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November Challenge - My Personal Holiday Survival Plan

Monday, November 08, 2010

Every year I start the holiday season with good intentions but fall apart somewhere between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Suddenly all those good intentions seem to go straight downhill like a giant snowball collecting the month of December in it's entirety on the way down until it starts to slow under the weight of the feast of Christmas dinner finally landing at the feet of the new year bloated and ten pounds heavier! I even blogged last year AFTER a disastrous Thanksgiving debacle and STILL ate naughty right into Christmas. This year I made it a challenge. Make a plan, publicize it, and stick to it!
So after thinking a few days, I've drafted the following and I'm calling it:

My Personal Holiday Survival Guide!

I'm starting RIGHT NOW being extra tight on my eating plan. A little initial weight loss will jump start my motivation to stick to my holiday eating goals. Next I will keep up my exercise schedule. No matter how hectic it gets -- exercise is still a priority. Which leads me to just how I plan to address that hectic feeling , starting with a little analysis.

First of all in general I tend to get very busy these months. What with all the shopping, mailing, Christmas cards, more shopping. That equals a lot of stress and a lot of tiredness from late nights. Two of my biggest binge triggers. So I am going to really pare down my activities for starters. I'm going to give each family member some money and a small personal gift to open for Christmas. Everyone, grandkids included. I'm going to take ONE day and dedicate it to shopping for everybody and it's going to be soon before the crowds get too hefty. I'm taking the hubby with me and we'll plan a lunch break at a restaurant where I can behave like Panera that's right in our mall. Then home to wrap the gifts ASAP - or better yet - hope that some local high school team is wrapping gifts in the mall for a fund raiser!

Bedtime -- I'm going to really watch how late I'm staying up and plan to get to bed at a decent hour. When I'm tired, I'm more vulnerable to snacking and just letting my guard down in general.

No holiday baking. I'm going to get my dear sweet neighbors some nice scented Avon soap and lotions to enjoy. They're cheaper and won't contribute to THEIR weight issues! Then I won't even have the ingredients in the house to tempt me - like chocolate chips. Instead of a traditional "baking day" with the great nieces, I'm going to take them out to a nice tea room for a relaxing lunch where the portions are small but the ambiance is big. They don't need all the sugar either!

We go to my son and daughter-in-laws for every Thanksgiving and she is a fabulous cook. She is very organized and generally cooks very healthy - save for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. We have a wonderful relationship so I have decided to call her and have a heart to heart talk with her and explain that I have a tendency to go overboard with my holiday eating. She just had a baby in September and although I thinks she looks great, she has already stated that she'd like to lose some more weight. Knowing her, she will make every effort for me to have some healthier lower fat, lower sugar stuff to eat. What she just can't skimp on I will have to exercise extra portion control on. So I'll put the lower cal stuff like veggies on the plate first and fill it up. Eat my roll without butter. Leave off the gravy.
Do I really need whipped cream on my pie? No. Do I really need to sample the pecan pie AND the pumpkin pie? No.

In lieu of bringing food that I have cooked, I'm going to send them a check to cover some of the cost of dinner. I would have them here and cook it all, but it's way harder for them to travel with three little ones. Better we go there. Plus like I said, she is a very organized cook. She makes it look effortless.

Before dinner I am going to volunteer to hold the baby, entertain the grandchildren - whatever takes me away from the kitchen, yet helps free her up. My daughter will be there and SHE can help with the cooking. I'm staying away from the food and the little snacky dishes of sugared nuts and raisins that my DIL sets out.

As soon as my plate is empty it's off to brush my teeth. I hate to put more food in a minty fresh mouth! This will give me a chance to let my dinner settle and that full feeling kick in before the pie comes out. Right after teeth brushing, I'm getting my hands ASAP into the hot, soapy, dishwater. My mother always used to say empty hands are the devils advocate. How true it is! The others can clear the table and scrape the plates. I'm not taking on the temptation to eat anything additional from the serving bowls.

When supper rolls around and the leftovers come out for everyone to fend for themselves, I'm asking hubby to make me ONE reasonable turkey sandwich without mayo on whole wheat. Put on a few raw veggies and don't let me near the stuffing and mashed potatoes for the second time in the day.

I've booked a hotel that has an exercise room and a free breakfast buffet. For breakfast I'm heading right to the fresh fruit and oatmeal if they have it. Whole wheat toast if they don't.

Our work Christmas party will be a challenge too, but my number one rule: No alcohol! It adds calories and dissolves my restraint. It's a catered event and I plan to place myself at the back of the buffet line so that the food will be good and picked over as I reach it. My plan will be sit at the table with our physician who is the triathlete so I can talk exercise!

