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"Don't Let it go to your Thighs!"

All week long, I’ve listened to my girlfriends talk about their Thanksgiving spreads. I wanted to talk about another kind of spread—the one that clings to your stomach, hips and thighs—known as middle age spread.

One by one, each friend mapped out her menu, while I was trying to map out a nice way to issue her a warning: “Don’t let it go to your thighs!”

Their lists were incredible. Along with the traditional “stuffed” turkey, there were plenty of loaded fixins.’ Now, for those of you who aren’t quite sure what a “fixin” is…it’s a southern term used to describe the “rest of the menu.” (That’s one of the benefits of moving to the south. I get to learn a whole new language).
Their fixins include: green beans, collard greens seasoned with ham hocks, cabbage, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, candied yams, cranberries, cornbread, garlic cheddar biscuits, pumpkin bread and corn. And on top of that, some of my diva sisters have also included additional items like Prime Rib, steak, shrimp, salmon, BBQ Ribs and crab legs to give a variety, they say, to those who are sick and tired of eating turkey EVERY Thanksgiving.

For dessert, their menus consist of pumpkin pie, pecan pie, sweet potato pie with homemade whipped cream (yum, yum!) apple pie a la mode, banana pudding and berry cobbler. As I licked my lips over what I was going to be missing out on, I shook my head in disgust and thought, “Don’t let it go to your thighs!” How many times have I tried to tell them we’re at the age where our metabolism is slowing down and calories don’t burn as quickly as they used to? How often have I stressed the importance of eating and drinking in moderation? How many occasions did I listen to them groan and moan over not being able to lose any weight?

I listened intently as each one of my wonderful friends joked about how they knew this was the time of year they would be going off of their diets and packing on a few extra pounds. I kept thinking to myself this could all be avoided. All they had to do was re-do their menu. How about a nice Tofurkey? It’s a wonderful vegetarian dish made up of tofu and it’s also a super calorie-counting alternative. How do I know? Well, I don’t actually know first-hand but I’ve read some articles about it. There are even recipes available to spice it up to a taste suitable to your liking. And if that doesn’t work, why not try some soy burgers or soy chicken and when you combine that with a non-seasoned vegetable dish, you’ve got a meal fit for a diva queen!

OK, but who am I kidding? Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the traditional holiday feast—complete with all the fixins’ and then some. It’s the one day out of the year when it’s alright to forget about the treadmill and calorie counting. It’s a day when we can stuff ourselves without guilt and then sit back and enjoy the company of loved ones.

So who cares if we let it go to our thighs? There’s always tomorrow to work it off.

Beverly Mahone is the author of "Whatever! A Baby Boomer's Journey Into Middle Age. To learn more about Ms. Mahone, got to:


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