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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