Happy Thanksgiving! By the way, don’t eat too much.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. It’s a time to be with friends and family and to recall why we are so happy that we no longer live with our families. Well, it’s true isn’t it? I recall going home for the holidays and wanting to leave as quickly as I got there. That of course doesn’t mean that I didn’t love my mother but we are independent adults and, well, we did spend years and years living under their roofs!

Thanksgiving is full of relatives indeed, yet it’s also a time we fill our belies with good food. My mom used to make the best gravy with ground beef in it. It was as good as the turkey! She also put bacon on top of the turkey, a recipe secret I’ve shared with many. It makes the skin so crispy and it’s always a pleasure to steal and eat a well cooked piece of bacon! However, all those calories consumed have to go somewhere. Unless you are a triathlete or an extreme endurance athlete, there’s no way you will burn as many calories as you consume on Thanksgiving. Can you say belly? So, here’s the basic formula for weight maintenance. You really don’t need to know anything more. It’s calories consumed minus calories expended. If this values is positive, expect weight gain over the long haul. If the value is negative, expect weight loss. If the outcome is zero, expect maintenance.That’s it! Knowing this formula is far more valuable than any fake diet you will hear advertised on the radio or see on TV.

Few of us weigh exactly what we should. It’s hard to do. There is a range for health that is far more complicated than a simple Body Mass Index (BMI). It involves body composition as well; percent body fat. Once we know what our healthy weight, BMI, and body composition is, we should strive to stay within the healthy range. A good site for information on healthy eating and health in general is livestrong.com. Next, learn about calories and eat only as much as you need to achieve your goals. If, for instance, your goal is to lose weight, make sure that your caloric expenditure exceeds your caloric intake. If your goal is to gain weight, make sure that your caloric intake is higher than your caloric expenditure. Of course if your goal is to maintain weight, keep a healthy balance between the two.You can have lots of fun with this. When I am below my ideal, I amp up the calories and eat all sorts of goodies!

As for today, Thanksgiving, start by eating a healthy dose of food. Eat slowly so that your body can process your intake as it does naturally. Pay attention to your body’s signals too. Your body is a complicated biologic machine that knows how to regulate itself. It however allows for executive override. Thus, you (the Self) can override the body’s natural processes. Overweight individuals do so by ignoring body signals that indicate satiation. Today, give your brain a rest and listen to your body. When it says you are full, stop eating. There will be plenty of leftovers for later. So, you can have more tomorrow and the next day.Turkey sandwiches are really good! If you are trying to lose weight, stick with white meat instead of the fattier dark meat.

Enjoy this holiday, as family members will not be around forever. I know it can be trying at times, and we will be tempted to run away as soon as we get too comfortable, but it’s only one day a year. If you need a break then, get outside and burn some calories. It’ll give you more room for all those wonderful treats cooks are busily preparing now. Mostly, use today as a starting point for a life of health and well being!

Happy Thanksgiving!