It is that time of year. The eating season begins. Ok, I mean the holiday season. In the United States, Thanksgiving is this upcoming Thursday and then it is seemingly never ending food challenges until the New Year.
Last year, I posted my tips for eating during the holidays. I won’t repeat those tips, but do suggest checking out that post if you are looking for ideas.
As many of you know from my earlier posts, I have been struggling and off track some the past few months. I am finally getting back in gear. Last week I did well. I still was a little higher on calories per day than I wanted to be, but I was over 200 calories a day less than the week before. So, I will call that a win. The week was often frustrating as there wasn’t much movement on the scale. But, Sunday morning, I weighed myself at home and was done 1.7 pounds from the day before. Go figure.
I really didn’t do anything wonderful Saturday. I actually ate out at Panera. My overall calorie count was pretty good, though. But, it was clear to me Sunday morning that I had released some fluid retention. Part of that may have been that I took a corticosteroid this week and that tends to make me retain fluids. I didn’t really think about it at that time, but I suspect that is the main reason nothing much happened during the week.
Anyway, as of this morning, I am back to where I was in mid-September. I am not totally where I want to be, but I am much closer. The big key for me is to have a good week this week. Since I know we will be having Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday and I will be having family here during the week, I elected not to go out to eat on Sunday. We often go out to eat on both Saturday and Sunday, but this week I elected to go out only on Saturday. And, I chose to go to Panera where I can eat very carefully.
I am actually looking forward to the holiday season from a weight standpoint. I know, I know. That sounds weird. But I often lose weight during this period. I just checked back on my Weight Watchers weigh ins. This covers from about this time in November until the first January weigh in.
2010 – 7.4 pounds lost
2011 – 2 pounds lost
2012 – Was not attending meetings (sigh)
2013 – 6.2 pounds lost
2014 – .2 pounds lost
2015 – .8 pounds lost
So, not a bad record. Except for the year I was not even doing Weight Watchers, I lost at least something during this period. It did slow down the last couple of years. Last year I was at goal weight as of July so losing .8 pounds over this period of time was great. 2014 was a time when I was really at a plateau.
But, as you can see, I don’t really gain during the holiday season if I am keeping track of stuff. And, I think it is for a simple reason. I am so aware of how easy it is to gain weight during this time of year. Wait, let me go look at something. OK, I wasn’t going to Weight Watchers during late 2012. In October, 2012 I weighed in at 184 and didn’t go back until late February, when I weighed in at 194.8 pounds. A gain of 10.8 pounds. But, I did occasionally weigh at home during that period. On November 18, 2012, I weighed 183.6 pounds (my Withings scale keeps track of when I weigh on it). I apparently closed my eyes and didn’t think about controlling weight for the next two months because the next time I weighed was not until January 27th. By then, I was at 191.3 pounds. So, I gained 7.7 pounds over a two month period.
And, I know that can happen again. If I decide not to watch closely what I eat, I will gain weight over the holidays. I will enjoy the food, but later on I will be miserable. And, it can take a long time to lose the gained weight. I didn’t get back to where I was in November, 2012 until January, 2014. Basically, I lost a full year losing what I gained in 2 months! I don’t want to go back to that. I don’t want to experience that again. Even maintaining or losing a tiny amount is far, far superior to gaining during this time.
For that reason, I tend to be more vigilant at this time of year than any other time of year. I am hyper-aware of what I am doing. I am careful when I eat out to eat at places where I can have a good meal, but for reasonable points and calories. I save most of the extra eating for the holiday itself. I do eat a little more on that day, but I record and count everything. Just the constant awareness during this time of year helps me stay on track.
Some may wonder if this takes away from the enjoyment of the holiday season. It does not. Sure, in some ways, I loved it during 2012 when I ate whatever I wanted to. I am sure I had some great meals. Four years later, I don’t remember them, though. I just remember gaining the weight and how hard it was to lose it. And, in those times when I am out of control on eating, some part of me knows that. On the surface, I am loving it. But, somewhere within me I know that I am doing something that I will be sorry about later. I try not to think about it, but it is still there. I don’t like that feeling, so now I work really hard to eat in the way that aligns with my real goals.