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Thanksgiving Dinner, Hold the Guilt

After you binge on Thursday, three ways to purge your conscience.

November 20th, 2012

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thanksgiving dinner

If there’s one day of the year that you’re bound to fall off the weight-watching wagon, it’s Thanksgiving. The name says it’s about appreciation, but who are we kidding, it’s about getting as much food in your face as you can before passing out on the couch between your cousin and the dog. 

The average American will gorge on 3,000 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thursday, according to the American Council on Exercise.  Yeah, that’s a day-and-a-half’s worth of calories in one sitting—and four times your daily fat allowance. Add that to all the snowflake cookies drifting in with the approach of Christmas and you’re looking at an extra pound before the new year. It’s a slippery, delicious slope.

MORE: Look Hot for the Holidays

Health and nutrition experts recommend a number of strategies to help you keep yourself in check on Thanksgiving, like preloading with a handful of nuts before the big meal so you’re not ravenous when you sit down. Keep occupied to avoid mindless grazing and commit to eating only once the dinner bell rings. Use a small plate to force portion control (note: piling pie slices is cheating). Eat slowly, so your body has time to realize when you’re full—and then, you know, close your mouth.

These are great suggestions. And I probably won’t heed them. My gut tells me (between furious rumblings) that I am not alone. We’re not bad people, we’re just hungry, dagnabbit.

“If you live a healthy lifestyle, there is always room for a ‘splurge’ day,” says Devin Alexander, author of The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook.

Matthew Della Porta, YouBeauty's Happiness expert, stresses that if you choose to indulge, do it with your maw and your mind. "We need to not only make a decision, but one that we are comfortable with," he advises. "Chances are this means eating whatever you want on Thanksgiving and not giving yourself a hard time about it."

Whether you go into Thursday planning to eat your face off, or you simply Thanks-give in, you can be a glutton for pie without being a glutton for punishment. Here are three ready-to-serve excuses for enjoying Thanksgiving to your fullest.

1. Rome wasn’t built in a day—and neither were your thighs.
“Nobody becomes overweight or in poor health by splurging for one day,” says celebrity nutritionist J.J. Virgin, C.N.S. You could spend the whole next day, week, month, kicking yourself. Or you could kick yourself back into gear.

“If you do choose to overeat, you just need to let it go and go back to your normal routine and not beat yourself up,” Alexander advises.

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