Losing weight & being mindful during the holidays

“People think, it’s the holidays! And go nuts for about four months. But if you break it down, the holidays are only four days of the year: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas… and New Year’s. Allow yourself a few parties, but be mindful the rest of the time.”
—Jillian Michaels interview, by Amy Spencer, Redbook, October 2011 (Jillian is the former trainer from The Biggest Loser)

I know what you’re thinking. You’re talking about the holidays? Already? Yep. I swear they come earlier every year. For weeks, temporary Halloween costume stores have been sprouting all over southern California. Costco and other retailers have already been selling Christmas trees and decorations.

In past Octobers, sometimes my husband and I would buy a big bag of chocolate candy for the trick-or-treaters—none of that cheap, hard candy stuff. We would laugh and say, “It’s for the children.” Then we’d bust them open, stick them in the fridge and graze on them for weeks. Our favorite: mini Reese’s peanut butter cups.

I’m happy to say that I won’t miss the candy at all this year. It doesn’t even sound remotely appealing. Boy, is that a life change.

I loved Jillian’s reminder that “the holidays are only four days of the year.” It’s not carte blanche to go nuts.

Yes, it will be hard. Yes, all kinds of goodies will frequently be brought into the office over the next several months. The treats will smell good. They will look good. Others will be partaking and their eyes will be rolling back in ecstasy. It will feel just plain weird to not join in on the cultural tradition of pigging out like everyone else. Not participating in the fun separates you from people, just the tiniest bit. People in my world will be supportive, but I wonder if they will feel just a little bit sorry for me when I’m missing out on the pleasure of it all.

Following Jillian’s advice, I will allow myself a few parties. And my own intentional off-plan eating once a week. I will pace myself for those intentional moments. I will stay in control.

Doth I protest too much? Nope. Just psyching myself up for what’s coming.

What’s your strategy for staying on track during the holiday season?

For more… Check out Jillian Michaels’ 4 Months of Feel-Great Tips: October through January, on Redbook magazine’s website.

From Accidental to Intentional

What I see very clearly is that most people have no clue what they’re doing to themselves with the food they normally eat. Nor are most people aware of how much better they could look and feel if they stopped feeding themselves accidentally and started re-creating themselves intentionally.
—Bill Phillips,
Body for Life

I love this quote from Bill Phillips. I have definitely been guilty of feeding myself accidentally.

Spoiled Girl (Me), Eating Out

The Accidental Then
For the past fourteen years, I have been spoiled rotten when it comes to food. I have a husband who loves me unconditionally—even though I’ve packed on 65 pounds since we met. Neither of us likes to cook. He knows I work hard (at my desk job), so almost every evening when I got home, we would leave again to go eat out. Where we would be served. Where someone else would do the cooking and cleaning up. When we got married, I jokingly told him, “I promise to make you dinner—but only when I feel like it.” It’s nice to be spoiled.

Eating out is expensive. We became masters of the coupon. We’d go through the circulars that came in the mail and tape them to the back of our den door. We’d go to Restaurant.com looking for good deals. We’d go to Costco for a hot dog or a slice of pizza. We became regulars at restaurants that had weekly specials, such as $1 tacos on Taco Tuesdays.  We ate very, very well.  And it showed.

Just the thought of cooking stressed me out—except for weekends, when I had lots of time. I had all kinds of excuses.

“I’ve worked hard all day. I’m too tired to make dinner. I can’t deal with the mess afterwards.”
“It’ll take too much time. I’m hungry right now.”
“I deserve to relax.”
“I don’t know what to make.”

The Intentional Now
I work a little harder for my food now. I plan ahead. I think things through. Preparing my food makes it easier to get 10,000 steps recorded on my pedometer each day.

I have to go to the grocery story and pick out Lindora-approved items. I have to haul the bags into the house and put the groceries away. I have to pull stuff out and prepare meals. I have to clean up afterwards. (By the way, I adore my dishwasher.) I can hear my pedometer clicking away as I move around the kitchen, and I’m enjoying the movement after sitting at a desk all day. One evening on the way home from work, I went to Costco just to pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner. There were quite a few steps required to go from the car to the back of the warehouse and back to the car again. Click. Click. Click.

I realize how spoiled I’ve been, and I wonder to myself, “Who do I think I am that I don’t have to prepare my own meals?” I think of all those women out there who get home from their day jobs and cook for their families or just their husbands. Just because I don’t have kids doesn’t give me the excuse to be a lazy slob.

And why haven’t I cared about healthy foods for my husband and me? We aren’t getting any younger. We can abuse our bodies only so much.

I am committed to working for my food.

Here’s my menu from yesterday.

Saturday, August 20, 2011
Pedometer: 11,120
Exercise: 20 minutes on treadmill, 6 minutes on elliptical, upper body strength training (finished Friday night’s workout), 30 minutes low-intensity swimming in the pool with my husband.
Party Success Strategy: I went to a party this evening. I ate my mid-day meal before we left the house so I wouldn’t have the urge to graze. For dinner at the party, I ate a double dose of protein as there were no fruits or veggies. There was no diet soda so I drank 3 bottles of water (next time I’ll bring my own diet drink). A couple of hours later I had a ZonePerfect Bar. I said no to wine, tortilla chips and salsa, carrot cake, and a pasta salad. Even though it was late, I ate another ZonePerfect bar after we left because I was tired and getting a bit dizzy.

  • 9:30am 3/4 c Cheerios (12), 1 c skim milk (12), Coffee (0) with 2 Tbsp sugar free Coffee-mate vanilla creamer (2), 2 chewable adult vitamins (3)
  • 1pm  1 oz string cheese (1)
  • 3pm Veggie Omelet: 1 egg (1), ¼ c onions (3), ½ Roma tomato (2.5), 1 tsp olive oil, clove of garlic; 2 c Romaine lettuce (3), 1 c strawberries (11)
  • 6pm ZonePerfect Cashew Pretzel bar (13)
  • 8pm Approx 3 oz. grilled chicken (excellent!) (0) and 3 oz. salmon (0), a couple of slices of cucumber
  • 11pm ZonePerfect Chocolate Mint bar (13)
  • Total carbs:  76.5