Weighty Matters

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Not Focused on Feasting

We’re heading into Thanksgiving week. I’m grateful for so much I’d run short of numbers of I tried to count all of my blessings.

Last year, I don’t remember if I connected with anyone for Thanksgiving. I know that on the day after I started a three day Dr. Oz detox. I worked very hard to not focus on food. I was afraid that I would feel all resentful and deprived because I couldn’t feast like I once had and send myself into a food coma. This year, I am again not focusing on Thanksgiving Day as an opportunity to overeat. I have no plans for a big dinner fest. Instead, a friend and I are going to do something — depending on the weather. Right now I’m hoping for a great boating day.

I was thinking about the family Thanksgiving dinners we had over the years. We were nothing if not generous with the amount of food and variety of dishes that we prepared, put on the table, and then scooped onto our plates. I was just remembering one in particular when my brother came home from college. When he went away to school he became a non-meat eater and committed to a much healthier way of eating that he’s maintained for 42 years. He was pretty opinionated about it when he first came home. I remember him making his own yogurt and granola too. That one Thanksgiving, he looked at the table with the perfectly browned humongous turkey and plethora of side dishes and proclaimed some obnoxious comment about the carbohydrate binge.

You know what? He was right. Accompanying the turkey, we had chestnut stuffing, mashed white potatoes and candied sweet potatoes plus “traditional” green bean casserole complete with the fried onion ring things on top, and mashed rutabagas, which most people considered turnips. I think there was usually a big bowl of homemade cole slaw too and dinner rolls, plus cranberry sauce or cranberry relish. That was all before the pies were served for dessert — pumpkin and apple for sure.

It was all homemade and incredibly delicious! We’d go back for seconds, or even thirds, on our favorites.

If I went to that kind of feast now, even if I took the smallest dab of each of those dishes, I’d be full to the point of it coming back up again before I got past the third choice.

Wow. For the sake of my health and well-being, I am thankful that I am not motivated to eat like that any longer, and that my surgically-altered stomach prevents me from doing so if I’m tempted. However, I’d be lying if I said that I don’t have a few nostalgic yearnings for some of those foods. Without even thinking about it, I’ve come up with a plan.

At the store yesterday, I bought a single rutabaga, a white sweet potato, and some green beans. Over the next week, I’m going to make these and eat them at different meals. I’m also going to buy a small package of chestnuts, roast them and eat them plain without adding them to any bread stuffing.

I never studied the nutritional breakdown of a rutabaga before but I looked it up today. A cup has around 7 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fiber. I know that the sweet potato and chestnuts have significantly more carbs but I’m not planning to overeat on any of them so I am confident that I can work them into a healthy eating plan.

By spreading out these dishes over several days and meals, I can enjoy the flavor favorites of the holidays and not engage in unhealthy gorging. (Gorging is all relative after weight-loss surgery, but you get the idea.) I think that I will savor and enjoy them all the more for choosing to consume them within the guidelines of healthier eating.