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Old 11-22-2004, 02:03 PM   #1
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Lightbulb JuJu on Holiday Strategies - Wisdom Alert!

Yet another jewel from JuJu of The Skinny Daily -- and just in time!

A Meal to Be Thankful For
One way to do this holiday is to try altering your favorite recipes just a tad to make them more diet friendly: Replace your roasted, stuffed turkey with poached, skinless, boneless turkey breast. Steamed green beans, served dry, please. Instead of mashed potatoes, try acorn squash baked without butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon will help it go down, as long as you’re drinking plenty of water, which you’ve traded for the wine. Don’t forget to cut out the salt too. There’s a recipe floating about for a crustless pumpkin “pie” made with imitation eggs and imitation sugar, which you can top with imitation, low-carb whipped cr—topping. Please enjoy all the lettuce and black coffee you want.

Or you could give it a break, already.

If you’re trying to drive your family away forever, this isn’t a bad menu. But I happen to think the holiday table is no place for diet food, and a family gathering is no place for punishment. (At least not self-imposed punishment.) Call me a rebel.

If there’s no room in your diet program for your traditional family holiday foods, then you may want to think through the wisdom of your program. I hope you’ve chosen a means of weight loss that is designed for life-long weight maintenance.

Maintainers know that holidays happen. Particularly, Thanksgiving happens. Nearly every year around this time. It’s fairly predictable, and because it is, we can think through its effects on our weight loss and weight maintenance efforts, do a little planning, and skate through it with the most modest of weight gain, if any.

What you need is to can the fear, and develop a strategy or two. Here are some ideas:

If You are Hosting:
Cook the bird, and have guests bring everything else. Arm yourself with large carry-out containers, and after the meal, while you are very full, divide up the leftovers to send home with your guests. Leave nothing but a carcass for you to cope with.

Be ruthless, and employ help from an immediate household member who is hip to your strategy if you’re having a hard time sending the pecan pie away at the end of the meal.

If your family insists on keeping the leftovers around, then put them in charge of storing them in opaque containers toward the back of your fridge. Make a deal with yourself and with them that you are not going to eat leftovers that are not on your eating plan, and that the opaque containers will be emptied by your family by the end of the week. The deal is, you don’t have to touch them. Your deal with yourself: don’t touch them.

Organize some activity for after dinner. House trimming, tree trimming, walking, a game, a scavenger hunt, the last of the leaf collection, serving dinner at a shelter, taking dinner to someone who’s shut in, a craft project to get a jump start on holiday gifts, a gift-wrap decorating bee, something that will remove people from the kitchen and the food.

If You are Not Hosting:
Sleep in that morning. Why not? When you wake, have oatmeal for breakfast with non-fat milk and a half a mashed banana. For most people, that will stick until dinner.

Offer to bring a tossed salad of baby organic greens, and a roasted vegetable dish. Eat these first from the foods on your plate. Then eat the turkey. Then sit for 10 minutes sipping water. Then eat a forkful or two of anything else your heart desires. Have a whole dessert if you want it. Enjoy everything about it. The smell, the texture, the flavor. Compliment the cooks. Revel in your meal. Just stop when you’re full.

When you’re full, leave the table and the kitchen. Take your water or wine or coffee and go enjoy the company in a room away from food. If there is such a thing. Enlist family or friends in a nature walk as soon as people are comfortable enough to move. Touch football? Don’t volunteer to do the dishes. Don’t hang around, picking at the dessert dishes.

Refuse leftovers politely but firmly. If your family wants turkey sandwiches, then roast a small turkey of your own the next morning at home. No means no. Offering to take home just a little turkey will leave you with just a little of everything else too. I know. I deploy this means to rid my house of food all the time. (See ‘If You Are Hosting’ above.)

For either strategy, if you eat early, have a nice homemade soup or chili on hand for a light, low-calorie evening meal. It’ll be fewer calories and more nutrition than a second slice of pie. Remember the pie fondly, eat the soup.

I hope you’ll enjoy your holiday meal. Remember it’s there for your reflection and rejuvenation, not for stress, guilt, or fear (of food).

Do you have more holiday meal strategies to share? Tell us all about it below, because all of us are a lot smarter than just one of us.
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