Today is Thanksgiving and there is so much to be thankful for. To start, I’m thankful for the food I’m about to indulge in. Though I’m not particularly thankful for the discomfort and guilt I’m likely to experience post-feast. Like anything else in life, the best way to tackle T-day is to go in with a solid plan. Try these 7 tips for success to avoid calorie-overload and guilt:

1. Burn some calories. Starting the day off with a workout or run can help ease the idea of eating a plate full of Thanksgiving goodness later in the day. If your gym is not open on Thanksgiving, take this opportunity try an outdoor workout or check out a local gym you’ve been wanting to drop by. Today I’m heading to CrossFit Suffolk for a morning WOD. My usual gym is not open and a break from the norm with great company every once in a while is well-deserved and needed. Another great way to get in a workout is to find a local Turkey Trot (5k walk/run the morning of Thanksgiving). Search online in your area for more information.

2. Don’t starve yourself all day. You may think that “saving” your calories during the day for what you may expect to eat at night is wise. Think again. Not only are you setting yourself up for failure, but you’re putting your body in to “starvation mode” making it more likely to store every calorie you put in to it. Go about your day as usual without skipping breakfast and lunch. If you are having an early Thanksgiving dinner, opt for a light lunch beforehand.

3. Focus on the activities. Thanksgiving is the time to reflect and be thankful for those around you. Spend this time to catch up with family you’ve not seen in a long time, hang out with the little kids, and get to know the new faces at the table. The more you talk, the less you eat (hopefully).

4. Eat only what looks good to you. Instead of trying every item on the table, serve yourself small portions of the things you want most. If it’s not a food item you are crazy about, what’s the point in wasting precious calories on it. Enjoy what you like and you’ll end up feeling good about what you did eat afterward.

5. Get your fill of veggies and protein. Stuff your plate with turkey, veggies and salad before topping on the carby sides like sweet potato casserole, stuffing and cornbread. It’s the carby sides that put your calorie intake and discomfort over the top. Opt for bite size portions of those and fill up on the lean stuff instead.

6. Steer clear of liquid calories. Fill your glass with water and other calorie-free beverages. It’s crazy how many calories you can take in from sipping a cocktail or other beverages. Watch out for cream sauces, dressings and gravies as well – they can be filled with unwanted hidden calories you didn’t know you were taking in. Use sparingly.

7. Walk it off. Start a new family tradition by walking around the block together after the big meal. Any sort of movement will burn some calories and your overstuffed tummy might feel better as well.

With these tips in mind you can leave the elastic waistband pants at home and walk away from Thanksgiving without regret.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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