How (Not) to Put On Weight During Thanksgiving

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia. We have managed to appropriate most other North American holidays without actually knowing their true meaning (Halloween, anyone?) mainly because we just need another excuse to take a day off and stand around the barbeque with a few drinks discussing world affairs, our bosses and why Demi and Ashton have unfollowed each other on Twitter. For now Thanksgiving is all American. The media and the Internet kindly provide us with a small glimpse into what actually goes on during this festive occasion and a lot of talk happens to be about food. I saw this gem of an article today from Medical News Today, a very respected establishment, offering a few helpful tips on how to avoid being a gluttonous slob over Thanksgiving. I decided to improve on some of their suggestions and now I offer you a guide on

How (Not) to Put On Weight During Thanksgiving.

1. Start stressing out about the celebratory occasion a few days in advance. Try to guess what kind of food will be on the table and estimate the total amount of calories, fat and carbs. Don’t sleep the night before tossing and turning while calculating your calorie budget for the next day.

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2. Start denying yourself food a week prior to the occasion. Every calorie that does not go into your mouth will accumulate in a magical space that you can call on at Thanksgiving dinner.

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3. Alternatively,  make a day before your carb loading day. Surely if you overfill your glycogen stores and calm your nervous system with extra sugar you will have more willpower to walk past the crusty bread platter without collapsing into a heap.

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4. Do go out and exercise in the morning. Preferably do something mind-numbingly repetitive for a couple of hours like a Stairmaster in the gym. Face the wall so that you are forced to watch the screen counting the calories spent. Realising how bloody long it takes to burn each  calorie will make you think twice about shoving more food down your gob.

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4a Such exercise will have an additional benefit of assisting with your hunger control. Everyone knows that doing long bouts of cardio is a marvelous way to stay sated.

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5.  Have a breakfast of champions: a bowl of wholegrain cereal full of fibre to make you fill so bloated that you can’t even look at the turkey without letting out a sneaky one. Don’t have a single ounce of fat with your breakfast: your arteries will be swimming with saturated fat in a few hours time. Let’s try to avoid a heart attack at a family party.

Don’t forget your orange juice: freshly squeezed, of course. Do you see those orange bits floating in your glass? That’s more fibre, it will lower the GI of your juice from 250 to a respectable 79 and help you maintain even blood sugar levels for the rest of the day.

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6. Talking about blood sugar. You will quickly realise after your breakfast that you are ravenously hungry. That’s good. Keep topping up your blood sugar level  every 2-3 hours with such wholesome snacks as bagels with low fat cream cheese, tiny tubs of no fat soy yoghurt with fake chocolate flavour and a few multi-grain cereal bars.

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7. If you have time just before dinner go for a quick run around the block. Last chance workout!

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8. If you are a guy wear a pair of pants size smaller. Ladies, pull that ridiculously tight, preferably pastel-toned dress out of the back of your wardrobe. Your clothing will serve two purposes: first, being so tight it will make it impossible for you to sit down comfortably at the table without looking like you are about to be cut in half. You will be relegated to standing in the kitchen and eating low calorie finger food. Nothing like spending your Thanksgiving dinner munching on carrot sticks and low-fat low-salt low-calorie cardboard crackers.

Secondly, you will be so mortified about every lump and bump spilling out of your neckline, your sleeves and between the buttons it will be shameful to eat at all. Now is the time to punish yourself severely for all the indiscretions since the last Thanksgiving.

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9. If you do decide to partake of the gluttonous orgy that is the Thanksgiving dinner eat only the bland and unappetising dishes. Ask the hostess to provide a glass of water, a 100g of steamed unsalted piece of salmon and some salad with low fat dressing on the side. If the hostess is your mother, do not forget to remind her that you have to eat this way because of all the dietary mistakes she made when you were a child.

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10. Finally, if you find yourself ravenous, cranky and slightly dizzy by the time dessert comes around, don’t worry and give yourself permission to have a piece of each dessert (in moderation, of course. Don’t be stupid and go back for third helpings!).  You only live once. This is a once-a-year family occasion. After all, you can always repair the damage by running a half marathon tomorrow.

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Good luck! You are going to need it!

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13 thoughts on “How (Not) to Put On Weight During Thanksgiving

  1. For someone on the other side of the world, you sure have a good grasp of the situation!

    You could also add
    11- Remember that tomorrow is Black Friday, and it is your patriotic duty to go out and stimulate the economy. Sure you’ll be shopping for gifts for others, but you don’t want to be a bloated mess if you spot something you want to try on for yourself!

  2. I love this! Even though I’m in Australia too I seem to have been hammered with articles about how to eat healthily on Thanksgiving. Seriously, people?! It’s one day! Get over it. Don’t gorge yourself but have some fun and move on.

  3. yes, obviously you haven’t experienced a traditional thanksgiving. (tongue-in-cheek time….) it’s all about the stress of being with people you don’t voluntarily hang out with the rest of the year — hello, cortisol! if you’re unlucky enough to have family (or in-laws) who don’t approve of alcohol, carb-heavy comfort foods may be your only solace! a chocolate dessert might conceivably help — but usually the choice is pumpkin- or pecan-pie.

    me, i’m lucky. we’ll have wine and good company, and plenty of whole foods to choose from. i’ll just pass on the breads. 🙂 happy turkey-day, everyone!

  4. Love It!! I plan on just eating turkey and some green veggies. The comment about the cereal reminded me of something that haqppened with my daughter. We were staying with my sister for the weekend, so Savanna wanted what my sister had for breakfast. (Fruit Loops) I warned her that she would be hungry in two hours. Well, she did not last one hour. So then I gave her meatballs and sausages!

  5. Argh, grr, rahrr! Since you’re ranting, I have to add my own Braveheart style “Ye can take our halloween but ye canna take our freedom!” rant and remind readers that Halloween is in fact a Scottish tradition adopted by North America just as Mel Gibson is a North American adopted by Australia.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween

    Admittedly the Scottish version doesn’t have such classic festive soundtracks as “The Monster Munch” or “The Addams Family Theme” but still, it’s the honour and the principle of it…!

    p.s. If it’s not evident, I should mention that I already had this rant when our kids started mentioning people dismissing Halloween as some “American thing”. Grr, argh, rahrr!

  6. It is amazing that people in Australia started to celebrate Thanksgiving – the holiday is about some moment in the American history. Sure, extra holiday wouldn’t hurt anyone. Cooking turkey was the first new food I learn to cook after arriving from Russia to Canada (it is important to use a cooking thermometer and the right combination of herbs). The thing I like the most about turkey – the amount of leftovers and the price of meat. Beats goose and duck any time. If you eat enough of the meat and use a lot of butter for your veggies, dessert wouldn’t be even a consideration. I also made my own modifications for the traditional menu in the form of fermented vegetables – it is the perfect fit. According to my observations, the Thanksgiving dinner itself is not so much the problem – it is just a start for several weeks of careless eating without restrain and spending too much money on Christmas gifts. After that people have some New year resolutions they stick with for couple of months.

    • Just wanted to confirm that we don’t celebrate (or even observe) Thanksgiving in Australia.
      Happy turkey-day anyway!

  7. BEST. This describes how I felt the painful 2-weeks before Thanksgiving up here in Canada. Worst advice about how to strategically handle one, single meal. As if it is going to be the end of the world…

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