Weight Loss Support - Anxiety over Xmas season already..

10-11-2009, 08:46 PM
I am already starting to worry about holiday eating and gaining weight. During the Xmas season, I love to bake and give cookies as gifts, and I'm not willing to give this up on the diet. I do plan to take stuff immediately to my parents freezer so I won't have it here to eat. However, I'm worried about the stress of trying to eat healthy at parties. I do want to give myself a day or two to eat what I want...I think on Xmas eve and Xmas I will let myself have some goodies...but the other parties and events are really stressing me out. How do you make it through the season? I wish it was like Thanksgiving where it was only one meal, instead it's a whole month!

10-11-2009, 08:55 PM
I make it through by changing how I think of the season. Why does it have to be about food all the time? Why does the food have to always be fattening?

I did give up baking cookies. I just can't trust myself around them -- not even during baking. I decided my long-term goals were more important.

If I do want to give food as gift there are lots of options that don't set off my triggers. For example, last year I discovered spiced pecans and cranberries. They are easy to make, a nice gift, and I can better control myself around them.

I luckily don't have to go to a lot of holiday parties, but when I do, I am more successful by planning ahead of time what I am going to eat.

Don't place yourself near the food. Use the parties as a way to socialize, rather than focusing on the food. If you do eat, eat one plate, then ditch the plate and get away from the rest of it.

There are times I just tell myself that I won't have any dessert. It can be a real trigger for me. Or, if I know there will be something there I really like, I have to wait until the food is almost gone to eat any. It won't kill me if a year passes without some food I love.

So, I guess a lot of it is about reprioritizing and rethinking how you think of the holidays.

That said, I still find it all kind of stressful!

10-11-2009, 09:56 PM
Whatever time of the year it is, I look at my calender for the month ahead and I see what functions I have. And ahead of time I pick and choose which ones I will allow myself a splurge.

For me the best bet is to have a plan in place, a strategy, a mode of attack BEFORE I walk in the door.

Perhaps at the first function, I"ll decide I will faithfully stick to the veggie platter and fruit. And the seltzer and/or diet soda. FAITHFULLY. And having done that, I take away the decision making process at the time of the event. There's nothing for me to ponder, nothing for me to consider. And no, I don't feel deprived. I feel wonderful having remained committed to my good and healthy ways, not letting temptation overtake that commitment.

Perhaps at the next function, I'll decide veggie, fruits and one sliver of dessert. Like Heather, I find saving it for the very end is the way to go. This way I won't be tempted to go back for seconds. Or thirds. At times, I've even said my goodbyes and THEN grabbed a cookie or cupcake for the road. Works great.

This way you've left Xmas eve and day for the bigger splurges, if you choose to that is.

As for the baking. That's a toughie for me. Home baked goods are the most difficult thing for me resist. Bar none. The year I was losing, it was out of the question for the first bunch of months - especially cookies. I would sooner give cakes, maybe in a loaf pan. This way there can be no nibbling and sneaking in a cookie or two. Or three. Or twelve. Yeah. Baking cookies tricky.

Don't stress the holidays. It IS about being with people and that should be the main focus. The year I was losing, losing that weight was the most important thing in the world to me. That's what mattered the very, very most and I was not willing to let anything stand in my way.

You hear all these stories of people gaining 10 or more pounds during the holidays, but with proper planning and well thought out strategies and yes, re-prioritizing, that just doesn't have to be.

10-11-2009, 11:24 PM
Oh boy, do I hear you on this one!!! I'm worried about the holidays too. But I'm going to try to allow myself to splurge on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years. Not all the other days in between. Hopefully I won't gain much, and I can still enjoy myself.

The baking is HARD for me too! I usually give baked treats to my neighbors and family. This year I'm thinking of buying them all a nice candle or potpourri/candle set instead. It's so hard!

10-11-2009, 11:27 PM
What I did last year was have a serious talk with myself about what I wanted more, Christmas goodies or to lose weight and be healthy. I decided (heck I already knew) that being healthy and losing weight was far, far, far more important to me than any possible thing that was served at Christmastime. And I am from the deep South, where every single thing that's served is the best thing you ever ate in your entire life. I did allow myself one serving of fried oysters, because even DCHound can't go to the Gulf Coast and not have fried oysters. But that was it. Christmas eve dinner, I made my regular little chicken-and-sauteed green beans with water and had that while everyone else was having ham, turkey, tenderloin and all the trimmings. And since I'd had that little chat with myself, I was OK with it. I mainly kept picturing what I was going to look/feel like the NEXT Christmas.

