Holiday Encouragement Thread

With Sukkot just past us, Canadian Thanksgiving tomorrow, and Halloween coming up, the round of cooler weather and food related holidays is just beginning. I'm starting this thread so we can support each other, share alternative holiday treat recipes, and just let each other know we're not alone. If there's enough interest I'll set up an actual community but I thought I'd start with this thread.


  • Sand_TIger
    Sand_TIger Posts: 893 Member
    I'll start off: My personal plan is to have one or two days around each major holiday where I can indulge and stay mostly on plan at other times. If I want a treat on other days, it needs to fit in my calories. so that encourages portion control and also finding non calorie treats like exotic herbal teas. I am also including more seasonal fruits and vegetables as well as plenty of herbs and spices, so my healthy food tastes interesting and I don't mind eating it.

    What are your strategies for getting through this time of the year while still enjoying yourself?
  • 1poundatax
    1poundatax Posts: 227 Member
    I like this idea. I am not worried about Halloween as I will not be home so I will not buy candy. Like most of us I don't know what Thanksgiving or Christmas will look like. I like your idea of a day or 2 to indulge and then food needs to fit within your plan. I tend to do a lot of cooking and I know that I will want to this year even if it is just the 2 of us. I know I need to be careful not to use cooking and eating as a means to comfort or distract myself. I think I will try to cut back a little more in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas so I have more of a calorie deficit. And I will remember what a former WW leader used to say- the holiday is a day not a month.
  • Sand_TIger
    Sand_TIger Posts: 893 Member
    That's a really good point how a holiday is a day not a month! Also I totally understand about having to adjust when a person is only celebrating with one other person, or even alone. I think even for my festive foods I'll probably be doing some healthy swaps - like using apple sauce instead of oil in my pumpkin bread and cutting back even more on the sugar, that kind of thing.
  • RunsWithBees
    RunsWithBees Posts: 1,508 Member
    I give myself permission to eat whatever I want on holidays but I make sure I add in some extra physical activity. I like to go on extra walks and hikes on holidays, it’s something fun to do with family/friends too! :)
  • JessBbody
    JessBbody Posts: 523 Member
    The days I plan on going hog wild are Thanksgiving and Christmas only. And by hog wild I mean eating what I want until I'm satisfied, not stuffing my face until I'm sick. I can have anything on the table, just a sensible portion.
    Halloween won't tempt me because I don't like cheap candy.

  • dhiammarath
    dhiammarath Posts: 833 Member
    I stopped seeing holidays as “special permission” days. Instead, I treat them as I would any other day: if I overeat, I just log it and move on. There are rando weekends when I overindulge in something, too, and to me holidays aren’t different than that. Just days where I might indulge more than I would normally. Sometimes I do a little extra (like the one year when I did a 5k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Morning) but in general, I don’t really.

    YMMV, and my results are not going to be the same as yours or another person’s because we’re different. But it’s when I stopped seeing holidays as “special days needing special treatment” that they became less of a “thing” for me.

    Find what works for you, and stick with it! It’s okay, too, if it changes year over year. The best part about the journey is the self-discovery and finding out what works for you so that whatever you do is sustainable in the long term.

    Also, Fall through Winter is my absolute favorite time of the year. I love the flavors and coziness of this time of year. So never forget to *enjoy* life too!

    Gobble gobble, pumpkin pumkin, turkey! XD XD
  • Sand_TIger
    Sand_TIger Posts: 893 Member
    Interesting thoughts, Dhiammarath - your approach makes total sense. For me I think I like a psychological break from logging. I find though that after the holiday is over (1 or at most 2 days) I am kind of glad to get back to my normal routine. I also notice that my body feels better when I get back to it, so I use the day off as a way to remind me that I feel better when I eat healthy and in small portions. For myself, anyway, I otherwise tend to forget.

    So one thing I was thinking we could do is share tips and tricks for making holiday favorites lighter, or include more nutrition in them at least! Like using apple sauce instead of oil in baked goods, that kind of thing.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    I always log. On Thanksgiving I found a super generic entry "Wegmans Thanksgiving" that I believe is 710 calories per serving. I usually just put in the total number of calories I believe I have eaten. Usually it is anywhere from 2 to 3 servings.

    This is my compromise. I am not going to log every side item or worry about measuring on a holiday. It is not that important to get it 100 percent right. I do want a ballpark number though.

    I have 2 rules I never want to break while I am losing and my pact with myself for at least 5 years past:

    1) I "show up" each morning with a plan. It might be to try and move more that day and partially fill up on vegetables before I eat way too much food but it is a plan.

