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Embrace Balance to Avoid Fearing Holiday Meals

Anda T. writes about her weight loss struggles, victories and every day life at www.leavingfatville.com. She also runs www.greatclothingexchange.com in her spare time when not chasing a toddler, cooking, cleaning, working and trying to take over the world.

Holidays mean a time for family to get together, share good food and maybe some wine and enjoy each other’s company. Sounds like a great time, right? It wasn’t until I started my weight loss journey back in 2009 that I realized how the holidays could make or break my diet. Suddenly, November and December struck fear into my heart. How would I get through all the food? How was I going to track the calories? How was I not going to be starving all the time?

The first year, I got ambitious. I decided I’d cook everything. No one had to bring a dish, desserts were Cooking Light approved, and sides never saw one ounce of canned soup. The menu was amazing and diverse and people never missed the favorites. Me, though? I missed everything because I was in the kitchen. There was no visiting, and no chatting over some wine or an appetizer before lunch/dinner. I was dashing around the kitchen like a madwoman. I did it not once, but twice. By New Year’s Eve, I was exhausted. My holiday vacation wasn’t a vacation at all. I’d stressed out so much the entire time about food that I completely forgot to have fun. Sure, I stayed on track, but I missed so much of the festivities, I still felt like I’d been cheated.

The second year, I said I wasn’t cooking. I had an idea of what good nutrition was, and I planned my meal according to that. I brought one healthy side and one healthy dessert and I knew, if nothing else was edible, I could eat those and be fine. I steered away from the canned soup/green bean/fried onion concoction and went for the fresh veggies. The turkey was easy, and I still indulged in a little cranberry sauce (hey, a girl’s got to have –something- with her turkey). The ham was small portions and the least amount of glaze possible and you saw more plate than food by the time I was done making the rounds. I ate it all without guilt while I got to visit with the family I’d missed so much the year before.

Sure, my holiday meal wasn’t the healthiest it could have been, but I didn’t feel cheated. I learned the balance and it made me happy to accomplish that level of control over something that used to be a source of gluttony for me.

But the most important thing I learned about the holidays and eating right? DON’T take home the leftovers! If it’s not there, you won’t feel compelled to eat more of it.

Have a great and healthy holiday season!

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December 8th, 2011

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