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Fun and Fit: Tips to Avoid Overeating on Thanksgiving

Stay fit — and less stuffed — by fighting off cravings to gobble up everything

Dear Fun and Fit: I have been fairly diligent all year about exercising and eating healthfully. And now the holidays are creeping up faster than my heart rate monitor. How do I stay trimmer than a decorated tree and less stuffed than a turkey come Thanksgiving?

I’m Every Woman (and Man), Anywhere in the United States

Kymberly: I love the holidays. I also love holiday food, but I hate getting lethargic and overstuffed just because more food and family than usual are around. Is this the time to say, do not gobble gobble gobble up everything you see before you?

Alexandra: Drink lots of water and green tea before the feast. You will feel full and less inclined to overeat.

K: Eat your usual breakfast and lunch. Don’t skip a meal thinking you will then be free to make up for lost calories later when the “good stuff” your favorite auntie brought comes out. Inevitably you will be so hungry come the meal that you will overeat or choose whatever is closest.

A: Categorize foods into 1) love and will eat seconds, 2) like and will take a little just once, and 3) don’t need to eat at all. This kind of planning will help you make plate choices and make you more conscious of those choices. Paying attention has a definite effect on how much you pile on that plate.

K: Get up from the table when done. Do not sit with food in front of you calling your name á la Little Shop of Horrors. And don’t leave food just sitting out. You can end up eating an entire meal’s worth just from picking at the stuff that’s in front of you. Put it away right after the meal (or at least as soon as is politely possible). Your guests will actually probably thank you. OK, maybe thank you.

You wouldn't want this the other 364 days, so why eat it for Thanksgiving?
You wouldn’t want this the other 364 days, so why eat it for Thanksgiving? (David Boyle photo / Creative Commons)

A: If you’re a person who likes to talk to herself (like I do), just ask yourself this when you’re filling your plate: “Am I choosing this because I’m hungry or because it tastes good?” We aren’t here to say you “shouldn’t” this or “should” that, but the awareness is quite helpful.

K: Why not go for a walk? What better way to spend quality time with your favorite rellies or friends than by putting on a jacket and getting outside? No stuffing holiday snackerels into your pocket on that walk, either!

A: I hate to admit it, but I take Kymberly’s advice. Every year my “baking” sister (not K) and I get up early and go for a walk, just the two of us. We get some girl-talk time (we love to discuss recipes) before we both get in the kitchen for the cooking chaos.

Readers: What tips do you have to share?

— Identical twins and fitness pros Kymberly Williams-Evans and Alexandra Williams have been in the fitness industry since the first aerobics studio opened on the European continent. They teach, write, edit, emcee and present their programs worldwide on land, sea and airwaves. They co-write Fun and Fit: Q and A with K and A. You can currently find them in action leading classes in Santa Barbara and Goleta. Kymberly is the former faculty minor adviser at UCSB for its fitness instruction degree offered through the Department of Exercise & Sport Studies; Alexandra serves as an instructor and master teacher for the program. Fun and Fit answers real questions from real people, so please send your comments and questions to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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