Fourteen people expected for dinner, two dogs, one cat and Great Aunt Ellen's bird Frankie. You have a 10-course dinner to cook and there are seven women in the kitchen. Someone is allergic to mushrooms, Grandpa can't eat nuts, no chocolate for Uncle George and you're out of scotch.
It's stuffed turkey time, and I'm not referring to the turkey on the platter. It's a lovely season for the overeating types. It's easy to hit 5,000-10,000 calories on Thanksgiving Day - you start the day with sweet rolls and end it with two pieces of pecan pie.
Where do you begin to get on the wrong foot? Starting the minute the first guest walks through the door. Unstructured time, unplanned nibbles and uncontrollable stress arrive with the guests. With extra kids, dogs and birds you are constantly fighting the hand-to-mouth syndrome that has always denoted pacification.
Now that this scene is set, how do you deal with it? Try to do all your cooking and food preparation before your guests arrive, and designate one person in each family to be responsible for the family's meals. Stay away from the kitchen and snack table. Remember your guests don't need extra food intake just because it's a holiday. Serve only the required meals per day and make them good nutritious meals with few leftovers. Leave the house and guests in charge for a while and get out and exercise. Put your turkey on and take some time off for yourself.
Don't be the stuffed turkey at your big dinner. A small spoonful of each food is plenty for starters.
Eat slowly; it takes about 30 minutes for your stomach to know you ate. If you eat quickly, and too much, you're still filling that stomach when it has reached, and exceeded, the full mark.
Start your meal with a little water intake and then concentrate on the turkey meat. It's one of the best sources of protein.
Exercise is a major controlling factor in your daily holiday indulgence. If you start your stress-filled day with exercise and no sweet intake, your chances of maintaining both conditioning and nutritional habits will be much easier. The four-day holiday period will come to an end, your guests will go home and four days of over-eating will come off in four days if you drop back to your normal food intake and exercise habits.
Be thankful for your relatives and friends, they help with the dishes.
Be thankful for turkey, it's low in fat and calories.
Be thankful for stretch pants.
Be thankful for electric dishwashers.
And, be thankful for the leftovers; you won't have to cook for a week.
• Jerry Vance is owner of The Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Carson City Senior Citizens Center.