As you can tell, Thanksgiving is on my mind. I love holidays. I love being with family and friends and celebrating. The problem is, of course, being a little too celebratory. One day can throw off weeks of weight watching if you're not careful. So, here are my own personal rules for the holiday:
1. Eat lightly the week before. I try to build up a "calorie reserve" by being really careful about what I eat for the entire week beforehand.
2. Get a good work-out in that morning. Usually I try to find the time to get in an extra long walk and a short yoga practice.
3. Eat extremely lightly for breakfast and lunch that day. After all, you're going to have a huge meal later on. Sometimes I'll just juice up some fresh grapefruit juice and have an apple for breakfast, and maybe munch on a few carrots around 12. The holiday starts around 2, so I know I'll be eating soon.
3. During the "appetizer phase" start with some water and stand away from the food. In our family, we put out platters of "appetizers" and mingle and socialize for a few hours before the meal. Wine, beer and liquor flow freely. I start with just a glass of water and initially just enjoy being there and talking with people (away from the food). I will nibble eventually, but I give myself a good 30 minutes or more before I do.
4. Go for whatever raw you can. Usually we do have a crudities platter, and maybe some fresh grapes. I'll start with those so that I'll eat less of the cheese puffs, etc.
5. Eat what you love, but don't eat everything. My family tends to go for the smorgasbord approach. Besides the turkey, there are usually a good 15 to 20 side dishes. I go for the food I really love (like mashed turnips, stuffed mushrooms and homemade pumpkin pie) and pass on the stuff I don't love (unless it's meets the "healthy" requirement below).
6. Avoid the processed crap and go healthy. If the dish mostly comes from a can, I skip it and go for the sides that are mostly fresh vegetables. I'm making a roasted vegetable dish and kale, so I'll be sure to eat those.
7. Remember there are always leftovers. If I really love a particular side (and it's reasonably healthy), I'll just take more of it home with me (along with leftover turkey etc.). Thanksgiving leftovers are just another reason to give thanks (one less meal to cook).