Weight Loss Support - How do you handle food at the holidays?




Moving Forward
11-01-2012, 05:08 PM
I'm looking for other people's ideas and perspectives on the holidays coming up. I've been working so hard to lose weight and am sort of dreading all of the food that's going to be around. I'll be traveling and eating in my relatives' homes. I don't want to set myself back... How are you planning to handle the holidays?


stimkovs
11-01-2012, 05:16 PM
i eat it.

that's a very vague statement- but 3.5 years deep into this lifestyle, i can tell you a couple of things about food. YOU know what is healthy- you KNOW that drinking a gallon of table cream is not healthy, but eating a salad is. doesn't matter what dressing (although if it was lettuce swimming in a puddle of ranch, i'd go for the table cream). but the point of that is, you know what the HEALTHIER choice is. you also know there's going to be a tonne of delicious food. you don't have to eat it all, especially if it's fatty laden, and not your absolute favourite. my general rule of thumb is- if i love it, i eat it, otherwise i make the "healthy-er" choice. do i count and freak out? nah. it's a holiday, you're seeing family. but if you deprive yourself you will eventually binge on it.

also- if you think everything at the family dinner is going to be deep fried, right down to the last carrot stick- volunteer to pre cook, bring or otherwise make a healthified choice dish (don't have to tell people it's healthy).

otherwise, when all else fails, i'm usually the person who brings the large veggie platter to the party!

westcoast rosa
11-01-2012, 05:25 PM
We had our Thanksgiving here last month and I agree with what stimkovs said.

Here's what I did:

1) laid off the snacks...stuck with raw veggies
2) had 1 plate of food (with lots of veg) and no seconds
3) only had 1 alcoholic beverage with dinner
4) skipped dessert

I still had a great time and even had a loss that week!

I plan to do the same thing over Christmas. Bye bye weekend egg nog/Bailey's and coffee :(


Em Coconut
11-01-2012, 06:27 PM
Well...In my family the normal thing to do during this kind of dinner is eat so much that you could roll away from the table afterwards.... What I do:

1) No seconds (the other ones always have seconds and some even thirds)
2) Fill up on veggies, without being greedy of course.
3) I don't eat a full plate
4) I don't take much gravy
5) I limit desserts to max 2 table spoons. If it's something I like. Not a desserts person really...
6) Even though there is chocolate on the table after dinner, doesn't mean I have to eat it.

With that being said, we don't celebrate thanksgiving or anything over here, so the only issue is christmas.

I hope it goes well for you, and I think stimkovs makes some great points!:)

Unicorn67
11-01-2012, 06:32 PM
I plan for it. I know the approximate calories of things..I know I'm going to eat more than I usually would but I don't plan to go the rest of my life without ever having dessert. I try to pick the healthier choices - I don't fill up on any breads/high carb foods, I don't usually put gravy on anything etc.

I also can't eat the way I used to! My stomach won't let me. Even yesterday for halloween I had allowed calories to have some little chocolate bars - didn't eat any of my other snacks so I had room for a few treats. I ate 3 of the little peanut butter cups - 240 calories, and I felt kind of sick after. There was a time I could have eaten the whole bag!

Natlyne
11-01-2012, 07:03 PM
I'm with stimkovs - I eat it.

I love food. And I am trying very hard with this weight loss/healthier life journey to keep loving food! Just not going overboard with it. I can eat. It wouldn't be weird for me to polish off 2 or 3 plates of turkey dinner, then get several desserts. But that's just not an option anymore, and I'm more than ok with that.

At Thanksgiving I had a decent size plate, and then went for very, very small seconds - I love stuffing and turkey! I also had a good size peice of pumpkin pie. But I planned for it, and I still managed to lose weight that week!

So my advice is to plan for it, eat good the rest of the day, excercise a bit more, and limit the quantity of food. And enjoy it! Don't just eat to be polite or anything. Pick the food you really enjoy.

KateB
11-01-2012, 07:08 PM
Planning is the key!

Holidays we typicaly have the same thing. I try to estimate the number of calories in my favorite foods. I watch my portions. I start right away in November and try to add in some extra exercise, even if it's only 10 or 15 minutes extra. If you add 15 minutes extra 4 times a week that's an extra hour for that week, extra 4 hours for the month. That can go a long way to offset additional calories eaten.

