Don't let the holiday become a calorie disaster

Nov. 21, 2010 at 5:21 a.m.
Updated Nov. 23, 2010 at 5:23 a.m.

This week brings a variety of activities with friends and family, most of them revolving around food. This does not have to be a disaster in waiting. Try these tips to help you stay on track as you move through the holiday season.

Do NOT skip breakfast in anticipation of the feast. This will only serve to increase your appetite and cause you to overeat.

Using a smaller plate will help keep from heaping on the food to unhealthy heights.

Be especially diligent about portion sizes. Try to take even smaller portions than usual since you will probably have a wider variety of things to choose from.

Wait at least 15 minutes before going back for seconds (even longer for thirds). This will give your stomach time to signal your brain that you are full.

Take a nice 15 minute stroll first thing on Turkey Day before things get crazy.

Slow down. Savor the sights, smells and flavors of the meal. Enjoy the conversation and laughter.

Drink plenty of water. Alternate, between drinking water and other high calorie beverages all day. It will help you not consume so many liquid calories and keep you hydrated.

After the meal, put the leftovers away. Grazing all day will raise your calorie consumption considerably.

Take an outdoor break during half time of the big game. Toss your own football with the cousins, go for a walk to the end of the street and back or just push the kids on the swing set. Anything that involves standing up and moving around for 15 minutes.

Start a new tradition of playing an active game after the banquet. Some ideas that all ages could participate in might include softball, volleyball, Frisbee, croquet, tennis, badminton or tag.

As the day winds down take one more stroll around the block before it gets dark.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the day with friends and family without sabotaging your efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle. Small bouts of exercise throughout the day will help keep your metabolism up and help burn off Grandma's special pumpkin pie. Involving the whole family makes healthy habits a family affair.

Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.

Melissa Bagnall is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University in physical education. You can email her questions or comments to:



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