Wednesday, November 22, 2006

How To Survive Thanksgiving Dinner While On A Diet

It's the dreaded time of the year, the food filled holidays. It's not that you don't like food. It's just the opposite. You love food. But you are working hard to lose those extra pounds you have been carrying around and you don't want the holidays to undo all that hard work.

Many weight loss experts will tell you to not bother trying to lose weight during the holidays and to just try to maintain your current weight until after the holiday season. They probably think that because the average person gains three to seven pounds during the holidays that maintaining your current weight means you are doing great. I do agree to a point. Being able to not gain weight during the holidays is a pretty good feat considering all the delicious foods many of us have available to us in staggering amounts.

But I think a person can continue to lose weight during the holidays without feeling cranky the whole time or feeling completely deprived. I lost weight during the holiday season and I have a friend who was so determined to lose the extra pounds she was carrying around that she started her diet on Thanksgiving Day (yes, on the one day of the year that people traditionally pig out the most) and went on to successfully lose 40 pounds and keep it off. And nobody was even aware she was starting her diet that day.

So how did I survive Thanksgiving dinner while on my diet and how did my friends successfully start her diet on Thanksgiving Day?

It's all about choices.

First of all I'll tell you what I didn't do. I didn't have any alcoholic beverages because I wanted to chew my calories that day and not drink them, and because alcohol tends to weaken my resolve. And I'm not the only person whose resolve weakens after having a few drinks. Who do you usually see dancing on top of the pool table or bar when you go out; a sober person or a person who has had a few drinks?

This is what I did do:
Had small portions of the foods I really like so that I wouldn't feel deprived (turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and half a dinner roll).
Had large portions of raw vegetables from the veggie tray and lots of the steamed cauliflower and green beans that were served that day.
Drank lots of ice water.
I love pumpkin pie and whipped cream but I ate a small piece of it later on in the evening when everyone else was pigging out on leftover turkey, potatoes, stuffing, etc. The pie along with more of the raw veggies completely satisfied me and the scale was still my friend the next morning.

This is what my friend did:
Took reasonable portions of everything she really liked but didn't go back for seconds and thirds like she did other years.
My friend enjoys cocktails and she had a few, but to keep the calories down she had Jack Daniels and Diet Coke which meant each drink she had was less than 75 calories.
That afternoon when everyone was watching football, she went for a long walk.
She politely declined taking home leftovers.

You can survive Thanksgiving dinner while dieting. And it doesn't have to be a painful experience. Make smart choices, have small portions of what you really like, skip the things you don't really love, and fill up on the low calorie veggies and salad. And, if the Thanksgiving dinner you attend doesn't traditionally offer any low calorie foods like raw or steamed veggies, don't be shy about starting a new tradition and bringing them yourself.

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Dorrie Ruplinger has written several articles about weight loss. For a free report on how to lose 10 pounds before Christmas visit .

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