MADISON (WKOW) -- It's not uncommon for people to pack on a couple of pounds over the holiday season.
One of the big holidays, Thanksgiving is almost upon us, but then we have a another whole month of holiday festivities after that. Many look forward to the Thanksgiving dinner all year.
And while most of us are thankful for the great food, we're not necessarily thankful for the calories that add up.
But personal trainer Dustin Maher says, keep one thing in mind.
"It's just one meal, and what I tell people is, enjoy it, remember why you're there. It's partly for the food, but mainly for the people,", says Maher.
That said though, there are some things to keep in mind that day.
First, don't skip breakfast and lunch.
"You always want to still be eating before hand, otherwise you're going to consume so many more calories during that ravenous time of thanksgiving dinner," Maher says.
When you do sit down for the big dinner, remember, it's not a race, so eat slow.
According to Maher, "We get that big plate and we just start pounding the food right away, and you're not going to know how full you really are because you're not really thinking about it."
Also, eating certain foods first can actually help keep you from over eating. Maher recommends starting with the veggies.
"Normally you get there, and different vegetables are already sitting out. We've got great vegetables here, and that is a good place to start. They're very low in calories and they are going to help fill you up a little bit."
Next move on to the protein.
"Turkey's are great, they've got lean protein. They'll also help make you feel full. And then we can get into the stuffing or the potatoes, or the corn, or the cranberry sauce, which is always full of extra sugar because they are so tart naturally," says Maher.
And of course, no meal is complete without dessert.
"Ya know, pumpkin pie is a pretty good one, it's about 350 calories," says Maher.
No pie is really good for you, but in terms of calories, apple pie is pretty similar to pumpkin.
Pecan pie on the other hand is more like 500 to 600 calories a serving.
Maher says, "So if you're going to have it, have one little slice and enjoy it."
Exercising the morning of, or even just the day before Thanksgiving can help.
You just need to make it a high intensity workout.
"The higher the intensity, the more sugar you're going to be burning, and you want to burn that sugar because when you start to eat all those carbs and sugar during Thanksgiving, it's first going to go to your muscles and liver, and it's going to be stored as fat last," according to Maher.
Exercise is certainly something you will want to continue with even after thanksgiving, because as we all know the month of December is full of holiday parties and baked goods.
Between the food and often the alcohol, the calories all add up.
"When you're eating alone or with you're family, try to eat as clean and as good as you can. And when you are doing those social things, that is the time to have your cheat meals," says Maher.
A good rule of thumb, eat well at least 80 percent of the time. Dustin says that should allow you to at least maintain your weight instead gain more weight.
As always, eat everything in moderation.
There are some ways to make what you're cooking a little healthier. If making mashed potatoes, keep the skins on, that will give you more nutrients. You could also try sweet potatoes as a substitute.
If you are doing canned corn, try to get the unsweetened corn. There can be a good amount of sugar in your typical can of corn.
Click here to read the Parenting Project blog, as Kim Sveum shares what she's thankful for this Thanksgiving.