The good news about Thanksgiving in diet terms is that it is only one day. Even if you go hog wild and consume everything you can get your hands on, you are unlikely to send your weight loss efforts back more than a few pounds.
The first great Thanksgiving advice I always remember, don’t make “diet” food. No matter what the magazines say, no one will be excited when you switch out the traditional creamed potatoes for some creamed cauliflower. This is one day when traditional is better, especially if you are cooking for a large group. (Creamed cauliflower will only guarantee tons of leftovers). Most traditional Thanksgiving foods really aren’t super high in calories/points. White meat turkey is an easy choice, as are sweet potatoes and there is almost always at least one plain vegetable, like carrots or green beans. As for the heavier traditional foods, if this is your one time a year to have them, by all means, do. Just go with a smaller amount. 1/4 cup of creamed potatoes, green bean casserole or anything will not kill you (it might even make you happy).
My second tip is to keep your diet to yourself. The more people who you tell that you are dieting, the more people who will be in your plate. When you announce that you are on Weight Watchers, or any plan, it invites others to comment on everything you are eating. Nothing sucks the fun out of your once-a-year piece of pie than having 5 or 6 people ask you if you should be eating that. If you’ve lost a lot of weight since the last time your family saw you, it might be obvious, but in general, the more low key you are about your diet, the more you can enjoy your food.
Finally, exercise. This has so many uses on Thanksgiving day. First, if you go for a walk after eating, you will offset that over-stuffed, ill feeling and wave of sleepy. Second, it gets you out of the house. It’s a chance to clear you head or bring your favorite relative along for a walk to catch up on the juicy family gossip. Mall walking counts, but know that you will be stopping every 5 to 10 feet due to crowds. I’m signed up for the 5 mile Turkey Trot with a few other family members.
My final advice — and this goes for all holidays– wear tight, uncomfortable clothes. This is not the day for the stretchy pants and over sized sweater. Nothing inspires you to keep your portions small like a pair of unforgiving jeans and a muffin-top revealing top. It’s a good reminder where all those extra calories will end up.