I'm not quite yet sure of my Christmas eve plans, but I really want to eat Christmas dinner with my 96 year old father in the Veteran's Home where he resides. Trust me - the quality of food there will make it easy to stay within my eating plans! But his company on what could be his last Christmas will be priceless! The focus is to definitely be on him and not the food.

Well that's enough thinking for one night. I'm looking forward to reading some other's plans and maybe glean some tips that will help me stick to my goals

I hope that I might have given some tips that will help to motivate YOU to stick to your goals too!

Happy November and December to all my spark friends!

Joanne

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AEWARNE 11/24/2010 10:13AM

  Thanks for the tips! I've been off for quite a while and thought today would be a good time to get motivated again so I can at least maintain my weight and maybe even lose a pound or two during the holidays. I'm traveling to my sister's house for Thanksgiving and she's asked me to bring a veggie tray. I bought some fat free sour cream to make ranch dip so we'll all have something healthy to munch on. Have a great Thanksgiving!

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LOSINGITALL4ME 11/23/2010 10:44PM

    Wow! Great ideas that we can all use. I started Spark a year ago at this time so I will use everything I have learned to continue my journey. Thanks for all the great ideas.

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VIVIANJ5 11/22/2010 9:37AM

    Joanne,

I came to your SparkPage to thank you for my Thanksgiving SparkGoodie, and found this great post. What a plan! You've got it down to the minute...stay out of kitchen: check! No baking goods in the house: check! Speak up for myself and my health: check! I like this attitude: with a plan like this, you make it SO much easier to succeed. Thanks for the goodie, but also for the inspiration for MY holiday planning. I'd better sit down and figure it out, pronto...

Take care.

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LIGHTHOUSE23 11/20/2010 4:26PM

    Wow! You are planning ahead! My children and grand-children will be with their in-laws for Thanksgiving Day. DH got to pick 3 absolute must have dishes, for me to prepare. Christmas, everyone will be home. Hopefully, I'll be to exhausted to eat!

Loved your blog. Great tips!!
Happy Holiday Season!

Comment edited on: 11/20/2010 4:30:50 PM

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CMRAND54 11/9/2010 9:23PM

    Great ideas! I sure wish I could go see Dad with you. I know he will love to see you. This time of year I am actually glad to be gluten intolerant. I can pass on all the cookies and cake. The office is full of that stuff this time of year and no one expects me to eat it.

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ZELLAZM 11/9/2010 4:36PM

    Wow, talk about planning ahead! I've been ducking and running through my days lately and haven't given much thought to Christmas at all. I sort of ignore Thanksgiving since it's a normal work day for me here in Germany - I don't ignore the THANKS part, just the food part. Thanks for the reminder and for some GREAT ideas!

Blessings
Michelle

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SMILEYBABS 11/9/2010 4:30PM

    Glad to see that you have made such a detailed plan for the holidays! I would suggest bringing a few portable snacks with you for the road and hotel. I also bring instant oatmeal packets(and a bowl and spoon) with me so I can have it even if the hotel breakfast does not because I like to start my day off on the right foot!
Good luck to you carrying out your well-thought-out plan!
Happy holidays,
Barbara

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BRIARROSE30 11/9/2010 2:24PM

    Awesome blog Joanne! I am in awe of you - really! What great wisdom you have to share with our team - I think you should send a link to it out in a mass email to us!

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HAPPYSOUL91 11/9/2010 12:48PM

    Great on the details, this should help you very much. Just keep holding the baby!!!!

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WANAKA 11/9/2010 9:33AM

    What a great detailed plan! I'm going to use some of your tips :) Thank you for sharing and good luck on sticking to it!

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SLENDERCLAIRE 11/9/2010 3:07AM

    What great planning - and I'm glad you have the kind of relationships that mean you can be open with your friends and family and discuss the issues with them. The best gift they can give you is the help to stick to it!

I hope it all works out as planned!

Good luck - and keep the Spark alight to guide the rest of us mere mortals!
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BESTSUSIEYET 11/9/2010 1:28AM

    Great plan, Joanne! It shows that you put some real thought into how to succeed, and I think that in itself will be a huge help! Most of us just wander through the holidays, doing whatever we feel like doing, and assuming that there is no way NOT to gain through the season. Mindful eating and scheduled exercise will bring you the results you desire!

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DDOORN 11/8/2010 11:18PM

    We've already made the firm decision against ANY holiday baking this year. Tough enough resisting OTHER goodies, let alone allowing them entry into our usually "safe" fortress...lol!

Great ideas...thx for sharing!

Don

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JUSTLYLE 11/8/2010 10:51PM

    The thing that touched my heart the most was Christmas eve plans, wish I could join you.
Great writing as usual, have a wonderful Holiday Season.

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