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Maintenance at Christmas

sofrancessofrances Member, Premium Posts: 146 Member Member, Premium Posts: 146 Member
I'm sure there have been a million of these threads, but I thought I would share my plan for Christmas and invite any advice from more experienced maintainers.

This is my first Christmas in calorie counted maintenance, so it's a new experience for me.

My plan is:

Keep Christmas eating limited to the three days of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. After that, leftovers in the bin (sorry for the waste, but it's better off there than on my body).

Eat what I want over those three days, not count, not worry about it, but also try to avoid getting into a scarcity mindset where I have to stuff myself silly because this is my "one chance". Mindfulness.

Not weigh myself until the 27th (usually I'm a daily weigher, so last weigh in before Christmas will be morning of Christmas Eve).

If I have gone over or near to my scream weight when I weigh myself on 27th, have a few low calorie days immediately to get back into the green. However, currently I'm below my maintenance range, so if Christmas just puts me back up into my range, I'll just let it be. The point is to deal with any weight gain over my range immediately, without procrastination.

What are your plans?
edited December 2020
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Replies

  • bold_rabbitbold_rabbit Member Posts: 967 Member Member Posts: 967 Member
    My plan will be the same as what I've done in the past both when losing and in my 10 months of maintenance.

    I track slightly looser on special occasions (like not weighing my serving of food, but estimating it as 1/6th of the entered recipe). Vacation is the only time I don't track at all, and, obviously, I will be at home this year. I also continue with morning weigh-ins as long as I am home.

    As mentioned in another post recently, we celebrate both our birthdays and our anniversary a few days before Christmas, so our "holiday season" - birthday/anniversary through NYD is almost 2 weeks long. I'm sure I will have many, many days that are high calories. And I'm confident that any actual weight gain above my maintenance range, while not expected since I am currently running a little below my maintenance range, can be easily dealt with in January.

    I hope you and everyone else has a lovely holiday season!
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 18,106 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,106 Member
    Well, I've gotten super-relaxed (in year 5+ of maintenance), based on longer experience of how my body behaves. I'll eat indulgently; I may log (if relatively easy) or not (if lots of stuff, including things I'd have to estimate wildly or do a lot of looking up, because I'm lazy).

    I expect to be up a few pounds for a few days to a week (even if only a day of indulgent eating), and will keep weighing every morning (because I learn quite a bit from that about how my individual body responds to things, and the fluctuations aren't stressful, for me).

    The first Christmas, I did log (a good bit of estimating) though eating whatever I liked. At that stage, I was still wanting the best data I could accumulate across a range of conditions, to help me figure out maintenance plans. (I'm among the rare few for whom MFP's calorie estimates - *and* my good brand/model fitness tracker's estimates) are waaaay off, so I needed to use my own experiential data.

    You sound like you have a great plan, worthy of a test drive. After, you can decide if it worked well, or needs a bit of tweaking for next time. It'll be fine.

    The one observation I'd make: You know your body better than anyone else does. I'm wondering, though, has your experience so far included some more indulgent-eating days, as you're planning here?

    Reason for asking: As I hinted, I've learned that if I have a big day, my own personal body will sometimes retain extra meaningless pseudo-gain in scale weight for several days, maybe up to a week (it tends to drop off gradually, but virtually always a week will see any long-term effects revealed, and short-term misleading stuff done).

    So, for me, if I wanted to stop weighing until the meaningless nonsense was done, I'd have to wait until later than the 27th, personally. Then, personally, I'd cut calories only if there was an issue after a week. (Also, as I said, I would be weighing daily all along, so sort of taking the pulse of progress. As long as there's a slooooow decline going on, I wouldn't bother with doing anything but sticking to my normal maintenance habits. To me, for me, this is not "procrastination" but "patience". 😉 But not procrastinating is a definite good idea.)

    YMMV, absolutely. And I know it's harder, both physically and psychologically, when first starting maintenance. You have a good plan.

