This Is How to Prepare Your Stomach for Thanksgiving, According to a Competitive Eater

(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)
(Image credit: Lindsay Ribe)

Thanksgiving dinner is a big meal; between the turkey, all the sides, and a slew of different pies, it can be a lot to consume in one sitting. So how do you prepare your stomach so you can eat the maximum amount possible? Do you eat something big a couple days before to stretch your stomach? Do you skip breakfast the day of Thanksgiving? I’d do just about anything to fit another slice of pie in there.

In preparation for this big meal, I talked to the number one female competitive food eater in the world, Miki Sudo, to see how she trains her stomach for a competition. Some of her records include eating 145 oysters in three minutes, and 109 hard-boiled eggs in eight minutes. If anyone knows how to properly prepare for eating on Thanksgiving, it’s her.

(Image credit: Shea Communications)

Miki Sudo started competitive eating in April 2013. Many called her the fastest rising star in the circuit. She currently sits as the #1 female competitive eater in the world, and #3 overall. She lives in Las Vegas, and her day job is in marketing.

Her competitive eating records include winning the annual women’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Contest at Coney Island on the 4th of July. She beat out long-standing leader Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas in 2014 with 34 hot dogs in 10 minutes, and continued her reign in 2015 with 38 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

Your Thanksgiving Tummy Training Plan from Miki Sudo

Miki Sudo is a huge fan of Thanksgiving. While she doesn’t consider herself to be big on sweets, she can’t stay away from all the pies on turkey day (and the turkey, of course). She loves how much effort everyone puts into making a big feast, and just like you, she wants to try everything.

Here’s her guide for preparing your stomach for a big meal. If you’re planning on eating as much as possible on Thanksgiving, she has the following advice: Skip breakfast, and wear biker shorts.

48 Hours Before the Big Meal

If you think you’re just going to roll up to the table on Thanksgiving and eat whatever you want without any foresight, you need to reevaluate your plan. That stomach of yours needs to be prepped, stretched, and hungry when you arrive at the table.

In the 48 hours before she has a competition, Sudo tapers what she’s eating. She goes on a mostly liquid diet, eats smaller portions, and tries to avoid sodium. This works out to be about four small meals the day before the event. A small meal could mean a handful of nuts, or a small cup of yogurt.

The Morning of the Big Meal

The day of the competition, she has a cup of coffee and avoids water. That’s it! No breakfast or anything before a competition. She wants those hunger pangs before she sits down and eats. She says it’s what motivates her to win.

What’s Going to Slow You Down

You’re going to reach a point during Thanksgiving dinner when you want to slow down. Miki Sudo has been there. During a competition she tends to get stuck on super-savory or oily foods, or when a flavor is just overwhelming. For example, Sudo competed in a hard-boiled egg contest where she found the yolks to be too chalky. She had to take sips of water every couple of eggs to help things go down. She got third place in the competition.

Lucky for you, you don’t have as much of a monotonous menu on Thanksgiving. In order to avoid fatigue, make sure to switch things up while you’re eating. If you’re really trying to eat a lot of turkey, consider studying the anatomy of the bird beforehand so you can ensure that you get the most meat off your bone as you chow down.

The Easiest Thanksgiving Dish to Eat the Most Of

It’s important to strategize which Thanksgiving foods are harder and easier to eat if you’re going strictly for quantity. Sudo thinks that cranberry sauce would be easiest to eat the most of, and that turkey would be the hardest. The second-hardest food would be mashed potatoes, especially if they are lumpy and don’t have a lot of butter.

Word to the wise: Add more butter to your mashed potatoes.

Consider Your Wardrobe

Wardrobe is an important thing to consider when you want to eat a lot for Thanksgiving. Sudo wears little black bike shorts from Wet Seal and an oversized contest t-shirt. She tries to make her clothing choice match the theme of the event. She always puts her hair up and never wears jewelry.

Soothing Your Stomach After the Event

Making sure your body is OK after a big meal is arguably just as important as preparing it for the big event. Sudo recommends that you always stay hydrated after a big meal, especially if you’re eaten something super salty. She also recommends that if your menu has a lot of fried food this year, make sure to eat a couple slices of bread to soak up all the oil.

After a competition, Sudo usually craves a palate cleanser of some sort. If she was eating a ton of turkey, she’d want to follow it with a chocolate milkshake. But most of the time, she’ll settle for a small cup of fruit.

(Image credit: Shea Communications)

Follow Miki Sudo Online

For more incredible competitive eating records, her blog, and competition schedule, visit her
personal website. Make sure to follow her on social media as well (
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