How Saving Calories for Thanksgiving Dinner Can Backfire

Thanksgiving: Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Oh, and expressing thanks of course. What’s not to love? But for individuals trying to lose weight, Thanksgiving kicks off the “holiday season” that can feel very detrimental to their weight loss efforts. Because of this, some may choose to go down extreme routes of restricting their intake or over-exercising just to make sure they maintain their weight amidst the hearty family meals. This could mean skipping out on one or all meals leading up to the big dinner, and although this may sound like you’re saving up on calories throughout the day, you could actually be doing more harm than good.


Let’s say you decided to have only water for lunch in anticipation of your Thanksgiving dinner. Sure, you may have saved roughly 500 calories, but your stomach is screaming at you to fill it up and fast. Because you haven’t eaten much during the day you are more likely to feel inclined to have an extra scoop of mashed potatoes and gravy, load up on the stuffing and what the heck? May as well take a piece of pumpkin AND apple pie. Those 500 calories that you avoid at lunch are then made up easily at dinner and chances are you consume double or triple the amount of what you “saved.”


By ensuring mindful and adequate eating habits leading up to Thanksgiving dinner, you will be setting yourself up for a pleasant and enjoyable meal. I’m sure you’ve heard the advice to not go grocery shopping on an empty stomach for the simple reason that you are almost guaranteed to fill your cart with foods you wouldn’t normally gravitate towards. Well, the same concept can be applied here. Avoid arriving at dinner with a growling appetite and allow yourself the chance to make mindful decisions about portion sizes and food options.


So enjoy the time with your family and friends, express thanks and feel good about your body and your ability to make healthy choices.


Happy Thanksgiving!

This page was printed from the BMI Medical website: