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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 11/23/2010

Thanksgiving's slippery slope

By Jennifer LaRue Huget

When I set out in February to lose 10 pounds and keep it off by the time I turn 50 in December, I wasn't really thinking too hard about the "keeping it off" part. I worked hard to shed that weight and even lost a bit more, moving from a too-heavy-for-5'-4" 147 pounds to a much-leaner 133 in July.

I think my body likes being lighter, and I didn't have any trouble keeping the weight off throughout the summer and into the early fall. In a couple of weeks I'll be writing about all of that in my "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy" column, on the occasion of my half-century birthday on Dec. 6.

Along the way, the times I've found most trying are those in which I'm not fully in control of my schedule or on my "food environment." When my day is arranged in such a way that it can't accommodate my daily workout or when I can't stick to my normal food regimen, I feel apprehensive about the prospect of losing momentum and even gaining a pound back. Which, given the way Thanksgiving is shaping up for me this year, is entirely possible.

I'll be spending 6 or more hours (depending on Thursday's traffic) in a car, hopping out and pretty much immediately sitting down to one family Thanksgiving feast. The location of that feast is not very conducive to after-dinner walks, much less to family football games or other exercise.

Thanksgiving plates can have plenty of calories.(Stock photo)

The next day, we'll have a short car ride to the site of the second Thanksgiving feast. At least that home has easy access to sidewalks, and there's a family tradition of taking a long walk sometime during the festive day. But as in location number one, someone will have gone to great trouble to create a delicious meal and will naturally expect us guests to dig in with gusto.

The next morning, it's back in the car for another 6 or 7 hours. My butt aches just thinking about it.

I know every trick in the book for keeping tabs on my holiday food consumption: I'll be very picky in filling my plate, keeping portion sizes reasonable, skipping seconds and eschewing extra alcohol. I'll bring my resistance bands so I can at least squeeze in a little physical activity. Most of all, I do plan to relax and enjoy myself and the company I'm with. (For more advice on navigating the Thanksgiving feast, see this week's "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy" column.)

But in the back of my mind, I'll know that in just a few days I'll be stepping on the scale to see whether I've made good on my pledge to keep my "Me Minus 10" weight off. I've already scheduled a Bikram yoga class for Sunday morning to help get me right back on track.

Some of you readers said you were planning to Minus-10 yourselves, too. Have you followed through on that? How have you fared? And what are your strategies for navigating Thanksgiving without packing on a pound or two?

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | November 23, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Me Minus 10, Nutrition and Fitness  
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Eating sloooooowly. Less people will notice that I am eating less - they won't see me with an empty plate and comment on it. Paying more attention to what you're eating and savoring it slowly is always a good thing anyway. I will certainly watch my portion size as well, as we all know you can't leave anything on your plate for fear of insulting the Thanksgiving host! Another thing I am doing, as a guest in someone else's house, is bringing a couple healthy options to eat. It makes me a good guest for contributing something, and that way I know there are at least two healthy things I can eat.

Posted by: honeybnutrition | November 23, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Don't worry about it. It's just two days.

I've enjoyed reading about your weight loss goals and am excited for what you've accomplished, but don't take it too far. You're actually exhibiting some signs of disordered eating by worrying that much about having to stick to a schedule and being in complete control over what you eat. It's normal to fluctuate a few pounds up or down over the course of a day or a week. Constantly stepping on the scale isn't a good idea either.

You have to control your weight, without letting your weight control you.

Posted by: DCinND | November 23, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to worry about it at all, for heaven's sakes, it's only one or two days, no one I know eats every day of the year like some might do on holidays!!! Any weight gained will come off as soon as you get back to your regular routine and have some "movements". Quit worrying so danged much, it's all that worrying and writing about it that causes people to not even be able to enjoy these once a year holidays!!! I guess it gives the news media stuff to write about is the reason we read this every year.

Posted by: kuchen | November 23, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

This woman's actions have eating disorder written all over them. Stop obsessing so much about having the perfect body and just live your life (and pigging out once in a while will make no difference if you are really eating as well as you say you are the rest of the time).

Posted by: Axel2 | November 24, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

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