I know it all too well -- that gross, lethargic feeling in my belly after stuffing myself with three different kinds of meat, stuffing, rice and peas, callalou, (I’m a Trini) …it’s like a badge of honour that I strive for each year! Then I lie on the couch, mad at myself both for being so full (because, I still want more) and yet regretting that I ate so much.

What’s the big deal you might say?   It’s only one day – how much damage can it do?  Did you know that the average Thanksgiving meal has over 2000 calories —then factor in the second and sometimes third helpings plus the week’s leftovers and you’ve added at least 1lb in a very short period of time.

What’s the big deal you might still say (again)?  Well, studies show that people don’t lose that extra pound.  Imagine gaining one Thanksgiving pound a year—every year (and we haven’t even mentioned extra pounds gained at Christmas, Easter, your birthday, the first day of Spring …)  Yechhhh!

Here are some tips for an enjoyable and responsible Thanksgiving holiday.


  • Start your day off with exercise -- this helps to set the tone for the day.  We’re fortunate to have the day off, so take full advantage of it.
  • Go for a walk after dinner -- physical activity is one of your best weapons to stave off weight gain.
  • Enjoy the day without guilt but set some limits in advance on how much you will eat
  • Eat lighter meals for breakfast and lunch
  • Send leftovers home with your guests
  • Include lots of vegetables with the meal; try to fill half your plate with vegetables
  • Limit the amount of carbohydrate dishes: we don’t need macaroni pie AND rice and peas AND potato salad AND sweet potato pie AND stuffing all in the same meal
  • Avoid frying, breading and creamy sauces
  • Eat slowly and consciously; take the time to chew your food.  Thanksgiving meals can often feel like competition to see how much we can stuff ourselves
  • Look for healthier, lower fat and calorie substitutions (use low fat milk, 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg, yoghurt for sour cream )
  • Drink plenty of water

If you’ve been frustrated with yourself for overindulging in the past years, then this is the year to do something different.  Put some of these strategies to work for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cathy Morenzie is a certified personal fitness trainer, fitness instructor and Pilates instructor. She specializes in providing creative fitness solutions for people on the go and has trained thousands of clients and trainers over the last 20 years.  Try the new 12 week On-line program, guaranteed to transform your health and weight, visit www.myharmonichealth.com or call 416-410-8517. To sign up for the free newsletter go to www.activeimage.ca.