Yesterday was a curious day for me but, ultimately, a successful one for which I am very grateful. I did not have any plans to share a holiday meal with any friends. A funny thing happens down here. I think my different groups of friends assume that one of the other groups or couples have invited me to spend the holiday with them. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen this year. One friend did invite me last minute to come for dessert later in the day. Another friend/co-worker was in the same situation and we sort of half-heartedly said that if we had the energy or desire mid-day to go out to a movie together, we’d get in touch. Neither of us did.
For about a week ahead of yesterday, I veered between feeling sorry for myself/lonely/resentful and being completely okay with the circumstances. While I would have liked to be in a group of friends for the human contact and camaraderie, I really, really, really didn’t want the day to be about feasting and overeating. Then again, I did experience some yearning for turkey, some of my favorite side dishes and the like. I just worried over whether the emotions would send me into binge mode.
It was a dilemma for sure, but I approached it with a healthy mindset. From the time I woke up, I was determined that I was going to make this a healthy day for myself. I started out by taking Natty for a longer walk than usual. The weather is gorgeous right now — sunny but cooler — and he and I both enjoyed ourselves. Throughout the day, in between doing other things and watching football, I also did other exercises. I worked out a little with light weights and also did some situps, pushups and planks. At another time, I did a full set of Tai Chi. (By the way, since the rowing gym is closed through the weekend, I did rowing classes Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.)
Our holiday meals always began with a fresh fruit cup. (No, none of that canned stuff. Everything fresh!) I didn’t go full tilt with the full array of fruits Mom and I used to combine, but I cut up an orange, an apple and half of a banana and had it as a snack at lunch along with a small salad.
Not knowing whether I’d end up at an afternoon movie, I had shopped to make myself a healthy but delicious Thanksgiving dinner. I bought turkey thighs, a rutabaga, and yes some boxed stuffing.
Mashed rutabaga aka yellow turnip to some, is my favorite side dish. It was a staple on our family Thanksgiving table. Here’s the good news – it is a cruciferous vegetable, nutritious and delicious. Although I put a little butter in it when mashing, I don’t overdo and I used skim milk. This was, for me, a better choice than mashed potatoes. I feel it also helped counter balance a little bit of stuffing.
Once it was determined that I was staying home, I really enjoyed preparing my meal. I chopped up fresh herbs from my little garden to season the turkey and added chicken stock that I’d made and frozen to keep the meat moist while it roasted. This also made for a delicious gravy after the fact. I used more of the chicken stock in the stuffing, too.
When dinner was ready, I very carefully took appropriate portions instead of overloading my plate. Even with the restricted stomach, if I put too much food on the plate at the outset, I tend to eat too much and then I feel sick and uncomfortable. This ruins my enjoyment physically and emotionally. I am really concentrating on continuing to train my eyes and my serving utensils to put the amounts I should eat… not what I would have eaten in years gone by.
I sat down and savored what I’d made for myself. It was delicious and balanced. I felt really good about how I’d planned and executed my holiday meal.
Now what about dessert, you might be wondering. Yes, I’d put some thought into that as well. I hate feeling deprived of dessert. Emotionally, it’s unhealthy for me to feel deprived and often leads to me wanting more and then bingeing. Last week, I researched and found a recipe for Pumpkin Souffle. Very easy to make with a can of canned pumpkin, evaporated milk, two eggs and half a cup of sugar in the entire thing. I counted up the calories. Per serving, my souffle had only 180 calories. As far as desserts go, this was a winner that I could absolutely fit into my meal plan.
I waited until my main entree settled a bit and then spooned out an appropriate serving and thoroughly enjoyed it.
All told, for me the holiday was a food win. I feel really terrific about how sanely and carefully I planned, cooked and consumed my meal. I’m also pretty darned please with the physical activity that I included in my day. I took care of myself.
The result is that today I am not suffering from a food or binge hangover. I feel good about myself and my recovery and am looking forward to building on this today. I took the day off from work and have some fun activities planned. I started with a healthy protein smoothie for breakfast. Now Natty and I are going out for a walk.
I hope you all had a great day and are enjoying your Fridays.