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It's coming up on half time through the holidays and I managed to actually lose 2 more pounds. Not all that easy, but I'm surprised to find it's not so hard either. Four months into changing my lifestyle, it seems my strategy of "no forbidden foods" is working better than any canned diet or fad diet I can think of.

One of the reasons I'm over weight is because I like food, so Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem doesn't make the taste grade with me. Weight Watchers is ...well I went to the web site and wasn't impressed.  

Nope, I eat what I want  then log it.

Yeah, that is a hazardous diet plan from Thanksgiving through New Year's with an encore at the Superbowl.

So far, so good.

Thanksgiving is over, but the holiday parties have started. My birthday just passed and it seems as if this change is sticking and it got me to thinking about what everyone else who checks out the WHEE diaries is doing to maintain.

It's not a Diet Anymore

Last summer, when I was deciding how to proceed with serious weight loss, I zeroed in what made my previous attempts at weight loss fail. It was always too many new food rules, forbidden foods or difficult to prepare foods that made me give up. Fake food with artificial sugar, fat and questionable substances that simply don't taste good chased me off more than one diet wagon. Diets that made it impossible to eat out or go to parties were a problem. Diets that were too much trouble to follow, well, I just followed a different path.

Food Fears and the Holidays

Staying realistic during the holidays is tough, I don't want to gain any weight during this 6 weeks and possibly continue the down trend. Studies show a lot of people gain weight during the winter months. It's not as much as people think, it's only about 1 pound, but the studies also show that that pound is never lost and after 20-30 years; that's an extra 20-30 pounds. Most winter weight gains happen between Thanksgiving and New Year's. People have food they don't normally have around the house. Parties and get togethers have far more culinary delectable temptations. After the party are the left overs that are a "shame" to waste, so they go to our waists.

What is surprising is that after 4 months of change, at Thanksgiving dinner, I fully planned to pig out. I couldn't. We had all the stuff dieters avoid, but four months of smaller portion size led to smaller portion sizes at Thanksgiving. I felt stuffed. I had planned for 3,000 calories on that day, but only ate about 1,900. huh? When did 1,900 calories become a "pig out"?

Of course, the running around, setting up the table, finding and cleaning the holiday china and last minute decorating is more activity than I usually do for normal dinners. The last minute dashes to the store for the forgotten items are also things I don't normally do. Slicing and dicing are normal, but using a wisk because someone else is using the mixer is unusual. Setting out the Christmas lights, house repairs and paring down the honey-do list for my in-laws, again, is a calorie burner that we don't usually do. What surprised me was that I needed to get out and walk or ride a bike after meals. It was almost automatic; eat more, do more to compensate. I eat more at parties, but the day's total hits a high of 1,500 calories. On days between events, I'm eating 1,200-1,300. Who knew? The best way to not gain during the holidays is to start a diet in August and September.

Then, I started to look around the net and saw all sorts of ideas that went from surreal (really surreal) to ridiculous to wise.

Here's some of the "advice" that's out there:

  1. Stealth nutrition - add chopped multi-color bell peppers or chopped spinach to look festive in a lot of dishes. They add nutrients and fiber but are relatively few in calories. Yeah, that'll work until the picky eater in the house realizes someone put spinach in the meatloaf.
  1. Sleep - get enough sleep to look better. Nice idea, but hard to find the time to do it.
  1. Go vegetarian several meals per week using quinoa, beans and rice for the proteins. ...and the first time I did this, I got a "Where's the beef?" response and lets just say we had to move slowly on this one.
  1. Chew gum - You won't eat if you have gum in your mouth. Like you won't spit the gum out to eat cheesecake.
  1. Cereal for snacks - this one isn't a silly as you would think. Try a small bowl of Reese's Puffs instead of Reese's Cups. It's not bad.
  1. Brush your teeth or use mouth wash. This will work - OJ after brushing your teeth - ugh; however, if you think you might scrub the enamel off your teeth - do the mouthwash.
  1. Don't drink alcohol Monday through Thursday and don't make up for lost time on the weekends. How about just limit yourself to 1? maybe 2?
  1. Skip the gravvies, sauces and fried foods and skip the holidays while you're at it.
  1. Share treats with a friend - reduces your portion size and calories. And, don't fall for the one that says "cookie pieces have no calories because, when they are broken, the calories fall out of them". That said, a half a Blizzard from DQ while Christmas shopping is a lot less calories than a whole Blizzard.
  1. Only eat foods you like. If you don't love it, skip it. (This is surprisingly helpful. I found out no one in our family really likes the green bean casserole, so it's not gone from the menu.)  Then again, the reason I'm trying to lose weight is because I love food too much.
  1. Talk more, so you eat less - this is the best way to make yourself look like an idiot (IMHO), so here's some tips to avoid idiocy.
  1. Avoid food pushers - you know the person who says whatever it takes to get you to eat something you don't want. Well, that could mean you don't go to any holiday parties, so good luck with this one.
  1. Don't deprive yourself, so you don't have diet rebellion. or, maybe this should be don't think of dieting as depriving yourself, reframe dieting to something more palatable to your psyche. Oy! Whatever! Fake it 'til you make it. Just eat less than you burn to continue to lose weight.