I ALWAYS bring something healthy and on plan. I bring A LOT of it. that way I KNOW there will be something I can fill up on. I also bring one of the traditional family dishes and try to make it healthier. the healthier versions have always been a hit!

Our family does not give out awards for a clean plate or who can eat the most. I bet yours doesn't either. So if you are full stop eating.

Eat slowly! Take small bites. Chew the food well, savor it. Put your fork down between bites. Do not pick it up until you have swallowed what is in your mouth. I try to do this all the time, sometimes I am more successful that others. But I especially try to make a conscious effort of doing this at any gathering that food is involved or when I go out to eat.

FINALLY! Remember it is the holidays. If you are afraid that by missing a piece of pie or a Christmas cookie you will feel deprived and that feeing will lead you to make worse choices later, then have the treat and be done with it. I know some people have to deal with 2 or more "Christmases" or "Thanksgivings" becuse of extended families and what not, but don't let yourself say, "Well Monday is the 'Smith' Christmas, Wednesday is the 'Jones" Christmas then on Saturday we have our Office Bash so I will just not worry about what I eat this week and start over next week." Many of us know that all too easily next week becomes, next month or next year and then before we know it we are back to where we started again.

Persistence Over Perfection!

caryesings
11-01-2012, 07:40 PM
Another vote for just eat it, keeping in mind what a true portion is and don't go overboard on the goodies.

Also I incorporate activity into the rest of the day, whether it's going for a walk before dinner while visiting or volunteering for cleanup duty after.

sontaikle
11-01-2012, 07:42 PM
I eat a little bit of everything and get back on track the very next day. Last year I was still losing during the holidays and I still managed to keep losing doing that exact same strategy :)

angieand2girls
11-01-2012, 08:18 PM
I eat a little bit of everything and get back on track the very next day. Last year I was still losing during the holidays and I still managed to keep losing doing that exact same strategy :)

Definitely this. Eat it, then get back on track the next day. Even if you end up eating tons of calories that day, I truly dont' think it will hurt in the long run if you get right back on track. Now leftovers for the entire week? Yeaaaah, that might be a problem lol.

Arctic Mama
11-01-2012, 09:17 PM
Planning is the key!

Holidays we typicaly have the same thing. I try to estimate the number of calories in my favorite foods. I watch my portions. I start right away in November and try to add in some extra exercise, even if it's only 10 or 15 minutes extra. If you add 15 minutes extra 4 times a week that's an extra hour for that week, extra 4 hours for the month. That can go a long way to offset additional calories eaten.

I ALWAYS bring something healthy and on plan. I bring A LOT of it. that way I KNOW there will be something I can fill up on. I also bring one of the traditional family dishes and try to make it healthier. the healthier versions have always been a hit!

Our family does not give out awards for a clean plate or who can eat the most. I bet yours doesn't either. So if you are full stop eating.

Eat slowly! Take small bites. Chew the food well, savor it. Put your fork down between bites. Do not pick it up until you have swallowed what is in your mouth. I try to do this all the time, sometimes I am more successful that others. But I especially try to make a conscious effort of doing this at any gathering that food is involved or when I go out to eat.

FINALLY! Remember it is the holidays. If you are afraid that by missing a piece of pie or a Christmas cookie you will feel deprived and that feeing will lead you to make worse choices later, then have the treat and be done with it. I know some people have to deal with 2 or more "Christmases" or "Thanksgivings" becuse of extended families and what not, but don't let yourself say, "Well Monday is the 'Smith' Christmas, Wednesday is the 'Jones" Christmas then on Saturday we have our Office Bash so I will just not worry about what I eat this week and start over next week." Many of us know that all too easily next week becomes, next month or next year and then before we know it we are back to where we started again.

Persistence Over Perfection!

