So like most Americans I am preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday, and like many many dieters, I am dreading the holiday all you can eat buffet that is about to break loose. If you google, “holiday diet tips” you will surely find thousands of hints tips and suggestions that have worked for this person or that person. Logical things like eat a snack before you go to a party, or skip the gravy because that is likely to happen when Grandma Sophie’s extra dry turkey is sitting there on your plate. (I do not have any grandparents left, so names totally not real but I am just making a point,)
The holidays are a weight gaining nightmare when you are not trying to lose weight or become a healthier person. Holidays are full of stress, families, friends, changed routines. I will be having TWO Thanksgivings this week. One tomorrow (Saturday) and one again on Thursday. Fortunately for me at both everyone is very much aware that I have made some major life changes in the last year to save my life. The one tomorrow is my big show. As in I am pretty much in charge of everything. I said, while I am visiting let’s have a holiday dinner. (Talk about asking for punishment right?) So I had planned on making a very healthy dinner, including mashed potatoes with no butter. My mom put the stop to that. She said people won’t eat those and has said she will be taking over making the potatoes with butter and cream. Green beans will be made into casserole, so I will be swapping the high fat soup with the 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup. Other things I am putting on the menu that I will not budge on are a salad with pears pecans and blue cheese, some oven roasted mushrooms, things that are full of flavor. I will also be making the Hungry Girl Pumpkin Smash Bars as the Pumpkin Pie! I don’t like crust and guess what, I am in charge.
So will I not be eating the mashed potatoes? Will I skip on the family recipe of BACON STUFFING or the scalloped corn (corn with cheese and butter and crackers, omg soooo good!) NO WAY! So my biggest suggestion is to go in with a battle plan. I am a big fan of planning. I usually have a 1 spoonful rule, just enough for 2 or 3 bites. I start with a large salad. Dressed with Balsamic vinegar. I usually skip the oil or just give a drop or two. I make sure to eat my veggies. The volume of this makes me feel fuller. I make sure to select the lean protein. So the white breast meat of the turkey. We all know the real part of the day is the sides though. So a spoonful of each of the sides I want. Mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, corn, green beans, peas, I always skip the bread. You know those Pillsbury crescent roll commercials, yeah, you can have the last one. Although we are having brown and serve rolls. Gravy can be DANGEROUS! I suggest a dipping cup if you are going to have gravy. Yes it is more dishes but this way you can actually see how much gravy you use. If you pour it over your food you have no concept of how much you used!
By this point your plate is LOADED! In fact it is likely OVERLOADED! Take a moment and look at your plate. Just sit and look at all the food. Your stomach will not remember all this food and how good it looked and tasted so just enjoy it. Now look around at your fellow diners, and this is a little trick I like. Be the last one to start eating. It is polite to wait until everyone has their food, but it also helps to make sure everyone else has started eating to begin eating. It tricks your mind, or my mind into thinking you have already started eating because those around you have already started enjoying their food.
If you take a bite of one of the sides you put onto your plate, and it did not taste good, DO NOT EAT THE REST! Scrape it to the side of your plate and forget about it. If you finish your plate of food and are still hungry, wait a few minutes anyway, have a glass of ice water and see if you are really still hungry of if you are just what I call mouth hungry. You are very likely not. Carry a piece of gum or a mint in your pocket with you to dinner. Do not continue to pick at the food on the table or on your plate, and as soon as you are done, put your silverware down, on the far side of the plate. Offer to help clean up, wrap up leftovers and get them put away. It helps keep food safe from contamination and holds off the picking at it that leads to the unbuttoning of the jeans that is so unfashionable.
I also wear tight pants to Thanksgiving dinner. It seems strange, but if you go a little uncomfortable, you are more aware of what you have room for.
The dessert disaster so you have made it through the turkey… made good wise choices, are not pegged in the full meter, but are satisfied and they bring out the pie… oh god no! Do not feel obligated to eat dessert. There is no law that says you must have dessert. There is also no law that says if you have a slice of something, you have to eat the whole thing. In fact, the idea of the clean plate club is quite old-fashioned. I think during the holidays there should be a reward for leaving something on your plate. We all know someone who gets to the end of dinner and can’t move.
I know I won’t be serving the pie right away at my Thanksgiving Dinner. I will be offering some digestion time. I will also be offering the option to take it home with you instead. So much of the holidays is tied with food. I hope that tomorrow everyone takes a moment to just remember that we are lucky to have family and friends and be together.
I don’t get to spend much time with my family. Robb’s family has taken me in as one of theirs, which I am, I mean we have discussed marriage. However it is not exactly the same. I don’t know why family has become so important to me in the last few years, perhaps it is because I am nearing the age my grandmother was when she passed away and I fear the same fate because my health was failing too. Perhaps it is just a sign that I am getting older. Whatever it is I hope that everyone takes the time to reach out to those that they love and make time to spend even just a little while with them and tell them they are important to them.
I hope everyone has a great weekend!