Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's Thanksgiving already!

Hi everybody,

It’s been a while since I last posted on here. To make a long story short, I have a lot going on and needed to back off a little bit. The blog will live on, but I’m in the process of reorganizing and refocusing the whole thing, so I needed some thinking time. I couldn’t pass up Thanksgiving though. So I’ve put together a few things that I’m hoping will be helpful for you this week!

Thanksgiving is first and foremost about giving thanks and I want to thank you my members, and my readers, for your strength, your dedication for this journey we are all on together. I want you to know that over the last 8 years, I have learned and grown as a person, as a Weight Watchers members, and as a leader from your experiences, your insights and you strength of character. You inspire me, motivate me, and remind me on regular basis that you can do anything if you really want to. You have also shown me that there are people out there who are good, caring and strong. Thank you!

Now, the Thanksgiving party! And please, party is the operative word here. Thanksgiving is one day in the year, and it’s all about enjoying yourself and your family. Yes there is a lot of food (my first American Thanksgiving gave me my first real culture shock after moving to the US!), but you don’t want to be so concerned about what you eat that you forget to enjoy yourself! A little thinking ahead can make you feel safe and secure, and take the stress out of the Thanksgiving dinner, well the food stress that is ;op

Thinking ahead

Here’s a few things that came up during the meetings this week that you might want to do ahead of time to be prepared for the big T day:

Add a little bit to your activity routine every day : It’s easier to earn an extra 2 AP+/day than try to earn 6 AP+ the morning of Thanksgiving. Remember you can swap your AP+ for Food P+ on the week that you earned it!

Look up recipes: There are a lot of delicious healthy recipes floating around at this time of the year on the web. With a little research you can “healthy up” old favorites, or find new avenues to explore that can make the Thanksgiving dinner healthier and still memorable. Remember Etools and the message boards!

Shop ahead: The 2-3 days before Thanksgiving, the grocery stores will be overloaded, and under stocked. It’s not too late to avoid most of the craziness. This close to T day, you might want to go shop early in the morning or a little later at night to avoid the crowds. You want to shop for cooking supplies, but also for safe snacks, to munch on while the appetizers are going around.

Make it easier on yourself: A lot of the Thanksgiving fare can be cooked ahead of time, or at least prepped so that on the day of the dinner, you don’t get overwhelmed. It’s also a good idea to delegate and share the workload. After all Thanksgiving is a family affair, so it’s only natural that everybody pitches in. Sometimes all you have to do is ask…

Set your Winning Outcome and then strategize: What is your personal Winning Outcome for the Thanksgiving dinner? You want to track everything and stick to your P+ budget? Is it going to be a Simply Filling day? Are you setting a strict goal? Or are you just trying not to pass out on the couch at the end of the night?

Once you know what you are shooting for, you can put together a plan:
  • Find an ally in the crowd,
  • Decide ahead of time what you are going to eat and find the P+ values
  • Use a smaller plate
  • Use a PointsPlus Clicker to click away the P+ value as you eat
  • Drink a lot of water to keep you hydrated (and busy).
  • Practice saying NO to food pushers in a firm but polite manner
  • Hang out away from the table when you can
  • Offer to do non food-related duties to help out

There are a lot of things you can do ahead of time to make sure that your Thanksgiving Day is stress free and fun.

The Food

No matter how prepared we are, there is no denying the fact that once faced with a table overloaded with goodies, some of us might struggle with keeping things under control. When it comes to loading the plate, there is 2 main questions you must ask yourself: What am I going to eat? And How much of it am I going to eat.

What to pick: Some Thanksgiving goods are just too good to pass up. There will be things on that table that comes around once a year and that you don’t want to miss. Costco cookies are not one of them! Here’s the process of elimination that came up through this week’s meetings:

  • Which foods can I do without? For example, I HATE cranberries, so not having that sauce, and mashed potatoes are just “ok” so that’s not worth the P+.
  • Which foods can I have any time? There are foods on there that are year round food really: Mashed potatoes, unless it’s Granny’s special recipe that comes once a year, isn’t worth splurging on to me.
  • Which foods are a must? Some of the Thanksgiving fare is just either too good to pass up, or so deeply tied to tradition that passing on them would just not go. Those are the foods you want to go for. Every year I have a slice of real, full fat/sugar/everything pumpkin pie. Not skipping that one because it’s worth every single P+.

How much: Ok, so you’ve decided that the stuffing is totally worth it, the mashed potatoes not so much, Pumpkin pie totally, but Mac n Cheese, meeeh no way! All is good right? Well, only if you don’t overload your plate with your chosen goodies. Portion control can be a challenge when there’s a lot of food, a lot of distractions, and sometimes a lot of pressure from the family. If you can measure out your portions that would be ideal but it’s not always convenient or even possible. Being the extremely visual person that I am, I use visual cues:

Separate your plate and load it in order:

  1. Vegetable and fruits, ½ of the plate, comes first
  2. Starch/Grains ¼ of the plate comes second
  3. Proteins, 1/6 of the plate comes third
  4. “Yummies” (sauces, dressings, etc) comes last taking whatever space is left.

Practice Island eating:

The food you put on your plate makes little islands, the food CAN”T TOUCH. This is automatic portion control, unless you’re an engineer, you can’t overload while doing this (and it’s fun!).

Respect the plate:

There are two parts to a plate:

  1. The food part
  2. The decoration part

There should be no food on the decoration part of the plate. Somebody made the effort to make those plates pretty, enjoy their prettiness. :o)

Emotional eating:

The holidays can be a stressful and sometimes sad time for some of us. Having lost loved ones, or living far away from family members can make us feel cut out from all the festivities. Add all that with the overabundance of temptation, this can spell trouble. Take time to acknowledge the feelings that rise up at the time of the year and remember that food is not the solution. Reach out, talk to loved ones, help somebody, treat yourself with non food goodies, find a way to honor your feelings rather than trying to squash them.

If you think emotional eating might be a challenge for you in the coming weeks, look up the Reframing Tool for Living, either on Etools, or on the leaflets at your meeting. It certainly helps me a lot. :o)

Thanksgiving Cheat Card:

In case you missed the meeting, I decided to post my cheat card on here. I don't normally put handouts on the blog, cause that's what the meeting is for, but I didn't have the heart to stick to this rule on Thanksgiving week ;op

The format is a little off, but the information is there. Hope it helps!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a great time of the year in which we celebrate those we love, and give thanks for the little and big things in our lives. Since traditionally, Thanksgiving is a celebration of abundance, the focus often is on the foods as well as (sometimes more than) on the thanks.

Let’s put the focus back where it belongs this year, and put the focus on the love, the family, and the gratefulness of the season. Don’t worry, I’m not saying we want to skip the food! Just that, it should be “part of” the celebration, not the sole focus of it. How’s that sound?

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being part of my meetings. You bring inspiration, motivation and light to my life, and I’m hopeful that in some small measure, I can do the same to you.

My husband and I (as well as Grace the dog, Leo and Gaya the cats) want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

See you in the meeting room,