I'm learning from all these parties and things so far that I really need to have a specific plan!
So I'm trying to think of what all of my challenges will be over the holidays, and how I might deal with them.
We leave Saturday, so challenge #1 will be the drive. It's 7.5-8 hours in the car.
1) on the road. Driving boredom - I love snacking in the car. Also, fast food for lunch and the desire to drink soda (diet, but still) all day while driving.
Plan: This one is easy. I'm going to have my usual breakfast, and bring leftovers for lunch. I'll stop at a FF place if husby prefers to buy food rather than bring leftovers, but I'm eating leftovers. Period. I'll bring a banana or something in case I'm actually HUNGRY for a snack, and fill all my water bottles for the drive. I actually stopped the snacking while driving quite a while ago, so that won't be a big challenge this time, I just want to keep it in the back of my mind. Having something to focus on helps, and not being alone in the car also helps. I have both an audio book on my iPod, AND some stand up comedy (these are better than music on long drives for me) and the husby will be with me, so I shouldn't be snacky at all really.
While home @ the 'rents:
2) breakfast. There will be cereal, bread for toast, canned fruit in syrup, probably pancakes at least one day. Possibly cinnamon rolls. Basically, empty carbs, sugar, no protein in sight.
Plan: I already stocked up on my Usual Breakfast - a small baked sweet potato and lowfat greek yogurt. I'm going to bring this stash with me and eat it every day except Pancake Day. My dad, my very own amazing adorable dad, makes the world's best pancakes. On Pancake Day I MUST have pancake! But I will have *A* pancake with measured reasonable amounts of butter and syrup, and my yogurt on the side. If I want fruit I will have a real banana or orange, and stay out of the sweetened fruit bowl. Oh I hate cinnamon rolls so THAT won't be an issue. They smell so good! Why are they so not delicious? I guess it's for the best...
I just need to remember I don't like them, and not attempt to eat one because they smell like they should be delicious. I think I do that about once every 3 years, hahaha!
3) lunch. There will be sandwich stuff and probably cheese & crackers and "munchies" some days because my grandma is really into putting out a huge spread of snacks right before people would normally eat a real meal, and then getting upset when no one wants a sandwich 1/2 hour later. I love her, but hee hee. She totally does these things.... Sandwiches are decent - lowish fat ham and turkey, I could always skip the cheese, but they always have that wheat-not-whole-wheat bread that's maybe 1g of fiber, and I can think of a million ways I'd rather spend 200-260 calories than on two slices of "meh" bread.
Plan: I'm going to make a few batches of my homemade salad dressings and bring a couple flavors home, and I'll stop when I get to town and buy salad (all my mom buys is iceberg.) I'm also bringing home my leftovers of healthy veggieful meals I've been making all week. When the leftovers are gone, I'll go grocery shopping and get myself some chicken for chicken salad or something. I might also buy a couple of lower sodium higher protein soups (I like the Tabatchnick frozen ones, lentil or split pea) for lunches.
4) snacks (see above Re: grandma). Cheese and crackers, dip, etc.
Plan: Veggies only. If I really feel like munching I will have veggies. Fortunately I hate the monstrosity that is ranch dip and love plain veggies. But I know myself and two crackers can easily lead to 4 or more, and I am not good at eyeballing my servings of cheese. OR chips. Since there are likely to be multiple days where chips/cheese/crackers are set out, it's better if I just don't have it - the damage it does to my self-control, and how I feel about my healthy eating, ruins any enjoyment of eating those foods. I think I will also get some gnu bars (12g of fiber!) to bring home for snacking. I really like those for an afternoon snack at work, so that's something that makes me very happy and satisfied when I need a snack. OOOOOH, and I should bring my microwave popper and plain popcorn, in case I want something crunchy. YES, BRILLIANT.
5) going out to eat. I'm assuming this will happen at least once.
Plan: My parents love Ruby Tuesdays (seriously. a lot.) so I'm going to look at the websites of there and a couple other places they like to go before I get home and pick a couple of options. I'm going to go for one of those and just not read the whole menu and tempt myself with other stuff once I'm there and hungry. Also, if we are thinking of going somewhere else, push for RT instead because at least they have an awesome salad bar.
Also normal stuff like not eating the whole portion, etc.
6) dinner at home. Could be great - if we are at my brother's house, my SIL (SEEEEESTER!!
