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.
- 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.
- Sleep - get enough sleep to look better. Nice idea, but hard to find the time to do it.
- 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.
- Chew gum - You won't eat if you have gum in your mouth. Like you won't spit the gum out to eat cheesecake.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- Skip the gravvies, sauces and fried foods and skip the holidays while you're at it.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?