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How to Avoid Overeating on Thanksgiving

Are you tired of gaining five pounds every year when Thanksgiving rolls around? Don’t torpedo your healthy diet and fitness plan with unnecessary weight gain at the end of November. Remember: the winter holidays are right around the corner, with an entire month of holiday eating ahead. But by following these smart strategies, you can enjoy a delicious holiday meal and avoid binge-eating triggers.

Be honest with yourself

Are you someone who can eat a small portion of sausage stuffing or pumpkin pie, or do you find yourself going back for seconds, whether or not you’re still hungry? If you know that you can’t resist the high-calorie foods you love then be honest with yourself before you go to a Thanksgiving celebration. Plan ahead by creating a specific strategy to stay away from addictive foods that set off overeating triggers and replace them with less tempting food choices.

Eat before your Thanksgiving meal

This one might surprise you. But the idea of saving up calories before a big Thanksgiving meal is a recipe for overeating disaster. Eat a healthy and balanced breakfast that will keep you full until lunchtime. If your Thanksgiving meal will be held in the evening, be sure to include a healthy lunch, as well. Eat a small snack about an hour before the meal; the goal is to feel hungry, but not starving, when you sit down to eat.

Exercise portion control

Portion control can be a challenge, whether at a family-style meal or when following a buffet line. If you have decided that you can indulge some of your favorite foods without triggering binge eating, proceed with caution. One of the best ways for how to avoid overeating on Thanksgiving is by practicing portion control, so load up the majority of your plate with healthy vegetables and lean proteins, reserving only a quarter of your plate for decadent holiday treats.

Chew your food slowly

When food tastes good, people tend to eat too fast. Savor every bite of food on your plate by chewing it thoroughly before swallowing. This is a healthy habit to follow every day because it aids your digestion. When you remember to breathe while eating, you can make the social part of a Thanksgiving meal a priority and join in the conversation around you. When you eat slowly and actually taste every bite, you will feel fuller and more satisfied.

Watch out for sugar-rich foods and drinks

Sugar has a way of creeping into many Thanksgiving dishes--and not just at dessert. Your mom’s cranberry relish is loaded with sugar, as are many holiday beverages. Have a glass of wine or punch, but drink a glass of water before and after you indulge. When your body is properly hydrated, you won’t feel as much like becoming a couch potato after Thanksgiving dinner.

Be a smarter cook

If you’re the one doing the Thanksgiving cooking, make a few changes this year and revise some of your family recipes. Not every recipe needs real butter, nor do all desserts require that full cup of sugar to taste delicious. Go over your menu ingredients and find ways to cut calories without sacrificing flavor.

Finally, avoiding stress is another important way to avoid overeating on Thanksgiving. One of the best ways to eliminate stress is by continuing to follow your fitness and exercise program as you prepare for your Thanksgiving meal.