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How to Stuff Yourself on Thanksgiving
A Guide to Gluttony

How much can you eat?
How much can you eat?

For years I've offered tips and suggestions on how to eat less. Strategies you can use when you're visiting family and friends to avoid a binge. But that advice is routinely ignored.

So this year I'm going in a different direction. I'm offering some extremely unhealthful advice. With the help of tips from a competitive eater, I'm going to share how you can eat as much as possible.

(If you're seriously trying to lose weight, or have medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or hypoglycemia, you should probably stop reading now.)

People who eat competitively for a living prepare by training. They spend some time fasting, mixed with periods of intense eating. That teaches them to become more comfortable with how their stomachs stretch as they fill with food.

Competitive eaters also drink lots of liquids to keep their stomach stretched out. A couple of days before an event, they cut back so that fluid goes away, leaving more room for food.

For the rest of us, the strategy is similar. You need your stomach as empty as possible. Eat reasonably the day before, but only drink a little water Thanksgiving morning. The water will cut down on some of the feelings of hunger, without actually adding any calories.

About 90 minutes before it's time to eat, go exercise. I know, if you're going through with this you're not trying to do anything good for yourself. However, exercise stimulates the appetite. A quick jog, some intervals or a little intense cardio can help spike those hunger levels.

Dress for the challenge. Tight-fitting clothing will only make you uncomfortable as your waistline expands. Look for things like loose fitting sweat pants and oversized shirts you don't have to tuck in. Give your body room to grow.

When the meal starts, fill your plate with things you know. Now isn't the time to experiment with unusual foods. By eating what's familiar, you don't spend a lot of time savoring the food and you can shovel more in.

Pile on the things you like. If you love stuffing, then by all means fill your plate with it. Don't put those green beans on the plate if you're not excited about eating them.

Concentrate on trigger foods. Some people can't eat a cookie, because it will trigger them to eat an entire package. If there are trigger foods on the table, put lots of them on your plate.

Empty calories are key. A serving of vegetables takes longer to eat than mashed potatoes and gravy, so pile on the potatoes. White bread rolls are easier to binge than slabs of turkey. Avoid eating too much high protein and high fiber foods. Protein and fiber help you feel full, which is exactly what you're trying to avoid.

Once you fill up with one food, switch to another. It's called the buffet effect. Just when you think you couldn't possibly eat another bite, you can still desire a different flavor. That's why so many people who feel stuffed after finishing a big meal, can always find room for dessert.

Alternate between salty and sweet offerings. Some people like salty foods. Some people like sweet foods. But food companies have found when you combine the two, people will eat significantly more than each one individually.

Liquids fill you up, so don't drink a lot. A big glass of water before a meal can seriously dampen how hungry you feel. Drink a little bit between servings, to keep things lubricated. A pro tip is to add some kind of artificial sweetener like grape or strawberry to the water. The sweet, but calorie-free drink helps elevate hunger levels, so you can eat even more.

Once you're thoroughly stuffed, take a break. Your body is continuously processing food and moving it out of your stomach. You can help everything along by getting up and moving around. After just 30 minutes, you might find you can go back and pack more in.

There it is, a guide to gluttony. For those of you who want to have a healthier holiday, do the exact opposite of everything I suggested in this article. Whatever you choose, good luck!

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.