    Best wishes, and enjoy your holiday!
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 1,557 Member Member Posts: 1,557 Member
    If the holiday season is 3 days (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years in the US) eat/drink all you want and don't worry about it. If the "holiday season" is daily from Halloween to New Years then need to carefully monitor intake/outgo.
  • ExpressoLove11ExpressoLove11 Member Posts: 83 Member Member Posts: 83 Member
    I eat at a tiny deficit on the week leading up to it, then just eat what I want from Christmas eve through to boxing day. Back on track on the 27th. Its normal to have water weight for a few days, up to a week later even. Enjoy yourself 😊
  • sgt1372sgt1372 Member Posts: 3,805 Member Member Posts: 3,805 Member
    FWIW, IMO, the best plan to stay in maintenance during the holidays is to treat each day like any other day bc CONSISTENCY is the best way to achieve and maintain your weight.

    Giving yourself permisssion to overeat during the holidays based on the theory that your can "bank" cals in advance or make up the excess by cutting back later can work but once you start making excuses for breaking your maintenance plan is, in my experience, a very bad precedent and habit.
    edited December 2020
  • SnifterPugSnifterPug Member Posts: 505 Member Member Posts: 505 Member
    I'll probably get slammed for this but over the years I have found that for me, personally, if I totally stuff myself with calories on ONE day only, I can usually get away with it without making later or earlier compensations. It's almost as if my body just can't cope with the calories thrown at it all at once. Goodness knows what it does with them. However a few days of having just that little bit extra is a recipe for disaster for me, even if I plan for it, build in advance deficits or whatever.
  • sofrancessofrances Member, Premium Posts: 146 Member Member, Premium Posts: 146 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    The one observation I'd make: You know your body better than anyone else does. I'm wondering, though, has your experience so far included some more indulgent-eating days, as you're planning here?

    Reason for asking: As I hinted, I've learned that if I have a big day, my own personal body will sometimes retain extra meaningless pseudo-gain in scale weight for several days, maybe up to a week (it tends to drop off gradually, but virtually always a week will see any long-term effects revealed, and short-term misleading stuff done).

    So, for me, if I wanted to stop weighing until the meaningless nonsense was done, I'd have to wait until later than the 27th, personally. Then, personally, I'd cut calories only if there was an issue after a week.

    Good point. Maybe I'll give it a week of normal eating afterwards to see if it stabilises before taking action.
  • sardelsasardelsa Member, Premium Posts: 9,821 Member Member, Premium Posts: 9,821 Member
    At the end if the day you have to do what works for you.
    I'm going to be bulking this year (as I usually am) with a very high intake so even if I wanted to eat whatever I wanted I would probably still keep my surplus on point, so I do it.

    If I'm in a deficit I still eat whatever I want but I'm slightly more choosey. I end up maintaining for a few days then get back to the deficit. I have no issues going "off track" then returning to my plan. Some people do have issues with this, so it depends what works!
  • sofrancessofrances Member, Premium Posts: 146 Member Member, Premium Posts: 146 Member
    sofrances wrote: »
    sgt1372 wrote: »
    FWIW, IMO, the best plan to stay in maintenance during the holidays is to treat each day like any other day bc CONSISTENCY is the best way to achieve and maintain your weight.

    Giving yourself permisssion to overeat during the holidays based on the theory that your can "bank" cals in advance or make up the excess by cutting back later can work but once you start making excuses for breaking your maintenance plan is, in my experience, a very bad precedent and habit.

    But how are you supposed to do this if you're going to be eating at an in-laws for Christmas, for example? I can try to be moderate, but my normal maintenance plan involves calories counting everything, and there's no way I can expect my in-laws to weigh and measure everything for me in addition to the general stress of Christmas dinner. Surely you have to allow some flexibility for things like this? Isn't all or nothing thinking a big danger too?

    Sounds like you're over-thinking again.


    You know how to lose weight. Even if you gain five pounds, so what? It's the holidays - you will be one of millions.

    Then after all the festivities you get back to your logging and lose it. Two weeks, max.

    I've been in Maintenance for 12 years. The winters I'm always at the high end of my range and in the summer I'm in the low end. I do have a limit, it's five pounds.

