A Piping Hot Classic
By Terry Dunkle, DietPower CEO and Editor-in-Chief
Every year, I get spam from websites
telling me how to navigate Halloween, Thanksgiving, and
Christmas without gaining weight. To me, this makes as much
sense as being told how to attend a Super Bowl without
watching the game. How can a holiday be a holiday if you can't
The fact is, overeating on holidays isn't a
bad thing; it may actually be good for your diet in the
long run. Reason:
A 10-pound turkey (after cooking, without the neck and the giblets) sets you back only 9440 calories.
Although starving yourself will make you feel righteous for a day, eventually your pride will turn
to resentment. And when overweight people feel resentful, they
often eat to "get even." (This usually happens the day after
the holiday, when plenty of
leftovers are lurking.)
So, while the food police are telling you to
"serve portions on a small plate, to make them appear larger"
(hey, are you that stupid?) and "chew thoroughly and
slowly" (on mashed potatoes?), we're going to give you the
8 Rules for Healthful Overeating
If you're going to overindulge, at least know by
how much. Continue recording your meals in
DietPower's Food Log. (If you don't have DietPower, you
download a free 15-day trial of the software right now.) That way, at least you'll know how
many calories to work off after the madness subsides.
Save up beforehand. If your diet calls
for 1800 calories today, cut back to 1300 and you'll be 500
ahead on the Big Day.
Realize that even if you gorge yourself, you
can't gain much in a single day. Your stomach holds only about
40 fluid ounces. If you stuff it three times with
average food (40 calories per ounce), you'll eat
4800 calories. That's less than 3000 calories above
maintenance for most people—which means you won't even gain
a pound. (The scales may say two or three pounds, but
this will be largely water retention and digestive overload,
which are temporary.)
Remember this happy thought: The more you eat,
the faster you burn calories. When your body sees an excess of
fuel coming in, it automatically makes the furnace less
efficient so that it burns fuel more rapidly. This
self-regulating system ensures that whenever you suddenly
increase your eating, the amount of fat you put on will never
quite equal your calorie increase.
Get some exercise. A brisk one-hour walk
will burn off 200 to 300 calories—and make you expend
calories a bit faster afterwards, too.
Concentrate on the lower-fat goodies, which
fill you up at a lower calorie cost. (A gram of fat contains 9
calories, versus 4 calories per gram of protein or
carbohydrate.) Eat candy corn, not chocolate. Take the skin off the turkey, eat the white
meat instead of the dark, choose the cherry pie over the
Boston cream, and gobble all the mashed potatoes and cranberry
sauce you want. (Eat a ton of celery—it's 90
percent water and only 7 calories per stalk.)
Watch the booze. Because alcohol contains
7 calories per gram, a 6-ounce glass of bourdeaux or
chardonnay will set you back more than 120 calories, and a
typical 4-ounce martini will hit you with twice that many.
Drinking too much may also lead you to eat more than you would
On the morning after, don't feel
guilty; just get back on the wagon. You've had your fun,
just like everyone else, and now you can resume your quest
knowing that you didn't miss a thing.
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