) is actually pretty good about cooking healthy stuff. We had an awesome meal that involved tons of veggies on the grill over the summer, and she usually has good salad, so I will be much safer there. My mom makes mostly the stuff I grew up on... often, but not always, higher on the carbs, sometimes higher fat as well (helloooooo rice a roni). We do always have vegetables, but I grew up eating a cup or two of carbs (rice, potatoes, pasta, whatever) and maybe 1/4 cup of veggies, plus meat or whatever. I want to reverse those portion sizes! Also, my family members have portion distortion and when I am around them, I tend to revert to my former Huge Plate Full Plate Clean Your Plate, PLUS SECONDS ways. It is not good! I will *really* need to concentrate to avoid this.
This is probably my biggest challenge; not falling back into the Take A Huge Portion And Then Eat It REALLY FAST habit.
Plan: My plan is eat super mindfully and focus on veggies. I'll make use of my salad dressings and salad like I mentioned for lunch. I may help my mom cook and make extra veggies for side dishes as well. I think the best idea for me will be to have a big full plate of salad before I even take any entree. That way I get some veggies in me, and remind myself I need to pay attention to what I'm eating. Then I will take portions that are half the size of what I feel like taking. FOCUS on eating slowly. Stop to drink water, have conversations, and digest halfway through the plate. Then finish the plate if I still have empty inside space. And take seconds ONLY if I am ACTUALLY HUNGRY, not just because something is tasty.
7) Christmas eve special food
Plan: Not sure yet how it will work out. We sometimes have one of my very favorite dinners for Christmas Eve. I will need to concentrate extra hard on my strategies from #6 above. I will probably also make myself a deal. I can actually make the dinner meal any time. I don't make it often, but I know how. What I never make and usually only have 1x a year, is this traditional family recipe for a hot rice pudding sort of a thing (it has a name, but in Norwegian and I absolutely cannot spell it...). SOMETIMES we have the rice stuff as dinner. It's very filling and delicious (AND FATTY) so I actually prefer it that way, hahaha. But sometimes we have dinner early and then rice stuff as dessert. Which is like... probably 4-5 days worth of calories if you eat heartily for both, hahahaha. So I will make myself a deal to eat very small portions and be super conscious at dinner, if we have it, so I can eat more rice goodness. I will put the recipe in the builder so I know how much I can have and I will savor it.
(But really I hope we just have the rice stuff as dinner. I'll have to eat more protein & veggies earlier in the day to make up for it, because it's made of whole milk and butter and rice and sugar and more milk and cinnamon and it's SO FREAKING DELICIOUS. I am totally indulging. Not "eating three huge bowls" indulging, but I am going to eat the crap out of a bowlful. YES.)
8) Christmas day
Plan: I'm not terribly worried about this. We have Thanksgiving dinner again for Christmas! (with slightly less exciting desserts) I love turkey, and can just eat white meat and be super happy. I will have to be mindful of my portions for stuffing and gravy, and maybe I will bribe my mom into letting me make extra veggies for sides and have salad, but I'm not too worried about that meal.
9) Dad's birthday - another big meal, and cake. And ice cream.
Plan: Another one I'm not too worried about the dinner. Well, I'm HALF worried. We always have ham, which, yuck. I hate ham. I always skip the ham. However, we also always have this cheese-and-potato casserole which is delicious. So most years I eat a giant plate of, basically, potatoes and cheese. This is... probably not a good plan. Haha! Maybe I will make myself some chicken or some lentils or something to have in place of the ham so I get some protein and am better fueled to resist the temptation of huge piles of cheesy potatoes. Cake? Depends what kind. Chocolate cake, meh. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting? Mmmmm! But! Not really a Once A Year food. I can probably pass it up, or just have a tiny sliver/2 bites worth without any regrets at all. So yeah, my plan is uber small serving of cake, if at all, and no ice cream.
10) Christmas cookies. Problem! I may be helping my mom make them, and I love to sneak little bites of dough. And taste a few as we frost them. And eat them every day all week until they are gone. They are like craaaaaaack people.
Plan: No dough eating. None whatsoever, because if I start I will not stop. I will put the recipes for the main kinds we usually make into the recipe builder so I can track them. I think I will limit myself to 1 cookie every two days, however that works out, and as long as I have the calories in my day. Either half a cookie a day or a cookie every other day, whatever I feel like, and literally ONE COOKIE, not one of each flavor. I want to enjoy them but not gorge. And I WILL NOT eat them as snacks, or munch on them while playing board and card games with family or having long chats after dinner. Cookie = dessert = after dinner as a treat, or not at all. Slowly savor a cookie with a cup of coffee. Mindlessly eating stacks of them while playing games is a huge thing. And by thing I mean problem. The husby and brother will probably be doing that; I will be drinking water.
