Simple Ways to Avoid Unwanted Thanksgiving Weight Gain

Thanksgiving is a mere week away, and if you're anything like us, you're ready to chow down on some delicious seasonal favorites with family and friends. And while we're all about that turkey-and-mashed-potato life, we recognize that most people don't want to get too far off-track this Thanksgiving. Fortunately, you can have the best of both worlds with a few clever ideas.

Tips to Curb Overeating

Size Matters

Portion control is no joke. You've likely heard that eating from smaller plates and bowls can help you avoid eating too much, but did you know that using smaller serving dishes and utensils will also make a difference? In fact, one study showed that people served themselves about 14.5 percent more food when using a larger serving spoon!

small portion of food on a plate

Spare Feelings and Calories

Oftentimes we stuff ourselves in order to avoid hurting the feelings of loved ones who spent hours preparing the day's feast. Whether you have a food "pusher" at your table or you're just prone to feeling guilty if you don't sample everyone's dish, there are a few simple solutions.

First, take smaller quantities than normal. People generally pay far less attention to how much you took, focusing instead on who actually tried their dish. As a bonus, taking a smaller initial portion means you may have room for seconds later, which is sure to make the chef beam with joy.

Second, limit yourself to items that were prepared by someone in attendance. Sure, the host may put out chips or store-baked rolls, but it's unlikely anyone will mind if you skip them. Conversely, someone may be upset if you don't help yourself to their lovingly prepared (and possibly labor-intensive) contribution to the meal.

Stay Hydrated

We've already given you the skinny on why hydration is so important, but it bears repeating: Drink your water! Not only does water help you feel fuller—it aids in digestion, and putting your fork down for a few sips now and then will help you check in with your body's hunger signals.

What to Do if You Overindulge

Fight the Urge to Wallow

Is there anything better than a warm, comfy couch after gorging on tasty food? You may want to loosen your belt and melt into the sofa, but you must resist the temptation! A short walk helps your muscles start using some of the glucose that floods your body after a meal—in addition to encouraging your digestive tract to keep things moving.

Going for a family walk after dinner is a great idea, but if you're not feeling up for that, even the simple act of helping to clean up the kitchen and dining area will be beneficial.

family walk outside in the fall

Put in Some Work

Muscle burns more calories than fat, so hitting the weights a few times before Thanksgiving can't hurt. No, it's not going to make up for the 3,000+ calories you might scarf down, BUT every little bit helps. Plus, you may need a little extra muscle in case you're tasked with lugging a 28-pound turkey to the table.

Going for a few runs or hikes in the days leading up to Thanksgiving is a great way to get your body into a routine prior to the big day, making it easier for you to keep doing it afterward.

In addition to building up some muscle and improving your cardio-respiratory response, exercise can be quite beneficial for reducing stress hormones (like adrenaline and cortisol) in the body. And with all the stress that often accompanies holidays and coordinating big meals, who couldn't use a little relief?

Whether you're hitting the trail or the gym, inov-8 has a shoe that can help you crush your goals and fend off those turkey-day pounds.

The Trailroc G 280 is perfect for an off-road Turkey Trot (or running away from the table when everyone starts asking about your love life).

The F-Lite 290 ideal for lifting heavy at the gym or lifting yourself out of your chair at the end of the meal (just remember to breathe and lift with your legs).

Wear the Roclite 350 in case you actually do have to go over the river and through the woods to get to your grandmother's house.