Here's where I need help:

Beverages! Water isn't festive. It might be healthy, but it doesn't do it even if I put a slice of lemon in it. Diet drinks have artificial sweeteners that I'm trying to avoid. Fruit juice is healthy, but has lots of calories. Alcohol is ok, but in moderation and I don't like the after effects of too much alcohol. Tomato juice isn't that great and the veggie/fruit fusions get back to higher calories. For now, I'm just trying to drink more water, but it's not very satisfying.

So, how are you doing with the holidays?

Originally posted to JDWolverton on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:14 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar for a brWHEEzy Holiday season (7+ / 0-)

    Trying to stay active and continue to walk and row.

    Now that the rainy season is over in Florida walking is much easier to do. It's 40 degrees outside and 59 inside today. brrr!

    Although, I don't have the cooler weather gear anyone North of Florida has, I'm still walking wearing lots of layers. I'm up to walking just over 3 miles a day and do it in about 50 minutes, but in this cold weather, I'm getting 'er done in less than 45 minutes. (Rowing for real in this water is too cold for me, back to the machine.)

    If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

    by JDWolverton on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:14:24 AM PST

    •  Maybe you're not drinking the right water? (4+ / 0-)

      I only drink reverse osmosis. 35 cents a gallon at the health food store. It tastes like butter!

      I also drink a lot of herbal teas. They can be very festive.

      There are some sparkling waters at the health food store that have a kick too and you can add a dash of juice to them.

      Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

      by ZenTrainer on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:24:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Does it really taste like butter ? (4+ / 0-)

        L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.

        by indycam on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:31:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I like filtered water and have reverse osmosis (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jennifree2bme, Fabian, ZenTrainer

        in my home. It takes just about everything out of the water. Actually, Florida tap water is some of the safest in the nation, but I don't like the taste of it much; hence the mega filter.

        I forgot about tea, which is funny because I drink a lot of it. Orange, peach, ginger, I like the seasonal Candy Cane and Gingerbread teas from Celestial Seasonings, but Tazo Ginger is my favorite. I end up adding a tsp. of sugar to each cup. That's 11 calories instead of 120 I'd get with a can of ginger ale. A step in the right direction.

        If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

        by JDWolverton on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:46:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  LIQUID STEVIA DROPS! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Sugar-no-more for tea, and that was a big deal for us when teh Hubb'n developed Type 2 a couple years ago.  We tried all the chemical fake sugars, then I read up some and went hunting in our town's numerous DFH groceries (Eugene OR!)  

          A tsp of granulated cane is about the equivalent of 5-6 drops of stevia (I don't know the actual concentration, but different places seem to have had different sources and strengths, it took us a couple to find one we liked).  Except for about zero calories AND zero grams carbs in the stevia, eh?

          Oh, and it's possible that ALL municipal tap water needs to be filtered to get the chlorine out of it.  Chlorine in any form is a carcinogen, eh?

          Umm, OK, I can ALMOST read the fine print!  Our stuff comes in a 1 fl. oz. bottle, (30ml).  Contents are "Stevia leaf extract (Stevia rebaudiana) 300 mg/ml".  Other ingredients:  vegetable glycerine, deionized water.  So that's the strength/concentration... 300 milligrams per milliliter.  My metric is non-existent.  Technically it's an "Herbal Supplement".  We're not interested in the new manufactured stevia-fakes.  

          "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

          by chimene on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:08:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Yes on 3 (4+ / 0-)

    no so much on 7 .

    Buy /Eat food for nutrition not the tongue .

    L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.

    by indycam on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:30:18 AM PST

  •  I've also transitioned very slowly over (5+ / 0-)

    the past 40 years. From a vegetarian to a vegan then to a somewhat restricted diet due to diverticulitis.

    So I came to eat pretty much what Michael Pollan suggests, fruit and vegetables, nothing with more than 5 ingredients or weird stuff that reminds you of chemistry class, and eat less.

    Now I am eating a cancer diet. Much like a diabetic would eat but only seasonal foods and eating less.

    Studies show that women who are overweight are more likely to get cancer and to have it come back.

