Tag Archives: holiday food

Holiday Foods: Planning vs. Reality

So, a few weeks back, I wrote a post about being prepared for the holidays food-wise.  I thought I was ready to deal with the holiday eating season.  Honestly, for the most part, I have been very disciplined.  I have allowed myself some cheats, but all in all, this has been much harder than I originally thought it would be.

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There are three things that have really put me in jeopardy this Christmas season.  Well, five now that I think about it.  They are as follows:

  • The return of hunger pains – Not with a vengeance, but at meal time and snack time, I do get hungry.  And if I skip any part of my diet plan, I definitely feel it.  So, I have had to learn to manage hunger pains, which I really did not need to worry about for at least 8 months post-op.  Plus, I can eat more now that I could last year.  Those two things combined has made dealing with food this holiday season difficult to say the least.
  • Office party #1 – My work has had two Christmas parties.  The first one was at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in DC.  This was so much fun.  Trays and trays and trays of food everywhere.  And if that wasn’t enough, waiters walked around with more trays passing out more food.  I was very good all day.  Light meals and snacks, sticking to the bariatric food diet plan.  Then the party hit.  I still tried to stay on schedule, protein and veggies only.  I just ate too much, which let’s face it, is probably just a normal sized meal for non-bariatric surgery peeps.  But for me, it is way too much.  I did have a tummy ache and get a little nauseated, but I survived mostly intact, I think.
  • Office party #2 – My department had its own office party.  That was a 2 1/2 hour eating feat I have not really done at all since the surgery.  I had appetizers, fried zucchini shoe strings, cheese, a slice of some kind of meat, and assorted veggies.  Then we sat down to dinner.  Salad.  Not bad. I had a small spoonful.  Then the pasta course started. Two different kinds of pasta.  I had four tiny pieces of pasta.  I really cannot have starchy food, but I wanted a taste.  Now, keep in mind, I was pretty much full after the appetizers.  They served the food slowly, so there was a lot of time between courses, but I am already in forbidden territory and the food just kept coming.  Then they brought out eggplant parm, which I hate, so I did not eat.  Then rosemary chicken and roasted broccoli.  I had about three bites of chicken and 2-4 bites of broccoli and I really just had to stop.  I thought I was going to explode.  Then they brought out dessert.  Tiramisu and chocolate mousse.  I did not even look at the Tiramisu.  I knew if I did it would be all over.  I took my spoon and sliced off the teeniest bite of mousse I could manage and just a spot of whipped cream.  It was just heaven.  I thought I was going to pop.  I had to get up and walk away from the table before I was tempted to try another bite.  My stomach hurt so much, and I was very nauseated.  It stayed in the bathroom for about 10 minutes.  Then when everyone else was done eating dessert, I ordered a cup of coffee hoping the warm liquid would start moving some of the feast through my system.  When I got home, I dutifully logged every bite into My Fitness Pal, chocolate mousse bite and all.  I ate over 500 calories in one meal that took me over 2 hours to eat.  For me, that’s twice what I normally have.
  • Writer’s Group Party – OK, this one was not so bad, but still, a little bad.  This was held at a bar.  I did not actually order any food. I just ate what other people were sharing.  I had three wings, carrots, celery, humus, and some nachos over the course of about an hour and a half.  Not the greatest meal, but not too bad.  Once I was done nibbling, I just drank water for the rest of the night.
  • Office treats and other junk – This has been the hardest for me to deal with.  So many yummy things.  Tons of cookies, truffles, peppermint bark, candy, etc.  I got tired of seeing cookies, so after having one cookie, I was done.  I managed to stay away from the cranberry-orange bread, which was tempting.  But the chocolate truffles just killed me.  Someone sent French truffles filled with caramel.  I love, love, love, love, love caramel filled chocolate.  I decided that I would give in and allow myself one French caramel filled truffle.  I took it back to my desk and took one small bite.  It was heaven.  The caramel just melted in my mouth.  Before I could stop myself or change my mind, I quickly threw the rest of the truffle into the trash.  I knew if I finished it, it would be all over.  I would have to go back and just scarf up the rest of them. My co-worker could not believe I did that.  She was like, “Wow, you have incredible will-power.”  I replied, “No, I do not.  If I didn’t get rid of this now, you might as well check me into French caramel truffle rehab!”  It was tempting to reach into the trash and retrieve the truffle, but my pride just would not let me.

Now I am in Pittsburgh visiting with my mother for the holidays.  She’s kind of a food nazi. All my life, I have hated her fixation on limiting what I eat.  Now all I have to say is, “Thank goodness.”  She does not keep junk in her house.  OK, she keeps popcorn in her house, but I dare not touch her stash.  It has been a relief not to have all those temptations so close at hand.  I need to refocus.  I need to become more disciplined in the New Year if I want to lose the remaining 46 pounds.

I will be glad when the holidays are over, and the pressure is off.  It will be a relief to return to normal eating patterns.  This holiday season has been very tough for me to deal with.  Last year was not as difficult because I could barely eat.  But now that I actually feel hungry and can eat almost 1400 calories per day, (including protein drinks), the temptation to over-indulge has been very stressful.

