Kimberly Garrison: How to avoid weight gain on Thanksgiving

Posted: November 21, 2012

THURSDAY of course is Thanksgiving, and that means pressure to eat, eat and eat some more! Let me show you how to enjoy the day without falling over a nutritional cliff.

Much like credit-card debt, the extra pounds gained from holiday overeating can take months to burn off. To keep your waist-management under control, follow these four steps:

_ Have a plan: Make an effort to maintain your normal routine. If your gym is open on Thanksgiving morning, get there first thing and get in a good workout! Not only will you feel energized for the activities ahead, you will be more relaxed and less stressed.

_ Skip the bread: Since you'll probably be loading up on carbs like mac and cheese, stuffing and pie, do yourself a favor and skip the everyday carbs from bread and dinner rolls, which can save you 400 to 600 excess calories.

_ Beware of the booze: Alcohol is loaded with empty calories. Worse, it stimulates your appetite. One typical mixed drink can cost you 350 to 500 calories. An average five-ounce serving of wine is 95 to 100 calories. Though they're empty, alcohol calories add up quickly to potentially wreck your waistline. So mind your margaritas.

_ Remember the brain-to-belly connection: It takes about 20 minutes for the hypothalamus (the region of your brain that controls hunger) to register to the brain that you are full.

Instead of inhaling your dinner, take your time and really enjoy each delectable bite. Engage in the stimulating conversation, and drink equally from the water and wine glasses.

Last but not least, remember that a typical Thanksgiving meal is about 3,000 calories. Burning that one plate off would require four to five hours of moderate cardiovascular exercise.

Kimberly Garrison is a wellness coach and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia. Her column appears Wednesdays. Email her at

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