Actually coffee is a very good idea. I got into the habit/tradition of having coffee with dessert with my Italian in-laws, and now I really enjoy it. Coffee does tend to signal to me that eating time is over, so having coffee with my cookie should help me not gorge on cookies.
11) Booze. Sweet, sweet booze. I do like a drink now and then, though I haven't been drinking much lately. I am the household DD (because I am the only one with a license!) so I suspect being home and hanging around the house in the evening not needing to drive anywhere I will be more inclined to want a drink. But I know from my tracking these past months those alcohol calories add up fast!
Plan: I don't have a totally concrete plan on this, but I have some various ideas. One is to stick to basic alcohol. I love mixed drinks and fruity things, but all those mixers, juice, soda, add up calories. So I think, no drinks when eating out, only at home. I tend to want to order the fancy fruity martini and that's just extra sugar. I also think I'll be avoiding beer. I like some beers, but we often have beer around at home (husby looooves) so if I have the opportunity to have more than one drink because I'm not driving for once, I want something I really LOVE not something I "like okay." I think I will make myself a "no Malibu and diet cokes" rule as well. I have those all the time, and when I have one I drink it fast and kind of want 3 more. I'll stick to something more special and enjoy, a nice glass of red wine I can savor, and maybe a nice bourbon. I'm going to buy a bottle of some stuff I actually like for my dad (I hate the stuff he drinks, hahaha) , so maybe I'll bring some for us to drink during the holidays as well.
I'm also contemplating the idea of splitting my treats - basically no alcohol on cookie days and no cookie on alcohol days. Or, alcohol on regular days but not on Christmas Eve or Day when we're going to be having the big heavy meals. That might work out also.
12) Best buddies meetup. This one is an extra dangerous combination of snacks, going out to eat, and booze. (Though one BFF is pregnant, so we will probably be much less with the boozin! Hee.)
Plan: I think for this one, "eat before you go" will be a big help. Our old tradition was to go out to Chinese buffet (seriously, UH OH) and if I go hungry, the world really WILL come to an end. I will eat some veggies and lean protein before meeting up with them, so I'm not hungry and extra weakened to carby and/or fatty snacks. If we go out for a meal I can eat a half portion of something reasonable; if we get together at someone's house I can keep my munchies to a minimum.
13) candy around the house. This may or may not be present, but when it is it is usually things I ADORE, namely plain M&Ms and Hershey kisses.
Plan: Complete and total avoidance. I have no self control with either of those foods. Especially considering next week will be TOM. And they are not really special Christmas foods, either, I can have them any time. If I'm going to have sugar I'd rather have a Christmas cookie.
I normally don't "ban" foods from my life, it's against my long term weight loss and maintenance philosophy, but this is the holidays. There are so many treats and unhealthy things around, I think I need to pick my battles. I would rather eat and really enjoy the special things, and feel good, than gorge on cheap chocolate (let's face it, Hershey's is not on par with your high end Swiss products in the first place...) and feel bad about myself. If I go over my calorie range because I ate a big bowl of rice stuff, I'll be like... "C'est la vie! Heck yum!" If I go over because I ate 19 Hershey kisses because I couldn't stay out of the bowl, I'm going to be like... "I so hate you, you moron."
14) the long drive back. Same as the drive there, but possibly plus cookies and leftovers we're bringing home with us.
Plan: Same as the drive there, plus Don't Eat Cookies mindlessly while driving!
Overall plan: In addition to my big kitchen scale, I have an awesome adorable weeny food scale about the size of my cell phone that now lives in my purse. It will be coming with me for the measuring of snacks and various portions.
Also, we WILL be going to the gym 3x next week! Our gym has a branch about 25 minutes from my parents' house, which is about what our commute is to our gym now anyway. I'm already accustomed to getting up early, so I don't see any reason to get myself back into the habit of sleeping until noon. May as well get up at a reasonable hour and go to the gym. We may also go to my parents' gym, which I think is much closer, if we can easily get up early and go without them. Not sure they want to go at 7am, ha.
If the weather is decent and I can talk anyone into it, I'll do some walks as well. Even if not I'll walk the dogs with my SEEEEEEEESTER whenever I can to get some extra walking in.
And, let's be honest, to get some extra DOG in.
Sorry, I think this got really really long, but it was helpful for me just to hear myself say it (or, read myself write it, haha) so I'm glad I did. I'll update if I think of anything else, and I'll update how it's going through the 26th! I'll keep tracking 27-31, of course, and then the Big Dang Results Show will be Jan 1. STAY TUUUUUUUUUNED!