29 November 2010

Holiday weight gain... and the reverse. (and a bit of a rant)

Thanksgiving! Christmas! Holidays! I can’t wait! I made an entire meal plan last year and I kept the recipes just for these occasions. The kids were at the house this year. Up until last Thursday, my son has been begging for Thanksgiving to come sooner; all of his favorite foods at the same time in one spot! He even loves the leftovers and the meals that go with them. Of course the menu is low-carb and decadent. Pumpkin cheesecake, Sausage stuffing, Maple-brined turkey with gravy, green beans with portabella mushrooms, roasted sweet potatoes, and the list goes on… And yes, I ate until I was full. I didn't feel the urge to overeat. And I actually lost about 3 lbs this past weekend.

One thing is missing from my holiday menu: Guilt. I no longer know the meaning when it comes to my weight or food. This is especially true after the holidays. I promise to not worry about the scale, not even a little bit. My holiday wish is the same for you. In fact, like last year, I expect to lose weight during the holidays. You see, there is a swimsuit related event planned around Christmas. My biggest issue right now is - Do I order a swim suit in a smaller size than I am in now or do I buy one in the size I'm at now? Tough choices. I've lost so much weight the swimsuit I had no longer fits. Wearing it puts me in danger of flashing the entire world - and this is a family friendly event! (Either way I need a new swimsuit.)

I changed my lifestyle almost 2 years ago (March 2009), and last year the holiday season was no different than the rest of the year. I ate what I liked, left out the carbs that made me feel horrible, and lost more weight. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to buy new clothes because I had lost so much weight I couldn’t fit into my old ones. My resolutions have had nothing to do with losing weight, or adding exercise. I have planned another large shopping trip for January of 2011.

There really is nothing psychological about weight loss, except for deciding it’s a lifestyle change. After that, it’s a cakewalk. For me it was a low-carb cheesecake-walk. If it’s true most people regain the weight, perhaps it’s because biologically they are on the wrong path. I feel like the extra energy, the better quality sleep, the satiety hours after eating, the lifted brain fog are all enough reason to stay with your low-carb life style.

When I eat, I don’t get hungry for at least another 6 hours, sometimes more. I don’t obsess about food and I am not OCD about meal plans anymore. (Although, I still love to cook and make menus, now I don't worry if plans change.) I have the flexibility to eat where and when I want. I eat until I’m full and stop when I get there. I cannot think of one time in the past year where I’ve had so much that I felt uncomfortably stuffed. I do not feel like I’m starving or food is scarce. Biologically, it’s ok for me to shed fat because times are good. Food and I are friends now, accomplices if you will, not frenemies. Unless I’m talking to someone else who is low-carb, or naturally thin, I rarely hear the same thing when it comes to food.

Why can’t we just stop focusing on the fat? Why are we so obsessed? Is it the carb-crazies that makes us OCD about anything surrounding food? Why in one of the countries with the larges amount of surplus of food do we constantly worry about where our next meal is going to be coming from? Do you think everyone in the world is obsessed about counting calories? Does your skinny friend do that? Then why should you? I certainly don’t. Another thing I don’t do is eat a dessert and end up on the treadmill or elliptical for hours. I do not understand punishing yourself for being human.

What I am saying is find a lifestyle that you can live with so that you’re not constantly berating yourself for your choices. If you want to lose weight, I’m with you. (And if you don’t want to lose weight, I respect that choice too.) I have yet to figure out exactly why people think losing weight is difficult and is supposed to be so hard. From what I can gather, it’s because of that puritanical view to criticize yourself for anything slightly hedonistic, to include food. “If it’s good for you, it must be bad.” I just don’t believe it’s supposed to be like that. Ask the French… and while you’re at it, check their waistlines.

I’ve heard a tall tale that children hate vegetables and are picky eaters. My son hates celery, mushrooms, some peppers (depends on how they are cooked and how visible they are) and olives. That’s pretty much it. He loves broccoli, carrots, peas, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, dill pickles, spinach, asparagus if it's cooked right (and many, many other vegetables). He also loves macadamia nuts, eggs, coconut oil, full fat yogurt, cheese and milk, steak, bacon, turkey, fish… you get the point. I’m not going to make him feel tortured when it’s time to eat. I eat what I like, and so does he. There are no fights at the kitchen table over food. He always tells me I'm the best cook. I assume that's partially because Derek likes my cooking and always tells me that too. I do hear the occasional grumble prior to an initial taste if it “looks weird.” After that first bite my kid is usually on board with me – taste trumps looks always. Good smells increase the happiness. I don’t deprive his body of nutrition or make him feel bad about his choices… now there is a way to mess him up psychologically!

Please, please; do yourself a favor this holiday season - practice the same kindness towards yourself as you do your loved ones. For some people this will be a stretch... for those of you with less than kind relationships with your loved ones, um... How about we all try to treat ourselves like we are deserving of love? That's really where it all starts. If you slip up and you don't eat right, look yourself in the eye, say some kind words and start over again. Don't give yourself an excuse to fail - this is your life!

It's almost December, and I will still make cookies from the leftover mashed sweet potatoes for the boys. I really don't care about sweets; I'm a savory/salty gal. This past weekend I made myself some stuffed mushrooms as my treat. Although I think Derek likes them more than I do. I'll also make some jalapeno poppers for me, since I'm the only person who likes them. I will spend time cooking with my son and Derek making something for the entire family that is delicious. (Dinners made together and watching a Netflicks movie are actually my favorite date nights right now.)

And for my present? Serve yourself something special just for you - minus the guilt - too.


  1. Hello Holly!

    I was reading some of your posts, and found that you like to use crushed pork rinds for meat coatings. Another way to use those tasty rinds is crushed up and mixed into canned salmon, with the other ingredients, as a binder. I do not have to coat the outside of the patties with anything and they come out nice and crunchy on the outside.

    I like your blog and hope to check in on it now and again.



  2. Thanks Susan! That sounds yummy.

    I use pork rinds as a sub for pretty much anything that calls for bread crumbs. I've even used them as pancakes. Recently our grocery store stopped carrying my favorite ones. I have been considering complaining.