This is great advice. I'd add that it's okay to make a conscious decision to eat until satisfied (but don't stuff yourself silly!) of normal holiday foods for many of us. I'm on a fairly strict eating plan for good reason, but I'm going to relax my standards for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. JUST for the two dinners. Sometimes having a day of 'no counting/logging/stressing' does the mind a whole lot of good. But the trick is to get RIGHT back on plan afterward, as a non-negotiable rule. Choose your splurge, but no eating your way through the holiday season. That mitigates almost all 'damage' right there, given that it isn't just one meal that ruins a diet ;)

If you know you're the kind of person who isn't yet ready to eat off plan and reliably get back on, then I'd argue for modifying the holiday menus until it complies with your plan and doesn't tempt you for weeks on end. I've done it both ways, depending on where I'm at in my journey and how I'm feeling in my weight loss or maintenance at the time. There isn't one right response for the situation, but there is a right response for YOU (and only you know which side you need to fall on :hug:).

joefla70
11-01-2012, 09:43 PM
my general rule of thumb is- if i love it, i eat it, otherwise i make the "healthy-er" choice.


What you wrote reminded me of the scene from the movie "Ratatouille" where Anton Ego is talking with Linguini about being a food critic. When Linguini says to Anton "you're pretty think for a guy who likes food", Anton replies:

"I don't LIKE food, I LOVE it. If I don't LOVE it, I don't SWALLOW."

I abide by the principal as well!

gatorgirl6
11-01-2012, 11:00 PM
I am going to shoot for a controlled splurge. I will eat what I want for dinner, but in reasonable portions and no seconds. I will also not snack to avoid the extra calories. I know that we have a couple holidays coming up, but they are only a couple days. Stay on track the rest of the time and as long as you don't go crazy it shouldn't put you back. Dieting doesn't mean you have to stop living.

KittyKatFan
11-01-2012, 11:04 PM
I'm no expert on eating right during a holiday, but try to eat the turkey breast with no skin or gravy. And veggies. We always used to have green beans for Thanksgiving. Make sure there is at least one healthy veggie there for you. Or salad.

And stay away from/reduce the serving size of the dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, and pie. Fortunately for me I don't love these foods, but if you do, try to restrict how much you eat of them.

And watch the alcohol! Lots of calories in that stuff!

toastedsmoke
11-01-2012, 11:55 PM
Christmas and New Years are totally free days for me. Those are like the two days in a year that I don't count my calories. (Well maybe my birthday makes a 3rd day). I have whatever I want and I'm sure my calorie count gets pretty ugly. But I pick it back right back up the next day and go back to counting. I also tend to work out more often the week leading up to Christmas and the following week leading up to New Year because I have time off.

Obviously if hopping off plan and on plan is a trigger for you, don't do what I do. Maybe plan ahead what you will do and what you will eat for example turkey without the skin and veggies, maybe a spoonful of stuffing or whatever. It doesn't matter. Make a plan and stick to it. Maybe up your calorie target a little for the day. Or perhaps you can have some kind of intermittent fast day, where you save all your calories for one big meal. Whatever you choose, don't get into any trigger behaviors and stay away from food or plans that will only set you up to fail.

freelancemomma
11-02-2012, 12:51 AM
Thanksgiving and Christmas are not an issue for me because I'm not crazy about turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, carrots, or pumpkin pie. My weakness is gourmet restaurant or catered fare. I'll be attending several professional meetings this month where the food is varied, high-quality and delicious. THAT's what I have to watch and plan for.

F.

dstalksalot
11-02-2012, 01:21 AM
Last year right at Thanksgiving I started my counting and did well but this year I have about 400 less to work with. Soooo.....I need to figure out how to incorporate the leftover pecan pie into Friday morning breakfast. Its a tradition. In all seriousness I am concerned with the week after and will do my best to get a grip on it. I am starting now and will work in added walking and cuting out my snacks.

Moving Forward
11-02-2012, 02:00 AM
I am so grateful for all the great ideas. All good food for thought! Thanks everyone. I'm not sure yet what my ultimate plan will be, but right now I will start upping the exercise by 15 minutes in preparation.:cool:

UnderTheMoon
11-02-2012, 03:49 AM
This is my first thanksgiving on a diet, sort of. Im skipping Thanksgiving. Not because of my diet though, i just work. I work Wednesday night from 8 pm to 8 am and then i work Thursday night (Thanksgiving) from 8 pm to 8 am, so I will be asleep during the day. Since I live alone, there is no left overs or pie to contend with and due to the nature of my work, it wont be at my workplace.

