But it was only one dinner!

Monday, November 29, 2004

Two of the world's best inventions were in high demand yesterday: recliners and elastic, as we sat around Thanksgiving evening rubbing our tummies and stretching our pants to the brink of bursting.

But the real excitement comes next week, when we step on the scale and it's up a one, two, six pounds.

How did this happen? Perhaps, you're one of those realistic people who admit that they ate continuously Thanksgiving day and plan to keep on eating through New Year's Eve. Only then will you resolve to drop all these pounds you packed on over the holidays plus the 12 you gained last holiday season.

Then there are those people who can't understand where the extra weight has suddenly come from and you fall into one of two categories.

The first plate on Thanksgiving afternoon is modest, staying within the confines of the plate's edge. The second helping is a little larger and the desert plate is larger and fuller than the dinner plate.

Your answer to gaining weight: You go for a 15 minute walk mid-afternoon.

This is a good plan except for one problem, the plate of appetizers you grab as you walk through the door and the three plates of leftovers you finish off before dinnertime.

A short stroll is not going to cancel out half a turkey and three pieces of pumpkin pie

On the other end of the spectrum is the person who once again creates a sensible plate at the beginning of the Thanksgiving meal.

The problem begins soon afterward.

You go back for one more heaping, helping of mashed potatoes covered in gravy. There's still room on the plate and too much gravy, so a spoonful of dressing is added. The plate is missing something and a slab of turkey joins the fold.

After sitting around for an hour with your pants unbuttoned, you wander back to the desserts. You try "just a sliver" of each kind and leave with your plate piled higher than the first trip through the line.

A little bit later you wander through the kitchen looking for a deck of cards and help yourself to that one piece of pie you missed on your first trip through.

Half-an-hour later you stop in the kitchen to chat with your cousin and start nibbling on the bowl of chips. Only as you leave do you notice that the bowl is now empty and you never rebuttoned your pants.

Next week as you step on the scale and see it creep up higher than it was last week, you say to yourself, "But I didn't even eat three full meals on Thanksgiving. I only had one dinner."

Perhaps you shouldn't wait until New Year's Eve to start that latest weight-loss routine. And maybe you should take the extra step of buying a dog if you want to lose weight this holiday season.

A recent study at Northwestern Medical School in Chicago brought in the family pet to help people lose weight.

The people were followed for a year and were encouraged to walk and limit their calories. The dogs were encouraged to do the same.

According to the AP story, the dog owners, who walked their pets, did slightly better than dieters without pets.

In the end, dog owners and non-dog owners lost approximately 5 percent of their body weight. But the dogs did even better, losing 15 percent of their initial weight with one pooch dropping 35 pounds. In doggy pounds, that's really 99 pounds.

Of course, the reason the dogs were able to drop more weight was because they had someone controlling their food dish and ending the table scraps at each dinner.

Now, if I just would have had someone to control my Thanksgiving Day plate or more accurately, plates.

-- Ronda Graff had the opportunity to host Thanksgiving this year for her family, which means one thing: weeks and weeks of leftovers.

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