Perhaps Your Choices and Portions at Thanksgiving is Why You Gained Weight

I have talked to many people about Thanksgiving food. I am not sure how it came to be that a holiday designed to give thanks and spend time with relatives–has now somehow turned into a carbolicious food fest.


A few years ago, I went to my husband’s cousin’s house for Thanksgiving. I had a tough time finding something decent to eat. The turkey was ok, but there was no salad.  There were green beans, but they were smothered in horrible bad GMO Velveeta cheese and not some kind of low-fat bovine growth hormone-free cheese. And there were those horrible processed onion things were on top. There was white bread in unhealthy fattening stuffing, cranberry sauce (sugar fest), white GMO dinner rolls, margarine (where is the organic butter?) and nasty box-made mashed potatoes. No wonder people get fat. Then, there is pie! One small slice of pumpkin pie alone is 300 calories. I think the average amount of calories eaten at Thanksgiving dinner tops 1500, easy.


Here is what most of the portions looked like at the cousin’s house (throw in a non-nutritious dinner roll):


Next is the proper size of a “Traditional Thanksgiving Meal–made in a more healthy way–and the right measured out portions.  At least if you eat this, you will not gain a lot of weight. (4 ounces of protein and keep in mind, only 50-100g of carbs per day.  More on the veggies, less on the stuffing and potatoes.  In this picture–turkey, a touch of stuffing with mushrooms, just a splash of cranberries (not the canned stuff), and a serving of veggies.  Perfect!

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Bethenny

It takes 30 minutes of running fast for 3 miles to burn 300 calories, and about an hour to do fast walking to lose 300 calories. You would have to walk for 5 hours to burn off that dinner.  It could take many days of exercise to burn off that meal.

What I had for Thanksgiving:

For breakfast, I had a Western Bagel Perfect 10 low carb bagel with egg and cheese on it.

I made turkey meatballs and sauce with spaghetti squash for lunch.

For dinner, my husband and I had the sliced turkey breast that we bought the day before. We had a little gravy and had some great grilled asparagus and baby broccoli, with a great salad with cheese.  A nice normal sized portion too.

And my snacks in between were nuts and a protein bar.

For after-dinner dessert, I had low carb ice cream.

I was full, satisfied and happy. I didn’t gain a pound. I will do something similar for Christmas.


If I am stuck at a person’s house again:

I will either eat before I get there and just have some turkey.

I also could ask the host in advance if there are going to be vegetables and salad, and if not, I will bring my own.

**I have NO qualms or embarrassment that I have to eat a certain way. If you are embarrassed, you can just say it is for “doctor’s orders for more greens.”**

You should never have to gain weight or make yourself sick with wheat products, gluten or excessive carbs to make others feel comfortable.

If someone gets their panties in a twist over it, they either do NOT give a damn about you and your quest to be skinny, of they feel guilty because they wish THEY could go on a proper diet and they are either too stubborn, too carb-addicted or afraid to rock the boat in their relationships.

Any way you look at it, YOU have to take care of YOU! There is a good chance that you gained weight because you have trouble saying NO!  Learn healthy boundaries for your own happiness and stop worrying about others.

There are always food saboteurs out there. Like the man in my Pilates class, who is thin and brings the class (who are there to get in shape) brownies or chocolate cake. I think he gets some sick, twisted enjoyment out of watching them eat his stuff. He never knows what to do with me, because, I always tell him, “No thank you. I don’t eat sugar anymore.” And the fact that he still asks me, shows how manipulative he is!

What if the problem is your cravings cause the problem with eating fattening things?

Yes, it is hard to get over cravings, but it is possible. I did it!  Takes a few weeks, but you have to stick to it and find healthy alternatives (I write about that all of the time in my blog, just do a search).

If someone is having onion rings, I sometimes will allow myself to eat ONE, then I am done. Fried food with breaded batter=unhealthy and fattening.

You have to learn this and get over what McDonalds got you addicted to eating. Those carbs are killing America-and you and me. We have to take charge of our bodies, our mouths and our lives.  Eating potato starch, pie sugars, fatty cheese, white breaded stuffing carbs and sugars–even once or twice a year is not showing respect for your body.  Even ONE cheat is do-able, but it is nothing but bad food city all the way through on this crazy holiday food fest.


A fruit by any other name would smell as sweet, but it could still put weight on you!

You could do 6 protein snacks every 3-4 hours (4 ounces of meat or cup, 2 ounces of low-fat cheese, 4 ounces of low-fat cottage cheese or 1/2 cup yogurt or an egg) and you could eat two small servings of veggies a day (leaving out potatoes and other root veggies and avoiding rice), but still have trouble losing weight.


Fruit could be an issue.

Some people have fruit as a snack.  Fruit without a protein is not good for a diet.  You should have to servings of fruit a day….but have it with a protein snack.

Have some fruit with some peanut or almond butter, your salad and meat, cheese, nuts, protein bar or shake, in your low-carb Greek Yogurt or cottage cheese.

And you need to pick your fruit wisely, because some fruits are more fattening than others:


a whole apple is 25g of carbs vs. an orange at 11g of carbs.

1 cup of strawberries is 13g of carbs vs. 1 cup of blueberries at 20g of carbs.

A medium banana is 27g of carbs vs. 1 cup of papaya at 14g of carbs.

Here is a list to go by:  Net carbs = the Total Carbs- Fiber

Popular Types of Fruit

Net Carbs(g) Sugar(g) Fiber(g)
Total Carbs(g)

Fruit with Seeds (1 medium piece)

 Apples 15.76 14.34 3.3 19.06
 Grapes 0.41 0.39 0.41
 Pears 20.56 16.27 5.1 25.66

Citrus Fruit (1 medium piece)

 Grapefruit 17.88 17.87 2.8 20.68
 Lemons 3.81 1.45 1.6 5.41
 Limes 5.16 1.13 1.9 7.06
 Oranges 12.29 12.25 3.1 15.39
 Tangerines 9.71 8.89 1.5 11.21

Stone Fruit (1 medium piece)

 Apricots 3.19 3.23 0.7 3.89
 Cherries 0.99 0.87 0.1 1.09
 Nectarines 12.05 10.73 2.3 14.35
 Peaches 7.85 8.22 1.5 9.35
 Plums 6.64 6.55 0.9 7.54

Tropical Fruit (1 medium piece)

 Bananas 23.85 14.43 3.1 26.95
 Chinese Gooseberries (Kiwi) 8.84 6.83 2.3 11.14
 Coconut 2.85 2.80 4.0 6.85
 Guavas 4.88 4.91 3.0 7.88
 Litchis 1.49 1.46 0.1 1.59
 Mangos 31.49 30.64 3.7 35.19
 Papayas 24.32 17.94 5.5 29.82
 Pineapples 9.41 7.78 1.2 10.61

Berries (1 cup serving)

 Blackberries 6.24 7.03 7.6 13.84
 Blueberries 17.51 14.44 3.5 21.01
 Cranberries 8.32 4.44 5.1 13.42
 Raspberries 6.69 5.44 8.0 14.69
 Strawberries 8.67 7.08 3.0 11.67

Melon (1 wedge serving)

 Cantaloupe Melon 5.03 5.42 0.6 5.63
 Honeydew Melon 10.36 10.15 1.0 11.36
 Watermelon 20.49 17.73 1.1 21.59