How to stay on track during Thanksgiving

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

If you prefer to listen to this article, click the podcast link above.


Hello, my name is Teresa Cedeno. I’m a personal trainer and I’m going to show you how to lose weight.

Thanksgiving, a day where we are grateful for our family, our health, and of course the delicious food that we will be eating. Food that we get to eat once a year, so throw your clean eating out of the window and gorge until you’re stuffed like your turkey [turkey goggle sound]. That’s what we’ve been conditioned to think anyway. But one day of eating shouldn’t set you back a week in your weightloss. Keep reading to discover how to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner without feeling guilty and bloated the next day.


Step One: Don’t Starve Until Dinner

I get it. You want to save space in your stomach so you can devour food. But you should treat Thanksgiving Day like another day. Eat your regular breakfast and lunch and you still be hungry at dinner time. Waiting until dinner most likely began in your childhood when a family member said, “You have to wait or else you’ll spoil your appetite”. But waiting leads to intense hunger and will cause you to binge. Besides, you’re an adult now and your choices are yours alone. So ask yourself what’s makes more sense? Starve and binge? or enjoy a day with meals and then at dinner eat until you are satisfied. Don’t convince yourself you’re going to miss out if you don’t binge. I promise you there will still be leftovers on Friday, which taste better anyway.


Step Two: Choose Smaller Plates

If you haven’t listened to the last episode then you don’t know the impact your dishware size has. Eating on smaller plates is a fantastic strategy when you’re trying to lose weight. Our perception is highly influenced by visual information. So potions will look more filling on a smaller plate. We can use this strategy to trick ourselves into eating less but feeling full. That’s why during Thanksgiving dinner opt for a smaller plate. Unfortunately, traditional Thanksgiving recipes are very high in calories so if you overeat you got yourself a double whammy! Calories on top of calories. Smaller plates, on the other hand, allow you to taste everything, without overeating. Eating on smaller plates will create a balance between indulging and portion control.

Step Three: Veggies First!

Now that you have your plate, make sure to add the healthy options first. Fill half of your plate with veggies and you’ll be left with 1/4 of your plate for protein and 1/4 of your plate for carbs. It’s best if the veggies aren’t doused in cheese or gravy. Even better volunteer to prepare lightly-seasoned vegetables to share with your family. It’s so important to have veggies on your plate. Not only are they jammed packed with helpful vitamins and minerals but their low-calorie too. When trying to lose weight, it’s best to choose the most filling and low-calorie option. Adding veggies to your plate first is important because it stops you from adding high-calorie options. Our goal for this meal is to enjoy it but within reason.


Step Four: Eat Until You Are Satisfied

As you’re eating, you need to be asking yourself, “Am I satisfied or am I still hungry?“. You shouldn’t force yourself to clean your plate. Your stomach shouldn’t hurt and you shouldn’t feel the need to unbutton your pants to make more room. Asking yourself, “Am I satisfied, or am I still hungry” trains you to listen to your stomach’s signals. Your body is amazing it will tell you when it’s had enough but if you don’t listen and continue to shove food into your mouth, you’re going to see the number on the scale go up.


Step Five: Don’t Self-Sabotage

In my family, like many of yours, we show love through food. My aunts will continually offer me plates and plates of food even though I’ve already said no. Throughout history, we’ve associated love and social gatherings with food. Parties, family dinners, going out to eat and Thanksgiving Day are all social gatherings involving food. I mean it’s nice to have people making sure we are happy and well-fed. It’s their language of love, but this love can be tough to manage when you’re trying to not overeat. The most common ways people try to convince you to eat are statements like, “Honey! You barely ate. Diets don’t exist on Thanksgiving….what did you not like my food…oh come on you don’t need to lose weight. You’re fine the way you are.” We feed rude denying food, especially when that person just slaved away in the kitchen for hours. Here’s what you can do. Be polite, say no, and stand your ground. Ask yourself, What’s more important for you? Pleasing your auntie, grandmother, or other family member offering you food? or continuing to lose weight and feeling confident about your ability to keep it off? The reality is that accepting another plate isn’t polite…it’s self-sabotage.


Re-listen to this episode on your way to Thanksgiving dinner. It will remind you what to do and create a mindset of self-care. COVID has made this holiday season different. You might not be having your regular family gathering but these lessons can be applied throughout the year and I wish you and your family health and a Happy Thanksgiving.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to message me on Instagram or Facebook @fitnessmanifest.

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