Thanksgiving is the glutton's holiday. Fortunately (or unfortunately) there is a right way to overeat.
"Fasting is typically not a good idea," registered dietician Leslie J. Bonci told Popular Science. Better to refrain from food for four to six hours before chow time and also exercise early in the day.
Caveat: Gluttony is one of the original "seven deadly sins" for good reason.
Once you've girded your loins for the overeating challenge, there's nothing to do but begin. The choices you make now will determine whether you fill your stomach to maximum capacity, or give up long before dessert. That's because certain types of food make you feel more full than others.
An over-full feeling isn't just caused by a stretched-to-capacity stomach. Your body also triggers feelings of fullness by releasing hormones and enzymes as you eat. For example, the more you chew, the fuller you will feel. (That said, do not chew less in an attempt to reduce fullness. It will increase your odds of choking, and death by asphyxiation is not a fun way to end a Thanksgiving meal.)
Because of this, certain substances, such as the fats and proteins in turkey, will make you feel full sooner than others. "Once you start eating protein, the secretion of enzymes and hormones starts that satiety cascade," Bondi says, "and having fat as part of the meal triggers satiety. If you're trying not to over-consume, front-load with protein."
And if you are trying to over-consume?
"Potatoes, stuffing, rolls require minimal effort," Bonci says. "You can do maximal damage with those things because they layer nicely—you can pack in more without feeling too full."