Day 24 – Choose Your Holiday Food Battles

You may be one of the lucky few who sail along from Thanksgiving through New Years and never gain an ounce. I, unfortunately, do not fall into that group. The good news, though, is that we can decide – in advance – when to indulge and when to exercise restraint. Step 1 is knowing which parts of the celebration will derail your intention to keep your healthy habit going.

My Achilles’ heels are snacks served before the meal, and pumpkin pie. It’s not that I skip from the “before” straight through to the “after” – I really do enjoy the meal in between as well – but dinner itself is not usually a caloric belly-bomb for me. I love turkey, prefer white meat, don’t eat the skin, and skip the stuffing. I have to eat gluten-free, so stuffing is a no-no for me anyway. I am not particularly fond of mashed potatoes, and gravy often has gluten in it, so I skip both. Oh, no rolls either, for the same reason.

My plate will be loaded up with turkey, whatever green veggie is served (minus sauces or garnish to the extent it is possible to avoid them), plain baked sweet potato, green salad and/or fruit salad, and maybe a few olives. That’s about it.

You may have noticed just how much my gluten issue helps me keep some of the not-so-great choices off the plate. Avoiding the gluten is an easy choice for me because I know how rotten I feel if I eat it – but avoiding it is still a choice that I make.  Every day, not just holidays, and not just when I want to keep my weight steady.

Here’s the point I am trying to make:  Once you know what you must avoid to keep yourself healthy, start making the choice to avoid exactly that. Make the choice every day, not just holidays. Focus your mind on the details of how lousy you feel when you eat certain foods. Maybe they make you feel bloated, or sluggish, or disappointed in yourself. Then decide that you simply don’t want to feel crummy any more, mentally or physically.

Tell your family, friends, and anyone else you share meals with that you will not longer be eating Food X because it does not serve your needs. They can still eat it – there’s no judgement here – but you are done with that food. Your problem food may not be their problem food, so support their need to avoid Food Y if that’s appropriate.

Maybe the food you know you have to stay away from is fried chicken. Can you just say no to the fried chicken? Trust me, you can. I speak from experience on getting something out of your diet forever because I’ve been there. Gluten is in dozens, even hundreds, of food products.  Fried chicken is only in, ummm, fried chicken.  You don’t even have to read labels to know when you’re eating it.

What if your problem food is a whole group, like everything fried? Make the choice, every day, not to eat fried food that day. Recognize that you will fall off the wagon sometimes. It will get easier as you go. You will start to notice other options. Grilled chicken is pretty tasty if it’s seasoned the way you like it. Some foods will have acceptable replacements, but some may just have to go. Donuts, for example, are better just left behind. And onion rings? There really is no healthy replacement for deep-fried battered onions that I know of.

I’m in the market for a slimmed-down version of pumpkin pie, preferably with no crust (the gluten thing again). If you know where I can find a good recipe, please share! Also, there will be no spinach and artichoke dip in my refrigerator this year. As much as I like it, it no longer serves my needs; I just feel bloated and sluggish – and disappointed in myself – when I eat that stuff.

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3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    ssbogan said,

    I definitely agree that binge eating is tough on the body. I’m currently searching for the perfect corn syrup-free pecan pie.

    • 2

      ssbogan said,

      Oh, and coconut flour would make a great GF crust for pumpkin pie – you have to use a lot of eggs to get the consistency right.

  2. 3

    Thanks for the suggestion! I had not even thought about coconut flour, was leaning more toward something with almond meal, or no crust at all. I’ll keep an eye out for a pecan pie (yummmmm) with no corn syrup too.


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