    Sure. That's what I was arguing to sgt1372. :smile:
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Member Posts: 38,471 Member Member Posts: 38,471 Member
    I don't do the whole hand wringing thing about holidays and occasions...they are a handful of days and in the big picture, not particularly relevant to the whole. I typically put on 8-10 Lbs over the winter in general, holidays aside...but training for cycling season kicks off in January, so no biggie.

    In my family, Christmas really isn't an overly indulgent eating holiday like Thanksgiving is. Traditionally for Christmas Eve, we eat posole which is a hominy stew with either beef or pork and red chile...it's just a stew, so not some super indulgent thing. Christmas dinner is typically a rib roast with roasted turnips, Yorkshire pudding, and some kind of vegetable side...typically not many leftovers, and if there are, prime rib is definitely not going into the trash bin. I usually use the rib bones to make a beef stock on boxing day and make French Onion Soup for that evening. After that, it's pretty much back to normal and training begins on January 1.
  • mtaratootmtaratoot Member, Premium Posts: 4,738 Member Member, Premium Posts: 4,738 Member
    sofrances wrote: »
    sgt1372 wrote: »
    FWIW, IMO, the best plan to stay in maintenance during the holidays is to treat each day like any other day bc CONSISTENCY is the best way to achieve and maintain your weight.

    Giving yourself permisssion to overeat during the holidays based on the theory that your can "bank" cals in advance or make up the excess by cutting back later can work but once you start making excuses for breaking your maintenance plan is, in my experience, a very bad precedent and habit.

    But how are you supposed to do this if you're going to be eating at an in-laws for Christmas, for example? I can try to be moderate, but my normal maintenance plan involves calories counting everything, and there's no way I can expect my in-laws to weigh and measure everything for me in addition to the general stress of Christmas dinner. Surely you have to allow some flexibility for things like this? Isn't all or nothing thinking a big danger too?

    If you have been weighing and logging consistently, your eyeball might be pretty well calibrated - at least for a while. It can go out of calibration. You could look at your plate and make a reasonable estimate and just do a "quick add calories" for the meal or meals. Of course that doesn't track your macros, and you'll probably be fine if you skip that for a day.

    But if you want a "guess" of those, you can do that, too. One trick I use when I'm on muti-day river trips or SCUBA trips is use a "recipe" that's just made up of fat calories, carbohydrate calories, and protein calories, and I log it once per day on the trip. For river trips it's 100 grams of fat, 100 grams of protein, and 500 grams of carbohydrate for a total of 3300 calories. For SCUBA trips it's 130 grams protein, 130 grams fat, and 700 grams carbohydrate for a total of 4490 calories. I'm sure I eat that much. I also log a few beers each day. For diving, my computer tells me how many minutes I dive. I kind of ignore how many times I climb ladders. For river trips, it's a guess.



  • sofrancessofrances Member, Premium Posts: 146 Member Member, Premium Posts: 146 Member
    If you have been weighing and logging consistently your eyeball might be pretty well calibrated

    @mtaratoot Only if you regularly eat calorie counted Christmas Dinner! :lol:
    edited December 2020
  • Dootzy1Dootzy1 Member Posts: 915 Member Member Posts: 915 Member
    The celebration includes some feasting. I plan to be selective about what I enjoy to the extent that it doesn't create tremendous stress. That stress can come from throwing all caution to the wind, as well as overly restricting on the special days. We should now be more in touch with what our bodies need. I know that foods are only one thing that make the holiday special.
    edited December 2020
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 18,106 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,106 Member
    sofrances wrote: »
    If you have been weighing and logging consistently your eyeball might be pretty well calibrated

    @mtaratoot Only if you regularly eat calorie counted Christmas Dinner! :lol:

    Now you may be underthinking it a little bit 😉😊.

