply chalk it up to being human and refocus on your goals.

Lastly, I’d recommend you take a low-key approach when it comes to talking about your diet with others during the day. Sometimes this only draws attention, scrutiny, or uncomfortable discussions you may not want. It’s possible that if you don’t mention it and just stick with your goals, others won’t even notice what or how much you’re eating (or not eating!).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dr. Michael Kaplan

Founder and Chief Medical Officer

The Center for Medical Weight Loss

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Comments (2)

[…] comes only once a year and is a special cause for celebration. But beware: the average Thanksgiving meal can contain up to 4,500 calories and 229 grams of […]

[…] not be the easiest day if you’re trying to lose weight, but it’s possible to enjoy a healthy Thanksgiving meal that won’t do so much damage.  You can enjoy all of the holiday’s classic comfort […]

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