    So when I am (literally) crying in the grocery store because it's all just so difficult, I remind myself I am doing this to save my life.

    I'm also under strict instructions from my doc to "blow it out once in a while" because really what is the point to life if you can't eat chocolate?

    And when I do eat that junk it's going to be really good junk. I have some chocolate in the cupboard that a friend brought me from Europe!

    Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

    by ZenTrainer on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:31:55 AM PST

  •  I was down 70 plus pounds (4+ / 0-)

    and now I am down only 50. Oops....

    I need to get my act back in gear. It has been a tough couple of months for me, well since august.

    I need to turn this train around.

    •  That is what I'm most afraid of, regaining the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jennifree2bme, Fabian, debbieleft

      weight. I wish you the best of luck.

      I find the WHEE encouragement helpful and hope you do too.

      It's not always a lack of motivation, my very fit daughter broke her leg last fall and she gained 25 pounds in the 6 weeks when she couldn't work out. She didn't realize she had to pull back on what she was eating. She's back on track and has lost about 15 pounds since she got the all clear to walk on it again.

      If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

      by JDWolverton on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:54:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, stay on the meds and keep moving. (5+ / 0-)

    That's my plan.

    Plus I'm starting to break in a corset, which is also a diet plan; you can't eat a ton in a corset.

  •  An old non-diet diet (6+ / 0-)

    holds that you should eat what you want, when you want, as much as you want....

    but ONLY what you really want, ONLY when you really want it, and ONLY as much as you really want.

    This is pretty tough, since it requires a lot of self-awareness.

    If it's
    Not your body
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    AND it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:50:56 AM PST

    •  I think that's what I'm doing. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jennifree2bme, Fabian

      I stunned my family a few weeks ago when I ordered a cheeseburger and french fries with a side salad. Unfortunately, I only wanted about 1/4 of the burger and fries but all of the salad.

      If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

      by JDWolverton on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:58:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I make home fries... (4+ / 0-)

    It's my favorite kind of recipe, very very simple with only three main ingredients.

    Russet Potatoes (about 2-3 cups diced)
    Green onions
    (scallions, whatever you call them)
    (good old fashioned bacon...I get mine from Bluescreek.  Not really a fan of the store stuff.)

    Take three slices thick cut bacon (if you can find it) and cut across the slice into about 1/2 inch wide bits.  The bacon is for flavor and we LIKE flavor!

    Fry the bacon until it is cooked but not crispy.  
    Remove bacon, drain.  

    Slice the green onions as you like, thin or thick.

    Dice the potatoes small, no bigger than 3/4" dice.

    Take large fry pan WITH lid, and heat.
    Add a little oil, toss in bacon and warm until it begins to cook.
    Turn up the heat to medium, add onions and potatoes.

    When the bottoms brown a little, give the whole thing a thorough yet gentle stir, cover again.

    Turn heat down as needed.  
    The potatoes should be done in about ten minutes.

    Servings?  Depends on who is eating: 2-3 servings.

    You can make this with sweet potatoes.
    Sweet potatoes are more nutritious and cheaper.
    The problem with sweet potatoes is that they cook like redskins - moist and a bit mushy.  If you use sweet potatoes, keep a sharp eye on them and get them off the heat as soon as they are done so they stay firm.

    I'm trying to eat more nutritious foods and sweet potatoes are good for me, but I don't like the more typical ways of cooking them.

    Show me the POLICY!

    by Fabian on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 10:11:06 AM PST

  •  asdf (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, ZenTrainer, mommyof3, JDWolverton

    10. Foods that are frozen have no calories because calories are units of heat. Examples are ice cream, frozen pies, and Popsicles.

    Awesome, I can still hang out with Ben & Jerry. It's science!

    Seriously, the best way I've ever found to lose weight is to commit to purchasing fresh vegetables and fruit. I am highly motivated to protect the family budget and refuse to waste anything, and the fresh stuff takes the place of the easy cheese and crackers, chips and dip that would otherwise make easy snacks.

    Purchasing $20-$40 at the farmer's market each week is a symbiotic benefit between small farmers and myself. That amount of money at the market will purchase the base of most of the week's menus, and the grocery budget goes down by far more than that when there's a plan based on market veg.

    But it's all to easy to find an excuse to skip the market one week, then again, then the habit is gone.

    A CSA is an obligation which forces me to do better. Once it's paid for, it just comes automatically every week. It's kind of a challenge to figure out how to prepare your box of veg, but an established CSA will offer recipes for the weirder stuff.

    We're past CSA season here in Michigan, and I've joined up with Door to Door Organics. I don't think it's too expensive. Today's box weighed in at $2 per pound. A good thing is worth it if it's used, not wasted.

