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OK, the holidays are over and it's time for a little postgame analysis.  Did you move the ball toward the endzone over the holidays?  Or, like me, did you give into the temptations that moved into your path and give up some yardage that you're going to have to make up through clever play over the next few weeks?

WHEE (Weight, Health, Eating and Exercise) is a community support diary for Kossacks who are currently or planning to start losing, gaining or maintaining their weight through diet and exercise or fitness. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are working on your weight or fitness, please -- join us! You can also click the WHEE tag to view all diary posts.

I entered this holiday season weighing 160.  This is very close to my original goal weight (153) and would actually be an acceptable long-term weight for me, so my goal for the holidays (defined as that period beginning with my birthday -- Nov. 24 -- and ending on Jan. 2) is to simply maintain that weight within a pound or two.

This week I went home to visit my family.  While none of us need two airplane seats (yet) we're an enthusiastic bunch of eaters who like to cook and to seek out great food.  There are always more restaurants that we want to try than that we actually have time to visit, plus Appleton is home to plenty of delicious old favorites that have to be visited as part of the family ritual.  Throw in the home cookin' and that mom openly acknowledges that for her food=love and love=food, and even without the temptation of a major holiday, a visit to the family is fraught with danger for the determined dieter.

Q1 score

Me:  0
Team Delicious Calories:  2

Yep, inside of a week, I gained 2 pounds.  Sure, there could be some transient water retention and stuff going on here, but still, it bears watching.  So I really have to step up my game in the next phase of the holiday season, Stressful End of Semester Rush (finals-graduation-getting 3 papers out-friends' parties and neighborhood shenanigans) if I'm going to regain ground and finish strong.

And now, the play-by-play

This year the damage really started on Nov. 19 when I finished up an NSF grant proposal at 8:30 p.m. and rewarded myself with a delicious Five Guys cheeseburger and fries.  It continued on Nov. 22 when my grad students took me out for dinner at Lulu for my birthday and we drank plenty of wine.  On Nov. 23 I pretty much had to skip Zumba if I was going to get packed and make my early flight the following day, but I did get in a walk and a ballroom dance lesson so I at least hit 2400 calories burned.

On Tuesday we were pretty restrained.  I got in an epic walk -- more than two full laps on concourse A, carryons in hand -- during my stop in Detroit, and ate healthy, seafood-laden Korean soup for lunch and just a little dainty dish of mom-made dumplings for dinner.

Wednesday I went for a long walk (about 5 miles) in my hometown, but Team Delicious Calories definitely upped its game to match me.  Mom made apple pie slices, which are difficult to resist to say the least.  We had a real birthday dinner at Koreana, Appleton's should-be-legendary Korean restaurant, with purple rice hwe dup bop (healthy) and a couple of glasses of wine (maybe not so much).

Thursday was a total loss exercise-wise -- sitting around with the relatives at my uncle's house, chowing down on smoked fish, turkey, all the usual trimmings, and five kinds of pie.  And wine.  My mom made a token effort to healthify things by bringing a couple of green vegetable dishes, but we all left the scene with The Itis, and dinner at home consisted of medicinal doses of high-fiber cereal and apples.

Friday we started off with the best of intentions. Breakfast was light.  My sister and I went for a long walk.  But then the fates landed us at Dong Po for lunch at almost 2 pm, and the Hunan Crispy Duck is hard to resist, and we fell off the wagon.  In fact, by Friday evening, we were laying in the road groaning from The Itis, and the wagon was nowhere in sight, because there was a bowl of soft molasses cookie batter in the fridge and I had to bake those suckers up, and then so that dinner wouldn't be just cookies, I made a batch of curried turkey soup, which at any other time is a delicious and reasonably healthy winter meal.

We never even got around to the much-touted boar shanks at the Old Bavarian, and I was leaving just a little too early on Saturday to be able to go to Antojitos with the familia for gorditas.  No doubt this was for the best.

Yesterday I really started thinking about dialing it back.  I had a bunch of cookies before I left, but the rest of my calorie intake for the day was in the form of whole grain cereal, sushi, and miso soup, and I kept it under target.  I also used Concourse A as my treadmill for a 4-mile walk in Detroit.  Now the wagon has pulled into sight with a low-calorie day of restraint, a 3 mile walk, and a couple of hours in the yard raking and bagging leaves.  And next week (and for the rest of the month) I've got a zumba attendance contest to win.

Apple Pie Slices

This recipe comes from the Prairie du Sac cookbook, one of those little municipal fundraiser cookbooks from the place my mom grew up.  Mom says it's much better with real lard and I'd tend to agree.

