Often when I discuss Thanksgiving and the ensuing madness of potatoes, pies and gravy; there's a large contingency of people who just chalk the day up as a loss.
Here are two strategies you can use to help combat the influx of calories and keep you on track.
Get a (Few)Workouts In
This one is pretty obvious. If you're going to go nuts at dinner, you can help offset some of that by going hard in the gym. Do you go before or after the meal.
(Some research points towards going after, but really we're splitting hairs at this point)
Most gyms close fairly early, usually around 1pm at the latest. You're going to be left with going before the big feast now. Considering you don't eat until the mid-late evening and you're kind of stuck in between. So much for a post workout feast!
A great damage control technique would be to increase your workout volume during the week leading up to the planned meal to deplete a little more glycogen. You would perform your usual 45min-1hr weight lifting and then throw in afterwards a 15-20 minute complex or interval session.
Eat Before Hand
Now I know what you're thinking, "Don't eat anything, you'll spoil your appetite!"
But there is some validity to consuming a small meal before the big feast. This has been shown to improve your body's tolerance to carbohydrates afterwards.
It makes sense since you won't be as hungry if you've already eaten 2-3 hours prior to dinner. It's a sure fire way to force portion control without leaving it to chance or having "will power".
The initial meal needs to be both low glycemic and have a decent amount of dietary fiber as well. A nice sandwich on whole grain bread with a small legume soup would do the trick.
Whatever the case may be, also know that it's a day to enjoy and celebrate with your loved ones. So what if you don't do any of the tips I've outlined above, it's only one day. The most important thing is to have a plan and try to stick to it. And if you don't, know that there's always tomorrow.
And with tomorrow comes another opportunity to get it right.