Thanksgiving can be an extra stressful time for those of us watching the scale or at the very least trying to have healthy alternatives. Although the turkey is definitely in the healthy category (without skin) the rest of the sides just seem to destined to challenge us. If it isn’t the food that is the problem well-meaning relatives or friends may bring the challenge.
Many of us have to split our day among different households therefore eating two dinners. As one member shared one family the Mother likes to serve everyone and serves them exactly the same amount no matter what. Another member shared that a family member is offended if you don’t eat the dish they brought. These won’t be the first or only challenges you will face but be thankful that Thanksgiving is a Day of Food. Remember you do have a choice – you can choose to lose, choose to maintain where you are or choose to gain. None of these choices are wrong – do what works best to make your Thanksgiving enjoyable. Just remember give yourself permission and get right back on the plan the next day no matter what your choice.
Some tips to keep in mind that might help you on Thanksgiving (or any big family gathering):
- Eat smaller portions. Eating some of “Aunt Sue’s” favorite calorie/fat laden dish won’t add as many pounds to you and will go a long way towards appeasing her.
- Schedule time to get out and exercise. Take a walk with the family before or after the meal. Since many of us have to get up early to finish thawing the turkey or get things started – go for a quick walk before everyone else is up. Take that time for yourself then so you can enjoy family and friends later.
- Help out in the kitchen after dinner. Instead of sitting around watching football – move around the kitchen packing up leftovers or clearing dishes.
- If you are hosting the event – send EVERYONE home with leftovers. Less temptation for you if it isn’t in your fridge.
- If you are going to someone’s house bring a dish that is Weight Watchers inspired. I recently held a party where I made nothing but WW recipes – no one even knew and said how good the food was. I was able to enjoy too knowing I was eating healthier versions of those recipes.
- Remember things go better if you plan. Plan ahead as to what you will eat for the big meal.
- Know ahead of time what the point value for certain foods are (see list below). Remember your portion sizes (bring your WW serving spoons – not only are they nice looking but they will help you remember what is a 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, etc.)
- Don’t skimp on meals that day. If try to save up points from breakfast or lunch you may find yourself too hungry by the time the big meal is served and you will more than likely go over on your points. Try to fill up on power foods earlier in the day so you stay satisfied.
- Use the Recipe Builder on e-Tools to take an old family favorite and make it healthier.
- Again, decide what you want to do today (lose, maintain or gain) – this maybe a day of food but it’s really about family and friends.
If this is your first Thanksgiving on Weight Watchers think of it as a learning experience. It is mine and I will take note of what worked for me and what didn’t so that next year I can improve my strategy. I wish all my readers a Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving Menu and Points Plus Values
- Tossed salad, 1 cup (no dressing) – 0 pts.
- 1 Dinner roll (no butter) – 5 pts.
- 1 tsp. Butter (regular) – 1 pts.
- 1 slice Turkey breast (w/skin) 2 oz. – 3 pts.
- Stuffing (1/2 cup) – 3 pts.
- Ham (no glaze) 2 oz. – 3 pts.
- Ham (glazed) 4 oz. – 7 pts.
- Giblet gravy (1/4 cup) – 2 pts.
- Cranberry sauce (1/4 cup) – 3 pts.
- Winter squash (1 cup) – 0 pts.
- Mashed potatoes (1/2 cup) – 3 pts.
- Baked sweet potatoes (1 large) – 4 pts.
- Steamed green beans (1 cup) – 0 pts.
- Green bean casserole (1 cup) – 4 pts.
- Fruit cocktail (light syrup) 1 cup – 4 pts.
- Corn (1 cup) – 4 pts.
- 1 slice Pumpkin pie – 11 pts.
- 1 slice Pecan pie – 14 pts.
- Wine (4 oz.) – 4 pts.
- Coffee or tea (no sweetener) – 0 pts.
Last week our meeting seemed to cover giving ourselves credit. Credit for attending meetings, credit for each pound we lose, credit for so many things. This week our leader, Pat, shared with us a day in her life and how she gave herself permission.
Pat just recently became a Grandmother (again, this is #11!). She was watching the older sibling while Mom and Dad went to the hospital. So they started their day off at Dunkin Donuts where Pat allowed herself to have her favorite donut. Later when they went to visit Mom, Dad and baby brother at GBMC she mentioned that their cafeteria there was “really good stuff”. At first I thought she meant healthy but then I realized she meant it another way. She again gave herself permission to have some of that “good stuff”. She said today was about celebrating, so she did.
This didn’t derail Pat from her journey. One day doesn’t have to ruin your progress. It is okay to give yourself permission once and awhile (it fits into one of the four tenants of Weight Watchers – Don’t Deprive Yourself!). Her timing of the message couldn’t be better. My husband (who is British) and I were having our annual Guy Fawkes Night party later that same day.
So I gave us permission to indulge at our party if we wanted to. Even though I had made the soups for our party all from Weight Watchers recipes I knew others would be bringing tasty breads and yummy desserts to round out the menu. There would be wine and beer served as well as sodas. I gave myself permission to have a glass of wine (although I think I had 3 sips, put it down and forgot about it). I gave myself permission to enjoy some of the cheese bread and the hearty grain bread that was brought. I also gave myself permission to have 1/2 of a slice of cheesecake and 1/2 of a slice of chocolate bomb.
All in all I didn’t do badly on the points front. The main thing is by giving myself permission I didn’t fall into the guilt trap. Giving myself permission ahead of time to enjoy really made a difference. I didn’t feel the least big guilty afterwards or the next day. I just got right back on the plan the following morning. I enjoyed myself so much more at my party by giving myself permission (and I didn’t exploit it at all). So remember while on this journey to give yourself permission once and awhile. By doing that you’ll actually have a better chance of succeeding than if you stay on the straight and narrow all the time.