Christmas is an entire different story, im on vacation from December 17th to January 3rd. Its 7 weeks away, and I am already planning in my head how to handle December. I just got back on track and my mantra is "I have survived and endured everything thrown at me so far, I will continue to thrive". Im just getting back into the flow of things so i try to keep that positive frame of mind, it makes all the difference

Brandnewday
11-02-2012, 06:50 AM
My plan for this year is just to eat. I will eat what I want, however much I want on turkey day, and the next day I WILL have one turkey sandwich with REAL mayonnaise on white bread. If I don't, I will start to feel very sorry for myself, and a depressed Brandnewday is a gorging Brandnewday. I don't think two planned-for days is going to throw me off track.

Christmas will be much easier for me, believe it or not. I am not that attracted to sweets, and I'm not a baker, so I don't encounter really delicious cookies/candy very often. We also don't do a traditional meal with all my favorites - we are more sloppy joes, feed everyone fast and get to the presents kind of people. It will be easy to bring my own food.

I might have a beer on New Year's Eve, but most years I don't even do that!

Moving Forward
11-18-2012, 12:34 PM
I saved this thread and decided to look it over again since my family is having an early Thanksgiving celebration today. After all the great ideas, my plan involves calorie cycling (I ate less yesterday and am applying the extra calories towards today), exercise, and intermittent fasting (I'm saving all my calories for the big meal tonight). I've already logged everything I plan to eat based on the menu. The result--I get to have a nice, controlled splurge tonight and will still stay within my calories. :turkey:

OhThePlaces
11-18-2012, 01:32 PM
We're not going "home" for Thanksgiving, so instead of making a big dinner for our family of 4, we'll be eating a thanksgiving lunch with our church. I plan to full up on mostly good stuff (turkey, veggies, fruit) but will allow myself to have a smaller portion of dessert if I really want it. The great thing is that we won't bring any leftovers home!

I haven't tackled Christmas yet!

racrane
11-18-2012, 02:08 PM
I eat what I like but small portions of everything. And I'll pick ONE desert I want and eat that. It's really hard though. For Christmas my grandma makes 5 kinds of deserts (no joke) plus several kinds of cookies and chocolates. It's so frustrating. But I'm determined I won't fail this year!

Alyj89
11-18-2012, 09:40 PM
Starting today I plan to eat 150 calories less a day until Thanksgiving, and not eating anything on Thanksgiving except for the dinner. I'll have a 500 calorie buffer. I'm not going to count and I'll eat whatever I want. Ill also be helping cook and on my feet all day followed by black Friday shopping, so I'll burn off a bit there too!

The pied are probably the worse thing we have, and at least they're homemade - and I'm diabetic, so I've never really over indulged in desserts anyhow due to the sugar.

Becky Quilts
11-18-2012, 09:51 PM
Thanks for this timely thread! I miss my WW meetings and need all the ideas. :)

Munchy
11-20-2012, 02:20 PM
We eat relatively healthy as a family, so I don't worry too much about the food we cook. I don't like to over eat because it just doesn't feel good, though I definitely eat foods that aren't "normal" foods for me to eat (like gravy). Below is our typical menu for Thanksgiving. I eat small amounts of everything and stop when I'm satisfied. I skip cornbread and dessert because I don't care for them. Usually the only issue is that we drink alcohol for most of the day. That's my downfall.

Turkey with gravy
Tofurkey with mushroom gravy
Mushroom strudel
Stuffing and vegetarian dressing
Mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows
Vegetarian collard greens
Cornbread
Green bean casserole
Homemade and canned cranberry sauce
Roasted brussels sprouts

Purchased pies (usually pumpkin, apple, and pecan) and a homemade low calorie whipped pumpkin "cheesecake."

HungryHungryHippo
11-20-2012, 05:04 PM
You know what's funny? We're supposed to eat candy on Halloween, an abundance of food on Thanksgiving, holiday treats throughout December--and then be thin and sexy on New Year's Eve! I think I'm going to start shopping for a NYE dress, just for motivation!

baker23
11-20-2012, 05:32 PM
I eat everything...Just in VERY small portions...Like a dollop of potatos, a small slice of ham(I don't eat turkey) a bite or two of a roll, and so on and so forth...Dessert is my only main issue that I have to watch

I still estimate my calories, eat healthy for the most part, and I make SURE to get a long workout in the next day or two...enough to burn off an extra 200-300 calories...Haha