    2) Always log. That is my accountability and awareness system. Even if I am relaxed about how much I am eating if I know I intend to log an approximate I am keeping a certain amount of awareness on calories. Lack of awareness is one of the contributing causes to my gaining so much weight. I will take no breaks - not yet.
  • Sand_TIger
    Sand_TIger Posts: 893 Member
    That's a great thing, to have a plan for every day. And awareness is essential, I agree.
  • Sand_TIger
    Sand_TIger Posts: 893 Member
    So, I'm curious what strategies everyone has for Thanksgiving? Those who celebrate it, that is? Part of my strategy is to enjoy what I have but serve smaller portions in the first place, knowing that my stomach has shrunk enough that overeating too much will lead to discomfort. Then I'm going to eat slower, knowing that it will increase my enjoyment. And I'll get back to logging the very next day.

    We don't really do a lot of heavy desserts on thanksgiving anyway, so it will be a fairly high protein day - I intend to have lots of turkey. There will be stuffing and potatoes too as well as a couple of side dishes, but at least it will be low in refined sugar. And that's something, isn't it? LOL
  • MaxCat1000
    MaxCat1000 Posts: 40 Member
    Smaller plates. In my friends' holiday dish set, they wind up using the dinner plates and the salad plates because they have so many people over. I try to remember to grab one of the smaller plates because the same amount of food on the bigger plate doesn't look like much! It really makes a difference for me, and if I get stuck with a larger plate I have to be very conscious of how much I am putting on it (and to spread it around so people don't say "is that all you're having?") I have done this at church pot lucks too - they have the biggest Chinette plates and I have to go get the regular size cheapo paper plates!
  • davemcv6730
    davemcv6730 Posts: 78 Member
    I’m thinking:

    Tuna & wheat bread
    650kcal workout

    Less carbs (potatoes, biscuits etc.)
    More protein (meats)
    No dessert (don’t really go for them anyway)
    No beer (drink of choice will be multiples of - 50ml of vodka, with 50ml of cranberry light and 300ml water with ice in a large glass)

    Anyway thats the
  • Sand_TIger
    Sand_TIger Posts: 893 Member
    edited November 2020
    Those both sound like great plans! I love using smaller dishes. It really helps a smaller amount of food feel more satisfying. Since I use bowls a lot more than plates in everyday cooking, I got a couple sets of really neat Japanese style rice bowls. They are meant to hold about a cup of rice, and are visually appealing.
    LGS_RFS Posts: 78 Member
    I had to change things up today since there is no work. Ended up hitting the gym in the morning instead of during lunch. 450-500cal meals for both breakfast and lunch. This will allow me to eat a little more than normal for dinner.

    @Sand_TIger i like the thought of using Japanese bowls and might try it out.
  • Sand_TIger
    Sand_TIger Posts: 893 Member
    Japanese bowls are so neat looking! They are also kind of appealing to hold in the hand. And if a person eats with chopsticks, it can slow their intake too.
  • Sand_TIger
    Sand_TIger Posts: 893 Member
    Reviving this thread so I can share a healthy holiday recipe. This one is really helping me with my baked goods cravings.

    Lower calorie pumpkin muffins:

    Full of nutrition. Less than 150 cals each (or lower depending on how you make them)!

    2 cups flour of your choice (I like spelt)

    1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup maple syrup OR sweetener of your choice

    1/3 cup powdered milk of choice OR 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

    pinch salt

    1 tsp baking powder

    1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, to taste

    2 eggs (could also use egg whites)

    1 can pumpkin puree (not pie filling, can also use frozen pumpkin)

    Mix dry ingredients. mix wet ingredients until you have a batter. Scoop into muffin tin. I like using silicone muffin liners or else they stick like heck.

    Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, let rest for ten minutes before eating. \

    These are really good with Greek yogurt and sugar free pudding topping, by the way. You make that by mixing 2 ounces of nonfat Greek yogurt with a spoonfull of sugar free jello pudding mix, and stirring well.

    Note: This recipe is really flexible, you might need a bit more baking powder than this. In my experience, even people who normally hate "diet food" love these.
  • Sand_TIger
    Sand_TIger Posts: 893 Member
    edited November 2022
    Here's another healthier holiday recipe:

    Low sugar, low fat peanut butter cups

    Low sugar chocolate chips (I like Lily's dark chocolate chips but others are available)
    PBFit or other powdered peanut butter such as PB and Me
    Cupcake liners (I love using silicone ones, they are so easy to clean)

    The amount you use will depend on what your calorie needs are. For example, you might use two tablesppons of peanut powder and 1/4 cup of chocolate chips per cup, resulting in roughly 120 calories per cup.