11 x17 cookie sheet

2 1/2 c flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tsp salt, 1 cup lard -- cut in lard as for pie crust, put 1 egg yolk in enough milk to make 2/3 cup and add liquid.  Form into ball, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate a couple of hours Roll out half the dough.  (Tip: use a flexible cutting board the size of pan to roll it out and flip it over onto the pan.)

Crush 4 handfuls of corn flakes, or other corn cereal and sprinkle over crust.

Slice 6-9 apples (thin).  I use a combination of Golden delicious, Granny Smith, MacIntosh.  and spread apples evenly over crust.  Mix 1 1/4 cup sugar with 1 Tsp cinnamon and sprinkle over apples.

Roll out other half of dough and cover apples.  Crimp edges.  Beat the egg white until stiff and spread over crust.

Bake 45 minutes on lowest rack of the oven at 400 degres.

Mix 1 cup powdered sugar with hot water for glaze over top.  Drizzle off of a spoon in a diagonal pattern while still hot.

Soft Molasses Cookies

These cookies originated with the mother of one of my mom's college friends (known to us as children only as "Ma Watke").  It is not the holidays without at least one batch of these.  They can be made gluten-free without losing too much of their charm; I usually use a mixture of 3 cups white sorghum flour, 1 cup arrowroot, and 1 cup soy flour.

Cream together:

1 c organic butter
1 c packed brown sugar


1 egg
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together and add:

1 c buttermilk
1 c dark molasses

Sift together and stir in:

2 c flour
3 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves

Add and stir in:

3 more cups of flour

Chill overnight or for at least several hours. Roll out to about 1/4″ thickness and bake at 350.

Curried Turkey Soup

This soup is modeled after a soup served at The Great Impasta in Champaign-Urbana during holiday seasons, when I lived there in the 90s.  I noodled around trying out recipes until I arrived at this.  It's been so long that I can't remember how close a match it is for the original inspiration but it's delicious.  And it won't give you The Itis.

4 cups cooked turkey (chopped)
1-2 cups turkey pan juices (fat skimmed)
2-3 cups turkey broth
1 tbsp turkey fat (saved from pan)
1 tbsp white flour...
2 large onions
2 shallots
2 tbsp (more or less) butter
1/2 cup golden raisins
zest of one lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp (more or less) capers
2 tbsp (more or less) Bolst's curry powder
salt to taste
cooked rice

  1. Make a blonde roux with the turkey fat and white flour. Let stand.
  1. Slice onion and shallot and caramelize in butter along with golden raisins and lemon zest. Add turkey pan juices and simmer until soft.
  1. Start cooking rice.
  1. Puree vegetable/raisin mixture in a blender. Return to pan or soup pot. Add cooked turkey, turkey stock (save 1 cup for adjusting thickness), capers, lemon juice, curry powder, and salt. Let simmer for 1/2 hour or so.
  1. Adjust flavors with additional salt, curry powder, and lemon juice, to your taste.
  1. Return roux to heat just until it loosens and bubbles. Add reserved stock slowly and stir. Use this mixture to thicken the soup, adding a bit at a time until your desired thickness is reached.
  1. Put a small amount of rice in the bottom of the bowl and add soup.

Originally posted to kismet on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 01:40 PM PST.


Did you stick to your holiday strategy?

13%4 votes
3%1 votes
20%6 votes
46%14 votes
16%5 votes

| 30 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  Upcoming, let me know if you want in (7+ / 0-)

         Scheduled WHEE diaries:

         November 30
             Mon AM - NC Dem
             Mon PM - ???

         December 1
             Tues AM - ???
             Tues PM -- Clio2 (Kessler, Ch. 28)

         December 2
             Weds AM - ???
             Weds PM - Edward Spurlock

         December 3
             Thurs AM - ???
             Thurs PM - ???

         December 4
             Fri AM - ???
             Fri PM - ???

         December 5
             Sat AM - ???
             Sat PM - Edward Spurlock (Kessler, Ch. 29)

         December 6
             Sun AM - ???
             Sun PM - Holiday Fit Club - kismet

  •  Love Your Poll (7+ / 0-)

    I kept it under control last night, but I got a fridge full of stuff that is calling me, I mean calling me to eat, eat , eat some more.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by webranding on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 02:08:40 PM PST

  •  Never heard of "The Itis" before but sure know (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    1864 House, debbieleft, Brimi

    what is meant by it! And realized with mild suprise and pleasure that this week passed without any episodes of "The Itis." I took a vacation from recording what I eat or what exercise I did but did keep weighing in each morning and recording it. My guess is that I haven't gained weight beyond the usual weekend burbles. Two batches of my sugar-free pumpkin custard made it easier to fight temptations. Our Thanksgiving day we had a late breakfast with my son and his girl friend, a very light snack mid-afternoon and then an delightful potluck with the local Philippine-American association (she is Philippino). Though the food was delicious I was successful in my "scan first, select carefully and enjoy that one plate" approach.

