Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Holiday Eating

This coming weekend is Thanksgiving for us Canadians. While I can think of many things that I am extremely appreciative of this year, I am still having some apprehension about the food that will be served at the two holiday dinners I am scheduled to attend.

This is definitely the season that puts people trying to lose weight to the ultimate test. I keep on running through my head about what is coming up and attempting to figure out a plan of attack that will not leave me overly bloated, feeling deprived, nor suffering the shame of a ten pound weekend gain.

Halloween and Christmas are also fast approaching and that makes me nervous too. Christmas especially sends me into a mental fetal position when I consider just how many get-togethers, outings, and special events happen during the month of December as a prelude to the twenty-fifth. Why, oh, why do all festivities have to be so closely tied to the overindulgence in food?

So, I am planning… I will have more control over my food choices at one of the dinners that will happen this weekend than at the other. This means that on Monday I can opt for healthier items, without appearing too picky, and probably stay mostly on course. Sunday will be a little trickier since I know the hosts generally provide a lot of cheesy, buttery options at these types of gatherings, but I will do my best to choose wisely there and I can always aim for mostly vegetables throughout the rest of the day prior to arriving for supper that evening.

Halloween is a little easier - at least it is in theory, although whether or not I will be successful moving my plan into the realm of practice remains to be seen. I am not going to be buying Halloween candy ahead of time this year. I will either bring it into the house for the trick-or-treaters on the actual day (with the intention of sending leftovers to work with my husband) or figure out a complete alternative to sweets. However, I do have one tiny indulgence that I have already arranged. In the spirit of not feeling deprived, I have asked my husband to purchase no more than a quarter cup of candy corn for me to have on the thirty-first. There is just something about that treat that screams Halloween to me and I don’t think I would feel right if I did not get at least a little taste. I knew that if I didn’t delegate that task to him that I would end up doing it myself, but that I would ultimately buy closer to double or ever quadruple the amount that I have asked him to buy. It’s all about thinking ahead!

Christmas – or more accurately, the Christmas season – is the time that leads me to feel the most anxious. I don’t have more than a loose plan in place for this yet. I will work at filling my plate with healthy options when I can and will try to eat prior to arriving at events so that I have control over my hunger and, thus, my cravings. I will approach any dinners that I am invited to with the same consideration that I am giving this upcoming weekend. I will watch my portions when I do indulge and remember that if I pass on the chance to try something that I can always have it another time. I will also revisit this particular issue on this blog as the holiday get closer so that I can reevaluate and refocus on getting through it without too much difficulty.

I don’t think that I have ever, even once, made it through the holiday season without putting on weight. That is the challenge that I would like to meet this year. I would love to see the number on the scale continue to go downwards even as the days grow shorter and colder and the festivities blend together into one long string of celebrations. That would truly make me happy. That would be the best Christmas gift that I could ever receive.


  1. "That would truly make me happy. That would be the best Christmas gift that I could ever receive." Your last line says it all. That would be the gift you give yourself.

    I love candy corn too and planning to have a measured amount is good planning instead of having the whole bag and hoping for the best.

  2. I think that the idea of providing non-candy treats on Halloween is an excellent one. I've seen pencils, crayons and little packs of play-doh in the past, but I recently read the suggestion of going to a party store or a toy store that sells cheap small bulk toys /party favors and stocking up, which is a great idea (and totally what I'd do if I weren't going to be on the other side of the door). Personally, as a parent, I love that idea. Even if it's a silly little toy that my kids will only play with for five minutes, it's still better than what they'd get from a piece of candy.

  3. Normally I'm not big on sweets. But for some reason, I walked into Walmart and when I was surrounded by all of those bulk bags of snack-size candy bars...I freaked out. I came THIS close to snatching one up and eating them all before I could get back home. Totally weird for me. Instead, I bought a 3 Musketters at the register to calm the chocolate beast within...whew! That was a close one. :)

    About Thanksgiving and Christmas. I plan on giving myself an extra 500 calories for each of those days, and eating light all thru the day before the big meal, so that I can have pretty much anything I want. Also, I will employ the 2-bite rule that I learned about when I used to go to Weight Watchers. The best 2 bites of anything you eat are the first and the last, so everything in between is a waste of calories. If there's something available that is just SO calorie-laden that I know I can't have much of it, I will have 2 bites so at least I get to try some.

    I'm still counting calories....and 2,000 is WAY better than the 4,000 I would probably eat otherwise. That's my plan to keep the stress away as the holidays approach. :)

  4. Mmmm... candy corn (drool). Lol! Sarah, I will definitely consider small toys; I love that idea. Tammy, great job on just having a single treat to avoid an entire bag of candy! Also, I like the 2-bite concept and will do my best to implement something along those lines during the holidays.

  5. The holidays are impossible for me too, but you know what? I just try to cut myself some slack. I let it be one day and then quickly try to get back on program. For me, the yummy goodness of Thanksgiving and Christmas only come around once per year and I'm not missing my Mom's sweet potato pie for anything in the world. But that's just me! :)

  6. Like S. said, non-candy treats for Halloween are a great alternative! I would love it if my kids got little toy-ish things instead of candy...
    I've been thinking about the holidays as well. It is very hard to go through them without gaining. I like your plans so far!
    I plan on making some dishes to bring with me to our various get togethers. Dishes that I know are low-cal & nutritious. I will eat primarily from what I've brought.
    I will also decide in advance which holiday food items I really, really want to have. For example, I'm a big fan of Artichoke Pie, which has a TON of cheese in it. So, at a gathering where it's being served, I will allow myself a nice serving of it, but then I will hold back on the other fattening foods that I'm not as fond of.
    We can do this!! How awesome would it be to end the holidays lighter than when we started them?

  7. In our neighbourhood, quite a few people give out pop/diet pop/juice boxes to wash down all that candy. My kids LOVE it!

    Buttery, cheesy food...sounds like a Canadian Thanksgiving to me! We can do it 266...me and you, taking on Thanksgiving with no weight gain!

    You got me thinking...thanks

  8. For Halloween, I'm not sure how many trick or treaters you have, but what about those mini Play Dohs or stickers or something like that? Trust me, the kids love them!!

  9. I agree! I love that my plan includes knowing that eating smart during the holidays does not mean depriving myself. I think that will be a key to my long term success!

  10. I must admit to feelings of anxiety about the festive period as well. (thankfully we don't have thanksgiving or do halloween much over here)

    But Christmas seems to start at the beginning of December and continue well into January, with gatherings, meals, parties, many of which I shall have to cater for (eek!).

    My plan is to focus on the people, not the food, continue to exercise as much as possible and try to not get too pannicky about it all.

    Your plan sounds totally sensible, I am sure you will get through it.