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Post-Thanksgiving but Not Post-Thankful

I hope that you all had a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday.  I enjoyed being with friends who are part of my work family.  We shared each other’s company, good will, and delicious food.  While I ate a little too much, I didn’t stuff.  I also enjoyed a few, satisfied internal chuckles when I compared my plate yesterday with what I used to heap on a plate and devour in the years before weight loss surgery.  It’s all perspective and stomach size that determines what’s too much these days.

Today, I’m engaged in what has become a mini-tradition — the post-Thanksgiving three-day detox.  I follow a plan that I discovered a couple of years ago on Dr. Oz which involves drinking four vegetable-fruit-nut-seed based drinks a day for three days along with some green tea.  The first time I did this detox, I felt really great during and after the three days.  I think the plan gives my body some relief, flushes out some icky stuff and, somehow, resets my metabolism.  Whatever the case, a few days of healthy drinks sure can’t hurt.

We’re closing in on the end of November.  Every day I’ve continued to acknowledge something(s) or someone or several someones for which I am grateful.  Even though it’s after that day of Thanksgiving, I am by no means past the time when I feel thankful.

I’ve known for years that embracing gratitude helps me, but I’ve never truly delved into figuring out why this is so.  I see various self-help leaders promote gratitude, read quotes all over the internet and, still, don’t know why gratitude is so often suggested.

So today I started Googling to see what I could learn.  Overall, the consensus is that gratitude is, indeed, a powerful force.

This blog post here has what I thought were great ideas, and also some useful suggestions.  The fact that it is not from a well-known self-help “guru”, but from someone who is a corporate coach for potential entrepreneurs did not detract from the message.  I particularly like what it says about expanding our focus, turning on our  natural well-being, and allowing ourselves to unconditionally accept and celebrate ourselves.

Then there’s this article by Robert Emmons, who is touted as a leading scientific expert on gratitude.  I’m interested in what he says and plan to look into his books.  This link goes to a site for the Greater Good Science Center, affiliated with the University of Berkeley.   I love that there is something called the Greater Good Science Center and need to poke around on the site some more.  Among other things in the article, Dr. Emmons says, “Gratitude also goes against our need to feel in control of our environment. Sometimes with gratitude you just have to accept life as it is and be grateful for what you have.”

That really resonates with me and connects to an important aspect of my 12 Step program.  In the Serenity Prayer, we ask for the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Serenity starts with acceptance.  It looks like gratitude fosters acceptance, so it stands to reason that it might be a stepping stone to serenity.

There are several more sites and articles, but it sounds like they all have variations on the things I read at these two sites.  I enjoyed taking the information in, absorbing it and pondering what it means to me, how it feels, and what I can take away from it and use in my own life’s journey.

Along the way, I started thinking of the optimist-pessimist description of whether one sees a glass as half-full or half-empty.  For the most part, I think of myself as an optimist, but sometimes life throws challenges and painful situations at even the most optimistic of us.  Those times are the ones when I know I most need to dig down and connect with my gratitude.  At those moments it doesn’t matter whether the glass is half-full or half-empty.  I need to be thankful that I have a glass at all.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

For the month of November, I’ve made a point of recognizing and claiming something, or someone, or multiple things or persons, for which I am grateful.  Embracing gratitude each day grounds me in the wonderfulness of today and expands my heart.  Even if I’m experiencing other, more negative things – like stress or upset or whatever – I can still look inside and connect with thankfulness.  This practice enhances my life.

I am a fortunate woman.  I have much for which to give thanks, not just today, but every day.  I never want to forget this or take it for granted.  Claiming and publicly acknowledging my gratitude might only happen in November, but every day when I wake up I acknowledge it to myself and to my Higher Power.  Again, it helps.

I’m celebrating Thanksgiving today with my work family at the home of friends.  I’m putting together an antipasto platter and making some mini jalapeno souffles for appetizers.  It’s expected to be quite the gathering.  We’ll enjoy good food and good company.  Hopefully later in the day, I’ll also enjoy a good football game.  (Watching, not playing.  Go, Eagles!)

For now, I want to acknowledge my gratitude for all of you reading this blog.  I am thankful for your presence and energy, for the comments you make, and also for the silent support.  You enhance this journey and I am thankful.

Wishing you all a spectacular day!

 

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Giving Thanks

It’s early afternoon on Thanksgiving Day. A cold spell arrived in the Keys yesterday. Now, this is all relative because what’s cold to us isn’t to most of the country, but it’s chilly enough that I’m about to either put on socks or slippers.

I’m spending this holiday exactly as I choose. About a month ago I looked into getting a flight to Atlanta where one of my nephews was suddenly transferred but I couldn’t find one that wouldn’t cost me an arm, leg, and a few other needed body parts. Several friends invited me to join them for dinner today. I graciously declined, at least I hope they thought I was gracious. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate it and I’m not a hermit, by any means. It’s just that for last year and this one, I didn’t have the urge to be part of a feast. I know, I know, it’s all about being with friends and/or family. I love my friends and enjoy spending time with them but I see them all of the time and this particular holiday really does focus so much on food and feasting. I wanted to focus on relaxing, enjoying some me-time, and not get caught up in a food frenzy.

That doesn’t mean that I won’t eat. I bought some turkey tenderloins that are brining as we speak. At least, that’s what I believe they’re doing. I plunked them in a pan full of water and added different seasonings a few hours ago. I’ve never actually brined anything before but it seems like a simple concept. I have some crisp green beans to cook later and a little bit of stuffing to which I’ll add some chestnuts that I roasted earlier today. I’m sure that everything will be delicious when I cook it in a few hours.

I thought I’d sleep in this morning, but my body’s grown accustomed to waking up around 6. I stretched it to 7 and then rolled out, dressed and took the dogs for a mile and a half walk. I came home and puttered around the house for a few hours and then called up a friend to see if she wanted to join me on another walk. She lives near the closest beach so I loaded Nat and Pyxi into the car and met her at her house. It was a nice stroll down to the beach, around the little park and then back to her house. My dogs probably wonder what they did to deserve the extra exercise. They’re napping now. Little do they know they’re going out again later this afternoon. It’s my holiday and if taking walks is how I want to spend it, then that’s how it’s going to be. 🙂

Today, on the day of giving thanks, I am grateful for so many different things. My friends and family for the love we share. My job that fulfills, challenges, and energizes me. All of you in the Weighty Matters blog community who offer support, encouragement, and so often come here and share of yourselves too. I give thanks for the health and fitness that enable me to enjoy all of the other great things.

Today I am also grateful for the clarity of mind and calmness of spirit that hold me in a good, steady balance. I am so blessed.

Wishing you and yours a lovely Thanksgiving.

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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.

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