Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday yesterday.

I, personally, had a fabulous Thanksgiving. It was probably one of two in my entire lifetime of eating solid food that I wasn’t completely stressed out about food and/or walked away from the table feeling like a bloated tub of lard.

As we head into the holiday season, it’s important to remember that even though most people just plan on gaining ten pounds over the holidays, because that’s what happens to everyone, you’re not everyone! Or at least you don’t have to be.

Keeping that in mind, let me tell you about my day:

I actually came in 47 calories below my daily calorie budget yesterday, which, believe you me, is another first! And I know that if I can make it through Thanksgiving – the most food focused of all the holidays – while meeting my goals and not feeling the least bit deprived, then I can make it through the rest of the season similarly unscathed.

So what was different this year?

I got up yesterday morning, while the house was still quiet. I made some decisions about what I was going to be taking to MJ’s parents’ for dinner, I made one of the salads that needed to chill (recipe will follow), I had my normal breakfast (a Berry Hemp Shake) and then I did an hour of yoga.

By the time I was done, the household was awake. I put away the yoga mat, made some tea and touched base with Michael J and our new housemate. When Michael J went downstairs to his man cave, I continued to talk to Sarah (the new HM) – for a couple of hours really. It was nice. Around 11:30, I made second breakfast (egg white omelet with veggies) and while Sarah took a shower and got ready to go to her holiday celebration, I did a 30 minute workout tape (K-Bells: Total Body Blast). As soon as I was done, Michael J came up and said, “Want to go for a walk?”

Sure, why not?

By the time we got back, we both needed showers and I still had two dishes to make (Spicy Yams and Rice Pilaf with Almonds and Dates), so as you might imagine, things got a little crazy. One of the reasons I was bringing three dishes was that I had volunteered to make some gluten-free options because Michael J and I are both gluten-free, as is Michael J’s brother, who was driving up that day and was, thus, at the mercy of his family for healthy options (which, as it turned out, there were several)!

Although we were rushed (it was already 2:30 and we were slated to eat at 4:00), Michael J and I both sat down and had lunch. Yes, you heard me. We had lunch at 2:30, when we were going to be eating Thanksgiving dinner at 4:00! Because this year, instead of saving calories for the meal itself, I decided to actively spend them before the meal.

Now, granted, I only had a huge bowl of kale and garlic sauteed in coconut oil and a handful of roasted almonds (which amounted to about 300 or so calories), but it was enough to take the edge off. Especially because kale and almonds are both superfoods, meaning that they are nutrient-rich and extremely satisfying.

It was an interesting feeling to show up for Thanksgiving dinner and not be the slightest bit hungry. Not that that stopped me of course, when it actually came time to eat, but it did slow me down.

As it was, I cheerfully skipped the appetizers and when it was time for dinner (served closer to 5:00 than the slated 4:00), I ended up following Michael Pollen’s advice and “treated meat as a condiment.” I think I may have had three ounces of turkey (which was scrumptious by the way), quinoa salad, a spoonful (or two) of the rice pilaf, a spoonful of yams, some broccoli, and some green beans. It was a beautiful plate. I wish that I had taken a picture of it.

Full of crisp harvest colors and surprisingly free of anything mashed or looking even remotely like gravy or butter, it really was a culinary work of art. And it tasted even better than it looked!

Now, dessert was a little tricky. Mainly because Michael J’s sister-in-law sat an individual sized bowl of chocolate pie filling in front of me topped with homemade whipped cream that had been made especially for those of us following gluten-free diets. And, being a total sucker for homemade chocolate pie, I went for it. And, God, it was good! As were the Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies!

But let me tell you, after being relatively sugar free now for over two months, I could literally feel the sugar leeching into my blood stream. And I have had worse cravings today than I’ve since I went gluten-free. I have a friend who says with increasing regularity that “sugar is the devil.” I’m beginning to believe her!

Overall, it was a very nice holiday. I had a great time exercising and even a better time getting to connect with friends and family. Even though my own parents and sister are far away, I also made sure to talk to them a couple of times throughout the day. And while it is true that I spent a good part of the afternoon cooking, the day really was more people-focused than food-focused, which is nice (and, I realize, a lot easier if you’re going to dinner instead of hosting it). Thanks, Mrs. Y doing all of the heavy lifting!

So based on the wonderful day I had yesterday, I will do my level best to make this season more about health and people and less about stress and food.

I am definitely going to make it less about sugar!

There are other things that I am going to publicly commit to that will – hopefully – make me more accountable to myself over the next six weeks (and beyond). But for now, I will leave it as this: Happy Holidays, everyone!


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