And here we are 2 1/2 months away from that next Christmas...and I am about 75 lbs lighter than I was Christmas of last year. And it was totally, totally worth it. By the time Christmas rolls around I believe I will be wearing size 14 jeans...something I haven't been able to do since FIFTH GRADE people.

I would not trade the near-certainty of being smaller than I was in FIFTH GRADE on Christmas Day, 2009, for all the Christmas dinners in the world. That's how I'm going to get through Hallowe'en candy, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years parties. To me, there's just no comparison. :)

10-12-2009, 09:45 AM
I do love the holidays. The things I go to are more family oriented so I often bring food or prepare food there to share with everyone. That allows me to 1. eat because I don't meat, cheese, or yadda yadda, and 2. allows me to eat healthy and even splurge with something I made like a raw food cheesecake or something and 3. I get to share that with everyone and they really like that. People like it when you share food and to be honest if it looks great and tastes great, they don't care if it is healthy or not.

I can't bake as my oven burns everything (crappy apartment oven) so that is out of the question. I do prepare raw food desserts, which are lovely tasting, but if I'm preparing that for other people I never nibble or take a slice. I only taste when I'm actually preparing it to make sure it tastes good. So I put rules on things like that. "Don't eat it, it is for someone else" and that works for me. I get such joy sharing food with people.

If I'm going to a function or something, and I might this year, eating beforehand is essential. If I get there and there are no veggies to eat I'm pretty much screwed lol. My lifestyle choice vegan/vegetarian so I have to eat ahead usually lol. The last thing you want is to get into a place and find everything smothered in cheese and butter. If I'm full before the event then I'm not under any pressure and if there is something there I can nibble and thus I'm not thinking about food, I'm thinking about the people and the function and having fun.

I used to fixate on food during the holidays and in a way I still do. If I'm planning things or what not, yeah that concerns food, but it is very different than it once was. I used to go buy sweets and things and cheese logs and etc. Now I don't eat that stuff anymore so my fixation has turned from splurging to preparing food for people in order to share. I also put some of my attention into gift giving. I just did little Halloween bags for my nephews and niece for this last weekend. Very inexpensive and they loved it. Thanksgiving it will be about preparing food and helping out and blah blah. Winter Solstice/Christmas, etc...will be sharing some food and some gifts, blah blah. So the focus isn't about how much food can I fit into my mouth, rather it is about people and celebrating with them.

10-12-2009, 10:02 AM
I have always found that people love to receive little banana breads in the mimi loaf pans. You can't eat them before handing them out - someone would surely notice a hunk out of their bread :) and you can wrap them in the red or green colored saran wrap with ribbons and labels.

Also, one strategy that I have for making it through a party is to have a drink - like a Mich ultra or something low cal (diet soda) and nurse it throughout the party then I concentrate on who I want to get to talk to that night. It helped me this past weekend - I am sure that you will find a strategy that works best for you.

Lori Bell
10-12-2009, 10:19 AM
You are very close to what I weighed a year ago at this exact time. By Christmas I reached onederland. I felt absolutely beautiful and had no trouble staying on the wagon before Christmas Day because of how wonderful I felt. Christmas day I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted, and I didn't go nuts but I did have several sweet treats. JANUARY sucked. Those sweet treats made me crave sugar more than ever and it took a good month of pure struggle to get back on the wagon. It sucked and I totally learned my lesson there.

ALSO, How would you feel if all you friends and relatives brought you baked goods for Christmas? Food does not equal love, and there is always more than enough to go around. Give them something that you would want...like a big box of beautiful fruit. If you don't want the treats for yourself, what makes you think that everyone else needs/wants it?

10-12-2009, 10:46 AM
I so understand the anxiety over the holiday season. I don't know how many times I was in a good cycle, eating well and exercising and then November and December would come and I would start a bad cycle. I think of these issues as cycles -

Eat healthy > Exercise > No Cravings > Feel Good > Lose Weight > Eat healthy > Exercise > No Cravings > Feel Good > Lose Weight > and so on ....... upward spiral


Eat Sugar and other junk > No Exercise > Cravings > Feel Terrible > Gain Weight > Eat Sugar and other junk > No Exercise > Cravings > Feel Terrible > Gain Weight > and so on ....... downward spiral

In this explanation "upward" and "downward" is not describing my weight but my general health and well being. I have decided that I want to keep the good upward spiral going this coming holiday season. Therefore, I will continue to eat healthy and avoid sugar. Sugar always seems to be the start of a bad spiral. A few treats during the holidays is just not worth the cost of starting a bad spiral and having to stop it. If I can even stop it, that is, which is my greatest fear.