    Start by mixing the peanut powder with a little water, till it feels like thick dough.

    In a small dish, gently melt the chocolate chips in microwave, 30 seconds at a time and stirring frequently. Pour a thin layer onto the bottom of the cupcake liner.

    Form the peanut dough into a disk shape and lay it on top of the chocolate. Quickly pour the remaining chocolate on top. Freeze or refrigerate until firm.

    These look like something made by Reese's but taste a lot better! The process is the same no matter what kind of chocolate or peanut powder you use. You could also use other nut butter as you choose. You can even use mini liners to make smaller ones.

    I can tell you that even non dieters like these and I enjoy them more than the sugar free peanut butter cups made by Russell Stover. They are bigger, for one thing. Best of all, they don't give the, erm, gastrointestinal problems often caused by maltitol!
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,547 Member
    When I lost weight back in 2012/2013 I started over the holiday season (US) and was pretty successful. I maintained for the most part up until 2020 and COVID and put on 20 Lbs over the course of 2020 and 2021 and maintained that for all of 2022 but I'm ready to take it off. Over those years of maintaining my healthy weight I just let the holidays be the holidays and always put on 8-10 Lbs over the course of November and December knowing that I would pretty easily take it off come spring and the start of my cycling season.

    This season I'm just going back to what I did in Nov/Dec of 2012 when I was losing weight which was basically enjoy Thanksgiving day and enjoy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but keep it pretty locked down for most of the season otherwise.

    This time of year was also my off training time in years past so I didn't do much in the way of exercise basically from Oct - Dec to take a break from endurance cycling and rest up. I'm not really training these days so I don't need a break from anything so I'm walking every morning when I get up, lifting 3x per week, and cycling or mountain biking or hiking on the weekends with the occasional mid week spin or two on the indoor trainer (dark/cold).

    This season should be easier than it has been in the recent past for me to watch my issue has never really been the feast day itself, it's that we usually have had family in town and we end up eating out a ton in addition to our feast day meals. This year we're traveling for Thanksgiving but will only be there for Thanksgiving day and the day after so not a whole lot of damage can be done there. We also have a 3 mile Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning and my MIL has a good day hike in the Tucson foothills planned for the following day. Christmas we are on our own so we won't be going out to eat and entertaining this year. My mom and her boyfriend will come over for Christmas dinner and that's about all that's going on this season.
  • Sand_TIger
    Sand_TIger Posts: 893 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    This season should be easier than it has been in the recent past for me to watch my issue has never really been the feast day itself, it's that we usually have had family in town and we end up eating out a ton in addition to our feast day meals. This year we're traveling for Thanksgiving but will only be there for Thanksgiving day and the day after so not a whole lot of damage can be done there. We also have a 3 mile Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning and my MIL has a good day hike in the Tucson foothills planned for the following day. Christmas we are on our own so we won't be going out to eat and entertaining this year. My mom and her boyfriend will come over for Christmas dinner and that's about all that's going on this season.

    Thanks for stopping by! I hear you on everything you say but especially this last point. I don't mind having a couple feast days as they have pretty minimal impact, it's all the little extras that creep in around the edges. Whether it's baking holiday cookies (just a few) or going out to eat or using up leftovers, plus cold weather making me not want to move around, there are a lot of potential pitfalls.

    My plan for this year is to make a small amount of my favorite high calorie foods for the actual day, but plan it so most of my leftovers are lower calorie and higher nutrition - things like turkey stew and my sugar free cranberry invention, stuff like that.
  • Sand_TIger
    Sand_TIger Posts: 893 Member
    Low Calorie Cranberry Sauce

    If you have a crock pot or instant pot, this is even easier!

    1 bag fresh cranberries (12 to 16 ounces)
    2 large boxes sugar free Jell-O of choice (cherry and raspberry flavors work well)
    Stevia or other low calorie sweetener of choice

    Take about a quart of water and cook the berries in it until they are soft and popped open. I love using a Crock pot for this, it makes it so easy. Strain off some of the hot liquid and stir in the Jell-O powder. Add additional sweetener to taste, if needed. Add both to a refrigerator safe container and refrigerate until firm.

    Note: You could make a full sugar version of this if you want. If you don't like the whole berry kind, you could puree the berries after cooking and before adding the the Jell-O. You could also add things like orange zest or different spices as you like.