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Old 11-01-2012, 04:08 PM   #1
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Default How do you handle food at the holidays?

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?
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:16 PM   #2
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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!
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:25 PM   #3
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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
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:27 PM   #4
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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!
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:32 PM   #5
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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!
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:03 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:08 PM   #7
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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.

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Old 11-01-2012, 06:40 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:42 PM   #9
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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
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by sontaikle View Post
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.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KateB View Post
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 ).
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by stimkovs View Post

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!
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:00 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:04 PM   #14
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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!
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:55 PM   #15
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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.
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