The American Heart Association is encouraging everyone to keep this Thanksgiving healthy. You don't have to skip out on your favorite foods, but the key is moderation.
This time last year, Mike McDougall's life was a little different. The 39-year-old father weighed in at 250 pounds.
"Last year I would load up more on the stuffings,the candied yams, a few more drinks and a couple pieces of pie," said McDougall.
It was his children that pushed him to take his first step toward a healthier lifestyle. He wanted to be a better role model for his family, encouraging them to eat right and exercise. Over the last year McDougall has lost 70 pounds and says it's not magic.
"It was eating better and exercising more. For me understanding what I accomplished in one year, undid twenty-years of neglect, and that's all it takes is that one small step," he said.
That's what McDougall is bringing to the table this Thanksgiving; a modest plate full of vegetables and white meat.
"It will be tough, but I realize if I don't do it, I will put the weight back on," he said.
Dr. Byron Kennedy says people can gain up to nine pounds during the holidays. Kennedy is on the board with The American Heart Association.
"If you look at the average Thanksgiving meal, the average calorie is about 3,000," Kennedy said.
Medical experts say the key to a healthy Thanksgiving dinner is moderation. Dr. Kennedy says fill half your play with vegetables. Choose white meat and remove skin. The skin is just excess fat. Limit yourseld to one low-fat or low-sugar holiday drink and skip the whipped topping. Try to incorporate physical activity, like a walk before or after dinner.
"We don't expect folks to say I'm going to diet at Thanksgiving dinner, but thinking what you are going to include on your plate, " Kennedy said.