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Managing Thanksgiving Eating

Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks, rather than a time for taking without giving thanks. Sharing a meal with family and friends with adequate food is a blessing to enjoy and appreciate. However,many of my patients are worried that the season of holiday eating means an end to their weight management efforts. Don’t let your concerns or fear of weight gain during this time interfere with your happiness from a Thanksgiving blessing. To help reduce your weight gain concerns, here are a few suggestions to help you better manage your holiday eating: 1) eat mindfully, being aware of what and how much you are eating, and understand that just because the food is there, you don’t have to eat it, or that much of it: 2) watch the amount of alcohol you drink, since alcohol has more calories per unit measurement (7 calories per gram), than does carbohydrate or protein (4 calories per gram); 3) preload your stomach with some protein by eating a small amount of a protein snack ( a hard-boiled egg, a protein shake, a glass of low fat milk, or a small protein bar etc.) because protein is effective for causing a sense of fullness and satiety; 4) eat slowly, as this will give your lower intestine time to send the satiety (fullness) hormone to your brain to report that you are full and don’t need, rather than want, to eat more. By eating too fast your brain can’t properly register how much you have just eaten; 5) remember that food is not leaving the planet and there will be plenty of leftovers to eat at a later time, try not to be the first one to finish their meal; 6) drinking more water while eating your meal will help you to feel full earlier and with less food; 7) take a moment to be thankful that you have enough food to eat in a safe environment, where you can show care for others, and also be cared for by others. Happy Thanksgiving, Peter Vash, M.D.,MPH

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