A Rich History Of Overeating

Everyone knows the tale of the first Thanksgiving dinner. The pilgrims and the Native Americans gathered around the first Thanksgiving table in peace and unity to celebrate a new friendship.

For the pilgrims, it was a step into a new world, and at least that first generation was very thankful to the Native Americans who helped feed and shelter them. Hence, Thanksgiving day and the tradition for counting one’s blessings were born.

Today, however, it seems that Thanksgiving dinner is more about stuffing your face with no moderation. Studies have shown that holiday weight gain is a regular phenomenon, with the vast majority of the population gaining a significant amount of weight[1] during the holidays.

So much so that Thanksgiving dinner can be a source of stress for many Americans. Still, there is a way to curb your intake while still enjoying the holidays and different ways to lose the holiday weight come January. Let’s take a look.

9 Ways To Keep Your Weight Down During Thanksgiving

These Thanksgiving dinner diet tips will give you handy strategies to use during the holidays while still being able to enjoy the spirit of Thanksgiving:

1. Eat Beforehand

Most people starve themselves so that they can gorge during Thanksgiving, but studies have consistently shown that this is not an effective strategy if you want to keep your holiday weight in check.

That’s because the traditional Thanksgiving foods (mashed potatoes, casseroles, dinner rolls, pies, etc.) are very caloric and fattening. If you eat a small portion of healthy foods before dinner, you will be less likely to gorge yourself on Thanksgiving foods that will have a major impact on your gut. This is one of the best Thanksgiving dinner diet tips because it will keep you from overeating in the first place.

Thanksgiving Dinner Diet Tips

2. Limit the Booze

Studies have shown that not only does alcohol consumption lower inhibitions and can make it easier for the brain to rationalize overeating but consuming alcoholic beverages alone increases the risk for obesity[2]. One of the most helpful and healthy Thanksgiving dinner diet tips, therefore, is to limit your alcohol intake.

3. Go Easy on the Sauce

Thanksgiving weight loss tips come in all levels of severity. One very small tweak you can make to your dinner that may make a big impact is to go easy on added sauces and gravies. These tend to have the highest fat content and aren’t necessary to enjoy your meal. A little bit is fine, but don’t go overboard.

4. Go All-in on Turkey

Turkey is a good, lean source of protein and probably the healthiest thing on the Thanksgiving dinner table. One way to satiate your stomach and avoid gorging on the more unhealthy foods is to have a larger than usual portion of turkey. It doesn’t have to be a massive serving but at least consider eating a bit more turkey than you usually would.

5. Opt for More Veggies

Another of the best Thanksgiving diet tips is to make sure there are plenty of vegetables on hand. If your dinner plan doesn’t include vegetable dish options, volunteer to bring some. Of course, try to load your plate up with as many veggies as possible like green beans, carrots, corn, and peas.

6. Avoid Pecking

A lot of people peck at dishes and snacks before the actual meal gets underway. This can add a significant amount of caloric intake to the day. Among the best Thanksgiving diet tips is to stay out of the kitchen, dining room, or anywhere food is available before dinner. Try engaging in conversation with friends and family, drinking water, and keeping yourself occupied so that you aren’t tempted to snack.

Thanksgiving Dinner Diet Tips

7. Take a Walk

After dinner, you will likely be feeling full and bloated. Good Thanksgiving weight loss tips include simply going for a short brisk walk after dinner. This will help you avoid dangerous after-dinner overeating and snacking, but studies have shown that taking a brief, 20-minute walk can burn up to 110 calories[3].

8. Portion Desserts

If you have a bunch of dessert options at your dinner, try not to think of them as a bunch of after-dinner options. If at all possible, avoid dessert altogether as it can be the most caloric portion of the meal. But if that’s not an option, try having a small piece of different desserts so that it amounts to one normal-sized portion.

9. Diet and Exercise

After the holiday, you must follow some Thanksgiving weight loss tips and get back on your regular diet. The day after, try a combination of jumping jacks, pushups, brief sprints, squat jumps, and even swimming.

Happier Holidays

Truly happy holidays are ones where you can look at yourself in the mirror afterward and be proud of what you see. Remember that Thanksgiving diet tips won’t do much good unless you practice some self-discipline and own strong mental fortitude.

Practice restraint whenever possible and prepare yourself beforehand for being surrounded by gluttony of food. Keep yourself occupied with conversation, games, or even stepping outside periodically to get some fresh air.

There is usually some last-minute grocery need that arises before dinner, so volunteer to go grab what is needed. Be mindful, be thankful, and have a great Thanksgiving!