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Thanksgiving Diet Advice is Actually Terrible

So the Holidays are upon us, starting with Thanksgiving.  And every year, news sites, especially the health and fitness ones, inundate us with advice on how to lose weight.  Most of which is asinine. So here’s some of the awful advice I’ve found out there, in no particular order.

More than a few people think you should eat before you eat.  Now eating breakfast is not a bad idea, but pre-partying with lame snacks like eggs and peanut butter and crackers and veggie plates, before getting to the awesome food of Thanksgiving and Christmas, is kind of a buzzkill.

Who in their right mind would eat more of this to eat less turkey?
Had to look it up. Crudite means veggie plate.

Some people say “police your portions” or “skip seconds” or “slowly savor your food”.  Discipline and self control are generally good things, but when is the last time anyone had fun doing those things?  Apparently, somebody out there thinks that the only way to avoid weight gain over the Holidays is to not have any fun over the Holidays.

Also nope.

Some other advice involves drinking.  Like “sip slowly” or “intersperse water with alcoholic drinks” or (strangely) intersperse alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks, which apparently includes alcoholic drinks like wine. 

Not sure what exactly
this guy was trying to say.

Not only is this nonsensical, but they’re hitting us with the discipline thing again. How can we resist a bowl of eggnog? This just isn’t reasonable.

Some people say focus on family and friends; that the Holidays aren’t just about food.  That’s kind of crap. You can focus on family on Labor Day or Memorial Day, too, but the food is less awesome than on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  So, the Holidays are at least partly about the food.

Other ideas include dumping the turkey skin.  Or basting the turkey in fat-free chicken broth.  Or using yogurt or fat free sour cream in dips, instead of regular sour cream.  Or using less oil and butter. In other words, dump the most flavorful bits. No thanks.


Another idea from the Internet diet gurus is to avoid the sweets, or at least limit them.  No pie, no cranberry sauce, no nothing. The problem here is that when I go home, the pie selections include pumpkin pie and pecan pie.  And peach cobbler, which isn’t really pie, but is still kind of awesome. And one of my cousins makes the best rum-flavored cranberry sauce, with actual rum in it.  I’m not passing on any of these. Not ever.

One lady even advises to throw away leftovers.  This offends me on many levels. When your whoever cooks for you spends hours making Thanksgiving dinner, the least you can do is eat leftovers for the rest of the week so that they can get a break.  And if it was you, then give yourself a break. Also, I’m from the part of the country where we reuse empty pickle jars as drinking glasses. So this waste is just an insult to my ancestry. And lastly, I gather that wasting food is just bad for the planet, contributing to emissions or some such.  So don’t do this. Save that food. Freeze it if you have to.


Now there is a little bit of good advice out there, like making sure you exercise over the Holidays to balance out the excess, or helping with cleanup to burn off a few cals here and there.  But here’s a crazy idea: It really doesn’t matter what you do over the Holidays.

There’s a saying that everyone thinks was from an old greek philosopher (Aristotle) which is actually from an American philosopher (William Durant) who was simplifying something the Greek guy said.  

The saying is “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”  And this applies to your diet. Because what matters in your diet is not what you do on one or two days out of the year, but the entire year.

Let’s say you go nuts over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.  Actually, let’s say you misbehave for the full month of December, and Thanksgiving.  If you’re behaving yourself for the other eleven months or so, you’ll still lose weight.  Because you can’t eat enough over the Holidays to wreck your diet. Your stomach isn’t big enough.  If you eat too much, you’ll just throw up. I know, because I almost did that once at Golden Corral.

One thing I learned quickly when I started using the Cronometer app to track my weight loss progress was that this is a marathon, not a sprint.  It’s about averages over time. And if, on average, you’re burning more than you’re eating, you’ll lose weight. So I’m going to keep track of my food and exercise over the Holidays, but I’m not going to obsess about overdoing things.  I’m going to chow down and watch football and goof off like any red-blooded American.

So my advice is to just go nuts this Holiday season.  Eat, drink, and be merry. You’re not going to be fat because of what you do over the Holidays.  You’re going to be fat because of what you do for the rest of the year. Have a great time, and then make up for it starting January 2nd of next year.

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Published by drilldowndiet

Formerly obese CPA/health humorist using Cronometer and FitBod to lose weight. Sharing assorted life hacks to squeeze nutrition and exercise into a busy schedule. Also on Twitter at @drilldowndiet and Facebook.

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