Monica Vazquez is a personal trainer who herself lost 65 pounds. She's in charge of the "Don't Be a Butterball'' project at Washington Sports Clubs. So she's an authority on today's special challenges. Some tips:
• Doing the Turkey Trot is not a license to pig out. "You burn about 100 calories when you run a mile. Most of these races are 5Ks to five-milers, which is barely a piece of pie.''
• Don't make dinner your only meal of the day. "If you're ravenous, you'll stuff your face. It takes the body time to recognize that you're full. You'll end up eating more than you would have, and you won't feel well.''
• Traveling? Don't forget to stretch. "Sitting wreaks havoc on the hip flexors. They wrap around the lower back and so it gets tight.'' Solution: Stand up, put one leg in front of the other. Then, keeping the back leg straight, lean over from the hips, and feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
• If your family criticizes your efforts to be healthy: "I lost 65 pounds. I remember that first Thanksgiving after and everybody said, "You're already so skinny. You don't need to do that." What I've learned is vanity isn't an acceptable reason, but health is. So you can say: "When I eat rich things, my stomach bothers me and that makes me feel bad.''
• Or play the family drama card. "Say, 'I find this is a good way to de-stress before Aunt Crazy or Uncle Gossip comes over" and you'll be able to pull a few partners in crime away.''