Thanksgiving wasn't so bad. So it was "hoorah for the pumpkin pie" - at 321 calories a slice - and that was pretty much that.

Now Christmas (or Hanukah) that's quite another matter. It's not a oneday binge. Ah no. It's an endless week of party, party, party. Eat, eat, eat. Drink, drink, drink. Sugarplums, almond crescents, potato latkes, hams, turkeys . . . geese . . . eggnog (at 200 calories - for each four ounces - without alcohol).

All week your senses are subjected to hard-core gastronomic onslaught, from the popcorn on the tree to the crispy skin across the sizzling chest of the stuffed bird. Eat, eat, eat. Drink, drink, drink.


Well now, be of good cheer. Help is at hand.

A small but determined group of only mildly panicked participants in the Georgetwon University behavior modification-weight control program met one day last week to talk about holiday survival and map out some strategy.

The good news is that the world can be outmaneuvered, outwitted, and you can almost - almost, mind you - have your plum pudding and eat it too.

Willpower points out Georgetown weight counselor Sandy Daston, is not having to say you're sorry. you're not allowed to have any. Scores of successful former fatties have graduated from this program over the past few years.

Nor is it having to stand there and watch somebody else eat up the whole thine.

Willpower is

Having one or two or three of something, instead of one dozen or two or three dozen

Eating it (or them) oh, so-o-o-o-o slo-o-owly.

And then turning your back (out of sight, out of mind) on that holiday-laden table.

And, possibly most important. knowing before you got there pretty much what you were going to do and how many you were going to have.

This, according to counselor Daston and her colleague Marilyn Silfen, has several advantage.Holiday food, by and large they say, is more for tasting than for assuaging hunger. There is no reason why you can't taste almost everything you want.

If you eat it more slowly, you are tasting it longer.

If you eat it more slowly, then no eagle-eyed hostess is going to squawk, "Ooooh, you're not eating anything . . . don't you like it?"

If you eat it more slowly, by the time you finish it you brain will have gotten the (always delayed) message that there's food in the old gut, and you will find that you're just as full from having eaten three cookies slowly than you would have been had you shovled in a dozen or so in a few piggish seconds.

It's important, the dieters were told, that they should not no-way, feel deparived.

Okay, so you stared at the table full of delectable sweetmeats and fried meats and mutmeats and you sipped your Fresca or Perrier and went home virtuous - and ravenous. So you stuffed your face with whatever you could find. Not much sense to that - you missed the special holiday tastes and you blew the diet anyway.

The reason these dieters got together was just to avoid that sort of thing. How not to blow the diet, or at least how to keep from blowing it forever, just because of one week of midwinter madness.

The dieters were advised to plan ahead of time that they not try to actually lose weight.

Remember they were told it takes 3.500 calories to gain a pound of fat.

A few other strategies:

If you're doing your own baking and you have a real thing for raw cookie dough set some aside for later so you will know exactly how much you've consumed. and while you're actually mixing chew a piece of sugarless gum.

Assign exercise value to certain foods: If you know you're going to want a piece of nince pie. have a two-mile run before you have dinner - or even later but remember it's for the pie. If you'd rather watch football, give up the pie.

Freeze food gifts after you've had a bit of a taste.

Weigh yourself of often. If you're going away and will have no access to a scale, take a piece of clothing that fits you exactly and beware of tightness.

Have a snack, abowl of soup or half a sandwich before you go out so you won't face a buffet hungry beyound control.

Keep in mind that, generally watery things that are crunchy (celery, carrots green peppers, cauliflower) are low in calories. Creamy things (dips for the above eggnog) are usually high.Fatty things are very high. Turkey skin is 132 calories an ounce, about a two-inch square.

Do a lot of talking at the dinner table.

Talking has no calories. CAPTION: Illustration, no caption