    Gathering up my fortitude for re-entry tomorrow - it will be hectic for a while. Definitely brightened by getting good news on the dvt, though!

  •  Good and bad (5+ / 0-)

    We were home on actual Thanksgiving day... Mr House and I had middle eastern cheese breads with hummus and a fried egg for a late breakfast, which stuck with us all day until we had seared scallop salads with oranges and avocados for dinner, topped off with some pie. We split slices of apple and pumpkin.

    Then we traveled to see the kids. Got into Chicago Friday afternoon and had to do some grocery shopping for the big dinner on Saturday. Got takeout (lamb shawarma, meat pies, falafel) from Sultan's Market.

    Saturday we feasted on sausage stuffing, pork tenderloin with cranberry balsamic sauce, mashed potatoes, bruleed sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts with pancetta, and two kinds of cranberry sauce. Then pumpkin, apple, and Georgia Walnut pie. That evening we went to a concert in Evanston and ended the night sharing a thin crust pizza at about 10:30.

    Today we ate leftovers for breakfast. It's just not Thanksgiving unless I have pumpkin pie for breakfast the next day. So I did. Now we're in the car headed home, having wisely left all the leftovers with the kids. Should be home in time for a couple of miles on the treadmill. Tomorrow back to normal.

    They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. - Andy Warhol

    by 1864 House on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 02:33:42 PM PST

  •  I did not keep it under control (7+ / 0-)

    I have no control with mom's stuffing. Stuffing is really all I ate, but I ate a LOT of it. Yesterday and today I've been decarbing with protein shakes. It's hard, but it's the price that has to be paid.

    I used to wonder why somebody didn't do something, then I realized I am somebody.- unknown

    by Brimi on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 02:54:03 PM PST

  •  My answer to your poll (5+ / 0-)

    would be right between #2 and #3--that is, I indulged and ate all I wanted and had special treats, but did not exercise and did not gain an ounce.

    We have special treats for holidays (even sugary ones, yum) and really, really yummy food but no meat, dairy or added oils (heart-healthy diet). That means no butter in the sweet potato smush, but it's still really good and I eat about a quart of it every time I have some. Also between 2 of us we inhaled a whole pumpkin pie (made with no eggs or dairy). My rice stuffing is delicious--I had a lot left over so I made a lentil-rice loaf which was REALLY good.

    It's calorie dilution--you fill up on tasty foods that are not high in calories/fat and you don't gain weight. Works for us--seven years and counting!

    "We did not come here to fear the future, we came to shape it." --BHO

    by sillia on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 03:11:16 PM PST

  •  I go for the family (4+ / 0-)

    the food is good too, but the best part is not making it myself!

    My brother made us egg nog the old fashioned way.  That was my real dessert.  Breakfast was pancakes, lunch was turkey'n'stuff, supper was pie, dessert was egg nog.

    Proud member of the Cult of Issues and Substance!

    by Fabian on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 03:23:01 PM PST

  •  I am even this week. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wee Mama, Oaktown Girl, Fabian

    No gain / no loss. But I seem stuck at this weight, haven't had a loss in a couple of weeks at least. I need to kick up the exercise.

  •  Thanks for this diary, kismet (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, debbieleft

    I've been wanting a Thanksgiving WHEE wrap up.

    As I posted on an earlier WHEE thread, my T-Day was good news/bad new. The good news was that I didn't overindulge. The bad news is that may have had more to do with the poor quality of food than my will power. The Turkey and candied yams were delicious - everything else, not so much.

    Actually I'm quite jealous of your Thanksgiving experience, kismet. And it sounds to me like you did pretty darn well overall what with all the walking exercise you accomplished. A 2-lb gain in the face of all that good food and all those days? I say bravo!

    Homer: "Marge - I'm going to a hardcore gay club and I won't be back 'til three in the morning". Marge: "Have fun!"

    by Oaktown Girl on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 04:42:20 PM PST

  •  Odd experience... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Edward Spurlock

    and discovery...I didn't care for the holiday meal(s) particularly.

    Yet I gained 1 1/2 pounds.

    If it were not for the family reunion, I would have been happy to skip the whole thing. Perhaps because of healthier eating at home, I found the holiday food (at a family member's) oversalty, oversweet, overstarchy, and just plain uninteresting. Yes, I could have taken the initiative to bring in my own fresh fruit and raw vegetables, but I think this could have been seen as rather insulting.

    Weight gain probably due to several factors: lack of healthy alternatives in the house; lack of opportunity to exercise; a little indulgence in compulsive eating (caramel popcorn, an old enemy); and on top of that, I had what seems like a slight allergic reaction, possibly to additives in prepared stuffing mix or something like that.

    On the good side, it was only three days and not a major setback.

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