My next biggest hurdle is New Year’s Eve.  I am spending that time with friends.  I am making chicken saag and my pumpkin brownies for everyone.  And I know that there will be a lot of other foods.  I think I’ll be OK because I will have many good options to choose from.  And my one friend is kind of worried about food herself so I know she will not have a lot of junk on hand.

Wish me luck!

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Surviving The Holiday Eating Season – Plan Ahead!

It’s that time of year again.  The holiday season is quickly bearing down on us.  Halloween. Thanksgiving.  Christmas.  Hanukkah.  New Year’s.  These are the big winter celebrations we all love to eat and/or drink our way through.

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Health Magazine has an article of 50 holiday foods you should not eat.  I don’t think avoiding all holiday food is a good idea.  I mean, yeah, you probably should not eat everything, and any wlser who cannot have sugar should probably avoid the sweet treats anyway, but, it’s the holidays for crying out loud.  What is the point of a celebration if you cannot celebrate?  I think the key to surviving the holidays is to have  a solid plan and stick with it.

For example, I am not a big sweet eater, but the pumpkin everything is really making me kind of crazy this year, especially because I cannot eat it.  I mean, I guess I could if I did not mind getting horribly ill, risking instant diarrhea or vomiting, and laying in bed for an hour or so, but really, would it be worth all of that?  (Once you have had instant diarrhea and had to throw away your underwear in a McDonald’s bathroom while on a road trip, I can tell you the answer to that question is a resounding no.)   Instead, I purchased a can of raw pumpkin that I can turn into some kind of delicious, healthy treat that fits into the wls diet.  I have some ideas I’m kicking around, and if it works, I’ll post the recipe with pictures.

I had my by-pass just before Halloween last year.  I could not even stand to look at candy let alone risk eating it.  Last Thanksgiving, was only one month after my surgery.  I was still eating pureed food.  I did have pureed turkey and sweet potatoes for dinner, but not much else.  By Christmas, I was eating some solid food, but still, not a lot.

This year will be different for me.  I can eat somewhere between 1100-1400 calories per day.  Granted, about 300 calories per day is protein supplements, so actual food intake is more like 900-1100 calories per day.  Still, that is a lot more than 400-800 calories I was eating last year at this time.  Also, my hunger has returned, which means I feel like eating more often than I did last year.  Not as often as I did pre-surgery, but still, it’s there.  And I have introduced quite a few new foods into my diet, which means I can eat a wider variety of foods than I could last year.

All of this could spell potential trouble for the upcoming holiday food season.  And I have to admit that I am a little worried.

So, I have developed a plan to make sure I stay on track this year.  So, here it is:

  • Allow myself some treats – I’m not saying I will go for the pumpkin bread that will make me vomit, but I will come up with some kind of alternative.
  • Make a plan for holiday meals – I did this last year.  I went to my sister-in-law’s parents for Thanksgiving.  I took my blender with me so that I could puree turkey.  I won’t be pureeing my food this year, but I can still plan ahead.  I will carry the protein snacks that I need with me.  I will make sure I only eat the healthy foods, protein, veggies, the way I’m supposed to.  I do not know if I will cook, go out to a restaurant, or visit family for the holidays, but there is no reason the holiday meal cannot be a healthy one that fits into the wls plan.
  • Go to the gym – I have to stay focused on my exercise plan.  The last few months have been difficult with work, but now that things are slowing down, I have to get back on the wagon and exercise!  This will be crucial in maintaining any diet plan through the holidays.
  • Avoid alcohol – I have not had any alcohol since the surgery.  I do miss a nice glass of wine, but I’ll live.  The surgeon’s office told me to avoid alcohol for the first year after surgery.  The nurse in his office thinks it’s a good idea to avoid alcohol altogether forever.  I do not know if I will avoid it forever.  I probably will because my liver was not in fantastic shape before the surgery.  But, for now at least, I am not done losing weight and alcohol, even the occasional nice glass of red wine, is simply empty calories that I cannot afford.
  • Continue to track my food intake and exercise – I use MyFitnessPal.com.  I have the app on my phone.  I log everything.  All of my calories, walking, and exercise.  I can say I eat 1200-1400 calories per day and know that number is pretty close to accurate.  Tracking my food keeps me honest and focused.  For anyone who wants to join me on My Fitness Pal, my name is morgaine84.  I have also found that if I look up the calories for something I want to eat before I eat it, sometimes I decide the calories are not worth it.  Other times, I may adjust my diet so that I can fit it in. But most of the time, I just don’t eat it.

That is my plan.  I may add to it as the holidays get closer.  I encourage anyone who is dieting for the holidays to set a realistic plan and revisit it often to make sure you’re staying on track.  Even people who have had wls need to be prepared.  The surgery is a tool and can help a lot, but it won’t work if we don’t stay focused!

Happy Holiday Eating!