    Weathering Michigan's recessions since the '70s.

    by jennifree2bme on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 11:08:45 AM PST

  •  I think the "no forbidden foods" thing is... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    REALLY important!  That and walking consistently helped me lose 32 pounds... need to get back on that walking this week!

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 12:43:44 PM PST

    •  I can't imagine no forbidden foods (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and some foods that are supposed to be "good" for me, I simply can't stand the taste of.

      Lean protein:  gaaaaaaaack!  Egg whites?  Chicken breast?  

      Show me the POLICY!

      by Fabian on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 04:10:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I mean that NO foods are forbidden... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabian, JDWolverton

        :-)  I'm a fan of bacon...just can't eat a pound of it at a time! :-)

        Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

        by mommyof3 on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 04:34:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I pulled a fast one tonight (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I had an eggplant that needed to be turned into something and a request for anything Italian. So, I chopped up the eggplant into really tiny cubes and browned it with the meat and onions and made it into the tomato sauce.

        I generally use the entire egg when I use eggs. I do extra egg whites when I'm making an chiffon cake or anything that needs extra fluff.

        Chicken breasts are all I use these days to the point where the kid doesn't like anything with a bone in it. The chicken breasts usually get cubed up into another dish and served with tortellini, other pastas with veggies. The key to chicken breasts is the sauce and to learn to make sauces that aren't too bad in terms of fat, salt and calories - which I've learned to do.

        Try this one:

        Slice 3 chicken breasts into stips, then, brown in 1-2 tsp olive oil with a sliced up onion (1/4" rings)
        1 tsp crushed garlic
        1 tsp curry (I live in Florida, so I use Jamaican curry)
        1/2 tsp cumin
        1/2 tsp coriander
        sea salt to taste with 1 cup water or 1 cup of chicken broth
        black pepper to taste

        Simmer the chicken while starting rice water to boil and cutting up:
        2 green bell peppers
        1 red bell pepper

        Put the rice in the boiling water to cook.

        Put the peppers in with the chicken about 20 minutes before you plan to serve the chicken and peppers over the rice.

        If the chicken sauce needs thickening then just before serving I mix 1 tsp of cornstarch into 1 Tbsp of water and then add it to the chicken mixture when it's at a full boil. I turn off the heat and stir constantly until it thickens - about a minute.

        (I've also used broccoli instead of the peppers, but broccoli only needs about 8 minutes to cook. I've also tossed matchstick carrots on top as a garnish to the broccoli.)

        This recipe serves 4 easily.

        If you don't like curry, substitute savory or Italian seasoning (better with broccoli). The rest of the recipe is the same. I've also added Tumeric to the curry which might add 2 calories perserving.

        Anyway, chicken breasts aren't bad, once you get to know them.

        If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

        by JDWolverton on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 05:40:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  chicken breast is just fine, IF (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        you cook it with the skin on, and THEN throw the skin away, don't eat IT.  Better quality chicken to begin with helps too.  Find a local butcher who has a local, semi-local, organic OR semi-organic source.

        "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

        by chimene on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:19:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I should amend my chicken breast (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        complaint to:
        Too dry, too tasteless.

        The usual solution is to sauce it up in order to give it moisture and flavor.

        My favorite (totally non lean) cuts are:
        Hanging tender (beef)
        Country style ribs (pork)

        Both are rich cuts of meat with two wonderful benefits:

        1. Easy easy EASY to cook.  Slow and low until they are falling apart tender.
        1. Taste good just the way they are or with chili garlic sauce or ketchup or barbque sauce or applesauce.

        Most of my protein comes from eggs and milk, meat is closer to dessert really.  We don't have it too often and we really appreciate it when we do.

        I blame factory farming.  It's made meat cheaper but so much blander.  When I'm cleaning the pork (country style ribs are a high waste cut - but cheap) and it hasn't been seasoned with anything but salt, I'm happily popping a bite or two in my mouth.  (I tried the store stuff, bleah.  Blandsville.  Talked to Bluescreek - they insist "happy animals" taste better.  The totally subjective evidence supports this claim.)

        I expect food to taste good by itself.  In that respect, I'm a lousy cook because I stink at making things taste good that don't start that way.  OTOH - once I find things that taste good by themselves without messing, fussing and prepping - I'm sold for life.  I was cutting up some hanging tender that was stone cold out of the frig and eating it.  Still tasty.

        Show me the POLICY!

        by Fabian on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 03:23:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I didn't see this Wednesday (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    did a search because I was looking to ask if we should set up a WHEE group in DK4

    I registered for a half-marathon in February, so I have to keep up the exercise through the holidays

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