I can take my own food to most events but when I don't feel comfortable doing that, I will eat before I go.

The only cookies that I will make will be my father's fruit cake cookies. This is a tradition that I can not give up. For the first 40 years of my life, my aunt made them for my father and I saw how much he looked forward to and enjoyed them. When she passed away, DH and I started making them for DF. I can resist fruit cake cookies anyway. :)

I won't try to stop my family from having other cookies and treats. They love the cookie dough you can buy and bake. Funny thing is, I usually do not have a problem resisting as long as I do not eat one bite but one bite starts me craving more. I am never satisfied so why even start?

10-12-2009, 10:51 AM
I am in this boat as well. No one else in my family does any baking for Christmas, so I am pretty much the supplier of all things yummy, LOL. My strategy is making things that my family likes, but i dont ;) and if i do make something i cant resist (peanut butter balls) I immediately place them into containers and freeze them. I will allow myself 2 of them, and no more.

10-12-2009, 11:20 AM
I try really hard not to make the Xmas season an all or nothing deal. I plan to put my focus on enjoying my time with family and friends rather than on the food. If I do slip up and eat too much, I like to think of it as a learning lesson rather than beat myself up about it and fall completely off the wagon (as people call it). Personally, I'm not on a wagon--this is my lifestyle.

Last year I lost 5 lbs of the season. I probably could have lost more, but I'm ok with that. If I eat too much at one event or meal, which is more likely that my slacking off on exercise, I plan to get right back to it after that event.

I often find myself enjoying visiting with people more than the food these days. After a large meal, I find it more satisfying to get up and start doing the dishes to help the hostess rather that sit and visit and continue to eat. I love the "Lady Time" in the kitchen during large family get-togethers. I hope to enjoy all of the good food but not overdo it because I no longer enjoy that "stuffed" feeling afterwards. Yes, there is some foods that usually only make an appearance once a year and I do want some of it, but I don't have to go hog-wild. It'll be back again.

10-12-2009, 11:41 AM
I have a slightly different mindset about this and I hope nobody takes what I have to say the wrong way. This is the nth time I've decided to lose weight and it's the first time that I haven't deprived myself of certain foods. This is the only time I am happy and I don't feel like I'm missing out. I love food, and cutting out foods is not conducive for my long-term goals. Granted, I had some advantages since my main problem was overeating and not an addiction to fast food, soda and other junk. I've basically been teaching myself portion control. For me, I decided that I will allow myself anything but I will stop when I either feel full or feel saturated with the taste. So far, I've found that a spoonful of cheesecake is enough to get me through a cheesecake craving (I make sure to get a sample at Costco whenever they offer it :D). I've also found that 5 chips is enough to satisfy my chips craving and I don't even have the craving if there are no chips in the house. If you feel strong enough, maybe you could try my way and have what you want but stop when you feel you are satisfied. :) Good luck this holiday season! :)

10-12-2009, 11:45 AM
Sunni, I think you said it better than I did. No, I do not deprive myself. And no, chips and sweets don't send me on a bender either. I think that there is more than one way to enjoy this journey.

10-12-2009, 11:55 AM
I agree that there is definitely more than one way to do this journey. There is no one right or wrong way. We are all different and we all have to find, and then do, whatever works for us. Some of us feel like not having our favorite foods deprives us while others of us just can't handle certain foods. I think that the hardest part is finding what works for us.

10-12-2009, 12:19 PM
Sunni, yes we are all different. UNDERSTATEMENT. And we all have to find what works for us.

And please I hope no one takes offense but here goes. I don't find cutting out certain foods - deprivation. I find eating them to be -deprivation. I was depriving myself of good health. Mental and physical. BIG TIME DEPRIVATION. And again, no offense meant, but I think that most, certainly not all, but many people who are/were over the 250 lb mark DO have different issues and therefore implementing that "moderation" thing just doesn't work. Again, not all, but many.

