Planning ahead this holiday season is going to be the key to my success. Thinking about potential pitfalls, I’ve developed a framework to insure minimal setbacks this holiday season.
I’ve seen a lot of holiday survival posts for people who get stressed out over the holidays about spending time with annoying family members. I’m the opposite: I love my family, I love spending a few days together over a holiday weekend… That said, we have too much fun: about drinking and eating in particular. I guess I get so relaxed and feel like I’m “at home” I tend to let it all hang out (literally and figuratively). Not this year!!
Thanksgiving food is not my jam. Luckily, I’ve never been a huge fan of the heavy rich + sweet flavors accompanied by days and days of thanksgiving leftovers. This usually surprises my friends who know that I love to cook (so how could I not love a holiday centered around cooking?), I love Autumn (so why don’t I get all excited about candied yams and the flavors of pecan stuffing with dried cranberries?). Especially now that I’m inspired by and focused on a fit lifestyle…. I need to come up with an approach and an emergency kit so this one holiday does sidetrack my progress.
I decided to think about my approach to the holiday in advance and not have unpreparedness be my downfall. We are traveling a few hours away by car with both kids in tow. I always make sure that the kids are fully stocked with food and activities. Since we don’t usually do rest stops except for bathroom breaks so there’s not too much temptation for the ride, except this year I will make sure to pack water and some healthy snacks for myself so I am not all HANGRY at the rest stops and making poor food decisions. Let’s say we bring a couple of apples and one serving of nuts; if I bring more than one serving of nuts it will get eaten instead of the apple. (Also an extra serving and an apple for the return trip packed in my luggage. )
Gum — first let me say I actually not a gum fan and actually am so turned off when other people chew gum (sorry!) that said we’re in survival mode here so several packs of gum are coming along. One is for the car ride (in case I start wanting to dig into the kids goldfish stash) and for some other critical points that I will talk about momentarily.
The big dinner – so as I mentioned above the actual thanksgiving meal isn’t my favorite, (and one candid discussion revealed my sister and her family felt the same way!) so we eat out on thanksgiving. The good thing is that it allows me to make a smart decision about my meal without any impact from those around me. The bad news is that eating out can be challenging since there’s lots of temptation around! Let’s start by setting some ground rules: 1. I am going to be present and accountable while deciding what to order. I am not tricking myself into the “well it’s only one meal” or the, “I’ve been so good for the past few months I deserve to be able to eat whatever I want.” Oh, or the good ‘ole pretending what I’ve ordered is healthy but knowing there is an unhealthy aspect that I’m ignoring (ie steak and veggies are great- mashed potatoes are not). I will also not ignore my power to make substitutions (extra veggies for the mashed potatoes, leave off the sauce). I know what works and how to tweak recipes to make them healthy. I need to remember and use my power to do this!! It’s all in my hands. 2. No bread basket. If there is bread and it’s particularly tempting I will order some sort of veggie focused appetizer to eat while others chow down on the bread. 3. Water!! Lots of it. Water before any booze. Water before each course. 4. oh and on that note: Booze – more on this later but I think I’m going to order seltzer and drink that while I eat. I will have wine but drink (or should I say sip) between courses. I would like to commit to one glass of wine during the entire time at the restaurant. Not sure how do-able that is so I’m not making any promises. 5. Obviously I should and will skip dessert. If I want a bite, sure. But no reason to go all in and have an entire dessert. Sure, an element of success of a healthy eating plan is to not deprive yourself. But it also involves trade offs and choices. I know I’m going to have wine on this holiday weekend. If I choose to do that it means I need to keep everything else in check as much as I can. Which leads me to…
Booze – my family is a group of big drinkers. We love to party and holidays usually get pretty rowdy. It’s fun and I don’t want to stop that tradition (that may be the only actual tradition we have!) That said, I can make some ground rules to make sure I don’t lose all control and go backwards in my progress. Here’s a framework that I’ll use to accomplish this: 1. No booze before 5pm. This may seem obvious to some, but doesn’t brunch mean Bloody Mary’s or Mimosas? Not this time. Early start to drinking means more hours to forget these rules, ignore my goals and make poor decisions. 2. There will always be one large glass of water or seltzer between each glass of wine. 3. The only food eaten (aside from dinner) is healthy snacks like veggies. No crackers no cheese and no nuts. Those are too easy to overdo especially when the inhibitions are down. And to prove to myself I’m serious, if I break this rule I am not allowed any more booze that night. It’s a slippery slope here. The alcohol has enough calories as it is and there is no reason to complicate things. 4. While we’re on the calorie topic, no juices or sweet drinks when I do have booze. Stick to wine as opposed to a Mimosa. 5. Gum. Not with the booze but if I’m starting to want to snack or have had a bit too much to drink I’ll pop a piece in and take a break for a little bit.
Stress management — (Don’t sweat the small stuff) — Anytime I’m In close quarters with my kids (and them with each other) it gets stressful. My go-to for stressful situations is eating and drinking. So, first I’m going to try to go with the flow and just let things fall where they may. Also, I will workout. Hoping to hit up yoga with my sister at her usual studio and will also bring a couple of my favorite fitness DVDs in case I need to blow off steam. (Body combat anyone?) I will bring my herbal stress relief tea to sip on the afternoon when I feel like downing a bottle of wine. Another non- food stress relief tool I use at home is organizing. I breathe and just empty our a drawer it a cabinet and clean and straighten it out. While I can do that at my sisters, I can also bring some things to do with my hands that might achieve the same feeling of relaxing. Some examples: nail polish (or jamberry my case) coloring book and crayons, and my stress relief ball.
Of course I’ll be bringing some of my go-to healthy foods (aside from just the car ride). My sister has already stocked up with fresh fruits and veggies, but I’ll bring my shakeology, some graze snacks, and my water bottle.
Let’s do this! Thanksgiving: I’m not your bitch!!!!