    I've been weighing/measuring food for a long time, and looking at the package and database entries. If I know what half a cup of dry rolled oats looks like (which I do, even though I weigh them in grams, because I scoop them up with a measuring scoop), I know about what half a cup of buttery rice side-dish looks like. If I know what 150g of mashed Winter squash looks like, I can make a pretty good guess at the mash potatoes with the nice cream & butter in there to make it more tasty, because the density is similar. If I use 2 tablespoons/15-ish grams of vinaigrette on my salad, I have a pretty good idea of what an equivalent amount of turkey gravy is going to look like. And so forth.

    That kind of thing - estimating the portion size of holiday foods not normally eaten, then looking up useful database entries to get a ballpark calorie estimate - that's not a big stretch. Add in the "surruptitiously snap a cell phone photo of your plate" idea, and it's even easier. (Heck, don't even need to be that surruptitious in many crowds at holiday: "This looks so delicious, dear (name of cook) that I just want to take a quick snap so I can look back on this wonderful meal in the doldrums of February".)

    It's not necessary to log or estimate calories for holiday meals, but I agree with @sijomial that those of us who weigh/log most days have some skills we can bring to the task, if we do want to log/estimate it. I've done it sometimes, though I mostly don't anymore.
  • mtaratootmtaratoot Member, Premium Posts: 4,738 Member Member, Premium Posts: 4,738 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    sofrances wrote: »
    If you have been weighing and logging consistently your eyeball might be pretty well calibrated

    @mtaratoot Only if you regularly eat calorie counted Christmas Dinner! :lol:

    Now you may be underthinking it a little bit 😉😊.

    I've been weighing/measuring food for a long time, and looking at the package and database entries. If I know what half a cup of dry rolled oats looks like (which I do, even though I weigh them in grams, because I scoop them up with a measuring scoop), I know about what half a cup of buttery rice side-dish looks like. If I know what 150g of mashed Winter squash looks like, I can make a pretty good guess at the mash potatoes with the nice cream & butter in there to make it more tasty, because the density is similar. If I use 2 tablespoons/15-ish grams of vinaigrette on my salad, I have a pretty good idea of what an equivalent amount of turkey gravy is going to look like. And so forth.

    That kind of thing - estimating the portion size of holiday foods not normally eaten, then looking up useful database entries to get a ballpark calorie estimate - that's not a big stretch. Add in the "surruptitiously snap a cell phone photo of your plate" idea, and it's even easier. (Heck, don't even need to be that surruptitious in many crowds at holiday: "This looks so delicious, dear (name of cook) that I just want to take a quick snap so I can look back on this wonderful meal in the doldrums of February".)

    It's not necessary to log or estimate calories for holiday meals, but I agree with @sijomial that those of us who weigh/log most days have some skills we can bring to the task, if we do want to log/estimate it. I've done it sometimes, though I mostly don't anymore.

    I smell the makings of a fun game here. Submit a picture of your feast, and we can all make our best guesses as to how many calories are on the plate. A description might help, too. If I understand, typical things that might be on your plate are roast goose, ham, pie, and... actually I have no idea what is typical. I don't think I've ever had a Christmas dinner. Around here I think Dungeness crab is not unusual when the season opens in time. Not so many calories there unless dredged in butter or made into fried crab cakes. Cakes? I think there's cakes and cookies, right?

    One year I was at the fish market around that time of year. I miss that fish market. Crotchety old gentleman that got tired of being an attorney and became a fish monger. The building owner raised his rent too high, and a high end grocery store opened with a nice fish market, and that's all she wrote. But I was there one time and he asked if I like squid. I said YES. Apparently he had a customer that only wanted the tubes, not the tentacles. She paid for it all, but asked him to cut off the tentacles. Harry gave me a big container of squid tentacles. That started my tradtiion of Christmas Squid. It's my only tradition for the holiday. Back in the "Before Times" when we could recreate in person, I'd usually do some kind of paddle trip. Not this year. Squid - 90 seconds or 90 minutes.

    What's on your plate?
  • Ikeeptrying2Ikeeptrying2 Member Posts: 140 Member Member Posts: 140 Member
    I am going to eat all the foods. Drink all the drinks and worry about it afterwards. This is what worked for me for 5+ years and I never gain.

    Ditto.
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