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7 Rules to Remember This Thanksgiving

Follow these tips to stay healthy and happy during the holidays.

Medically reviewed in January 2022

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Rule #1: Keep Off the Holiday Pounds

Most people gain 1 to 2 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day -- weight that tends to stick around. But that doesn't have to be you. Try these tips for a fun and delicious Thanksgiving that won't tip the bathroom scale.

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Rule #2: Fight Family Pressure to Eat

They mean well when they urge you to try the pie or take a second helping of mashed potatoes. But family pressure can make it awfully hard to stay on plan and avoid overeating uncomfortably. Here's how to help family to respect your diet choices.

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Rule #3: Cultivate Gratitude

Studies show that gratitude is the ultimate worry-buster; it's actually impossible for your psyche to feel grateful and stressed out at the same time. So replace each anxious thought with the image of something you're grateful for and savor the ease it brings to your mind.

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Rule #4: Schedule Time for Yourself

It's all too easy to get so busy taking care of everyone else that you run yourself into the ground. Make it a daily habit to schedule in some "me" time, whether it's for a walk, an exercise class, or just a few minutes of peace to read or drink a cup of tea. Remember the airplane safety rule: You have to put the oxygen on yourself first before you can save others. 

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Rule #5: Make Exercise a Must-Do

If your doctor prescribed medication, would you stop taking it every time you got too busy? Think of exercise the same way – as a doctor-ordered prescription for health. Set a regular time and do 15 to 30 minutes every day, no matter what.

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Rule #6: Savor Vacations – They Help You Live Longer

Taking time off – and truly relaxing – reduces the risk of conditions such as heart disease that can take years off your life. Don't let that happen to you.

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Rule #7: Sleep to Boost Metabolism, Lower Stress

Studies show that getting too little shut-eye slows your metabolism by as much as 20% while raising levels of stress hormones. Give yourself the gift of great sleep with our 9-step sleep better plan.

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