10-12-2009, 02:30 PM
Thanks guys, lots to think about here, and glad to know I'm not the only one thinking about it. Loribell, you had a good point. By Christmas, I do hope to be in the range of soon being able to hit onederland, and I KNOW that will help a little bit. Because I never ever thought I could be under 200 pounds, and if I am close in December I know I won't want to mess that up! I am going to come back on in December and post a plan of attack for each and every party so I will feel as though I have to stick to it!

10-12-2009, 02:52 PM
i allow 3 guilt free cheat days a year, thanksgiving, christmas, and my birthday. splurging on one day isnt going to do any damage, its all the parties, cookies, etc that float around for months that you have to be wary of.

just watch your portions at parties, try to find a fruit platter or some pretzels to snack on. you'll be fine. ;)

10-12-2009, 03:24 PM
You have to decide what is more important - cookies and junk or being thinner and healthy. I eat before I go to parties. I choose not to eat sweets, or other snacks like chips. I usually have a club soda with a twist of lemon or lime to drink. I'll have one glass of wine on Christmas and one on New Year's Eve. Once you quit eating that stuff, you lose your taste for it and it no longer tastes good. I decided to give me friends fruit and nuts for Christmas instead of cookies. Most of them don't want the cookies, either, or get too many.

10-12-2009, 03:43 PM
I love to bake at the holidays too. I am just going to try and be as careful as I can and accept my mistakes then move on! Good luck!

Cali Doll
10-12-2009, 03:45 PM
I love food, and cutting out foods is not conducive for my long-term goals. Granted, I had some advantages since my main problem was overeating and not an addiction to fast food, soda and other junk. I've basically been teaching myself portion control. For me, I decided that I will allow myself anything but I will stop when I either feel full or feel saturated with the taste.

I totally agree. This is what I do, too. I had friends stay with me for 4 days last weekend and as a result I had 4 "high-calorie" days...I think. I say "I think" because for 4 days I didn't count calories I just relied on my brain to tell me when I was full. **NO BINGING** I had cheesecake, french fries, key lime pie and other good stuff (not horrible stuff but certainly not "diet" foods). In the end, I lost 3.2 pounds that week.

I try to plan for these types of events by having low-cal days prior to the event so that I can have the high-cal days without too much worry (I zig zag my calories). My body seems to react well to this. This is how I plan on approaching the holidays: listening carefully to my brain when it says "I'm full" and enjoying the foods I want. This is life, afterall.

10-12-2009, 04:50 PM
Oh my goodness, I'm totally in this boat as well!

I usually do pretty well over Christmas - I bake a lot, but don't really eat much (after I bake 20 dozen shortbread cookies you couldn't pay me to eat one! I'm so sick of looking at them... I use my dad as a tester!). We have two sittings on Christmas Day, and with the exception of the copious amounts of rye I have been known to drink to tolerate some of my relatives ;) I usually do really well....

However, I have been living in Africa for almost a year now, and I am finally going home the first week of December. And I am TERRIFIED! lol! Every time I talk to people about coming home they're planning some event involving copious amounts of food and drink! My best friend is already planning a visit to a 'poutinery' (for those of you unfamiliar, poutine is french fries with cheese curds and gravy, and this restaurant serves different variations on that recipe... like adding bacon), my coworkers are planning some kind of party involving a cupcake tray, everyone wants to go out for dinner...

And the best part is that these are not things we would normally do! Cupcake tray?! I don't even eat cupcakes! I'm super flattered that everyone's excited to see me... but I'm worried about the amount of food they're already planning! Plus they don't know that I've lost so much weight. This should be interesting.

I'm counting on being too busy talking about my adventures and catching up to actually eat that much garbage!

10-12-2009, 04:52 PM
It`ll be maintainingfor me at Christmas. No need in even contemplating to try anything more than that...

10-13-2009, 04:22 PM
I am so glad that this topic was brought up. I was just talking to a friend the other day about how nervous I am for the holidays. I started my journey in June of this year and I know this will by far be the toughest season for me. Some of you had some great ideas! Unfortunately, I am not the baker....people usually bake for me. I have already told my co-workers that anything that comes to the office goes home with someone else. I just don't want it around me.

As far as gatherings, I have decided, like some of you, that I will have certain days that will be "freebies". I will allow myself to splurge a little bit. The rest of the days will be a struggle if need be.

I want to be in onderland by new years eve. I don't want to go into another year weighing in the 200's. That being my motivation, I know I can do it.