Obesity and Holiday Food: Sticking With Goals Through the Holidays

  • Did you survive the Thanksgiving holiday?  Eat lots of turkey and starchy dishes?  I did...and I did.  Let’s talk about how we survived a holiday which is often celebrated with a gluttony of food.  And about how we did it without feeling like complete losers with our diets and health goals.


    One thing which I did for myself this year was to make sure that I had at least one dish which would be fulfilling, satisfying, and healthy.  This year I ordered the turkey dinner from a local grocery deli.  Still needed to put the turkey in the oven for two hours and heat each of the side dishes, but this was certainly the way to go!

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    Growing up, my family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) would meet for thanksgiving dinner at noon.  We would often gather even earlier for a special breakfast my grandmother prepared.  My boyfriend’s family would eat dinner around 4:30-5pm instead.  But I’m not comfortable eating such a traditionally large meal so late in the day.  It just isn’t good for the stomach or hips.


    So we compromised with eating at 2:30pm.  This gave me time to prepare the meal in the mid-morning and get by with eating a light breakfast.  I prefer eating a large meal in the middle of the day which also allowed us to eat well and not need to eat much at all later in the evening.  I must stress that it was important to eat some breakfast so I had the energy to prepare the meal and not be starved by the time we did sit down to eat.


    In addition to the traditional dishes of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and pie, I made a spinach salad with mandarin oranges, cucumber, cranberries, pecans, and homemade olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing.


    I filled up half my plate with salad before sampling the other traditional dishes.  This strategy worked well for me.  I even had some seconds on salad to top off my stomach nicely.  This replaced the seconds of Green Bean Salad or Corn Bread Dressing I would normally have had in previous years.


    When everybody was done eating, we immediately dished up left-overs into containers for distribution among the guests (only four of us).  This helped the clean-up process and prevented folks from coming back to the table to graze as their food digested.


    After dinner, I suggested that we play some cards before enjoying the homemade Apple Pie which my boyfriend’s mother had made.  We had lots of fun playing Hearts.  Then had the very best apple pie on the planet.


    I did get a little bit hungry around 9PM.  What did I eat?  A little more salad.  I was pleased with myself for having made such a simple side dish which filled my stomach with a healthy variety of food.


    Here’s a different update.  Last week I decided to get the tape measure out and record some numbers.  You may recall that I first measured my hips, waist, etc back in January.  The numbers were startling to say the least.


    Here are the numbers now:

      Neck: 14.5 inches (1.5" smaller, 9.4% reduction)
      Wrist: 6.25 inches (.5" smaller, 7.4% reduction)
      Chest: 42 inches (4" smaller, 8.7% reduction)
      Waist: 37 inches (3" smaller, 7.5% reduction) 
      Hips: 48 inches (4" smaller, 7.7% reduction)
      Thigh: 28 inches (4.5" smaller, 13.8% reduction)
      Calf: 18 inches (1.0" smaller, 5.3% reduction)

    It’s amazing that a 16% weight loss can result in such dramatic size changes.  I’ve still got so far to go, but it’s really good to take note of process along the way.  I’m so thankful to be on this journey at this point in my life.  It will help to make the future just that much easier as my body changes and my diseases progress.


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    So please tell me.  How was your Thanksgiving holiday?


    November 14, 2010
    Weight: 230.4 lbs
    Blood Pressure: 124/76
    Pulse: 65


    November 21, 2010
    Weight: 230.2 lbs
    Blood Pressure: 122/80
    Pulse: 67


    November 28, 2010
    Weight: 228.4 lbs
    Blood Pressure: 118/75
    Pulse: 64


    Total weight lost since January = 43.2 lbs


    Lisa Emrich is author of the blog Brass and Ivory: Life with MS and RA and founder of the Carnival of MS Bloggers.

Published On: November 28, 2010