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Enjoying the Thanksgiving meal without falling off the Fit City wagon

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TYLER (KYTX) - We're just a week away from the start of the holiday feasting season. Thanksgiving kicks off more than a month of family gatherings, Christmas and New Year's parties decked out with food. So, how do we enjoy all the turkey, dressing and Thanksgiving treats without expanding our waistline?

Consider this, the average Thanksgiving day meal that we look forward to all year will cost you an estimated 3,000 to 4,500 calories.  On a typical day, The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests we eat about half that.  So, An ounce of preparation may be worth several pounds of cure.

"You know you can consume a whole meals worth of calories, points plus values just noshing before the meal," says Janet Peterson, a Weight Watchers leader.

At Weight Watchers in Tyler, they're in full planning mode for a no-regrets Thanksgiving feast.
That doesn't mean tossing out your weight loss goals. "The one thing you want to keep in mind is planning ahead. You want to think about where you are going to be. You pretty much know what foods are going to be offered. You can kind of picture the different dishes being offered and then you want to take a small portion of your favorite food, such as sweet potato casserole, you'd want to have a smaller portion of that and then say no to a baked potato or mashed potato or something that you can get all year long," says Peterson.

Janet Peterson lost 50 pounds 19 years ago and now leads a group of members. She's learned the importance of a Thanksgiving budget. "I remember a Thanksgiving 30 something years ago and I was on a diet and I only ate turkey and celery; and how deprived I felt when everyone was enjoying their favorites, but with Weight Watchers you can have some of everything," says Janet.

Whether you're on Weight Watchers or just watching your weight, Janet says it's a good idea to start with a healthy breakfast on Thanksgiving because research shows people who eat breakfast are more likely to eat fewer calories all day long. Another tip from Weight Watchers, putting your fork down in between bites and sipping some water, but remember to track what you do eat.

"I know what's going to fit because I have already figured it out," says Andrea Connor, lost 100 pounds, 75 on Weight Watchers.  That's helped Andrea Connor lose 100 pounds.
"I have definitely gotten comfortable indulging," says Connor. Her indulging will include a slice of sweets and a Thanksgiving favorite, without the guilt.  "I do not get stuffing, but once a year so I like that the best definitely," says Connor.

Janet also suggests Andrea and others think of the food on their plates as islands not continents. "So you want to have your food spaced out, like children don't like to have food touching, but we just pile it up and deep," says Janet.

Sally Holler plans on loading her plate with fresh veggies and lean turkey, minus the high calorie sauces. "I am going to have my sweet potato pie, instead of having that huge piece I would have had 5 years ago, I am going to have a slender piece, not only healthy choices, but smaller allocations," says Sally Holler.

While the rich foods are tempting, Sally's weight loss journey has taught her different ways to fill up on Thanksgiving. "For me, it was a shift of focus, shifting from focusing on the holiday and whatever food there is to the people I am around," says Holler.

If you're worried about hurting family's feelings by not tasting their dishes, it took hours to prepare, try this.  "Picture yourself saying 'no thanks Aunt Sue, but can I have a piece to take home.' So, she feels valued and her dessert is valued, but you are the one that has to wear that dessert," says Peterson.

Also, take a cue from the kids and get moving after the meal. Janet suggests joining them for some outdoor fun or rounding up  the family for a good walk.

If you are worried about the leftovers, buy some plastic bags and containers and send goodies home with the family. 

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