Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Weigh-In: Strategies for Not Gaining Weight Over the Holidays Or When Visiting Parents

This is a weird week - I was off yesterday since we flew back from Michigan, and I’ll be off again on Friday for the end of Passover. Three day weeks are the best.

Our time in Michigan, where John and I stayed with his mother, stepfather, sister, brother, and stepfather’s kids, was lovely. We ended up doing some puzzles together, which I always forget how much I enjoy until I do them.

Food wise, I made mostly good choices and some not so great, but overall I think it averaged out to “okay.” There were definitely a few places where I took a portion that was larger than necessary, or had a bit of wine even though I didn’t really want it. On the flip side, I was mindful of snacking, never had seconds of anything, and tried to make the focus on family and not food. My mother-in-law happened to have bought mostly cake and cookie mixes and not actual sweets, and in the end nobody bothered to make them. For someone like me, who’s a lot more tempted by a cookie than some chips, that was good.

This week’s weigh-in happened this morning like normal:

Lbs. Fat82.772.570.370.867.165.366.564.665.162.762.760.360.8
Lbs. Muscle 67.366.865.267.363.964.468.

I am, actually, quite okay with that weight. That burst of fat loss is still holding. The weight itself feels like a backswing that’s balancing out the insane four-pound loss from the previous week. Thirty pounds down from my highest. However long that took doesn’t matter, the gains and losses don’t matter. What matter is that five years ago a weighed thirty pounds more, and now, not only do I weigh less, I actually have a better relationship with food, am fitter, and happier. I really, really, hope it doesn’t take me another five years to lose the next thirty pounds, but even if it does, I think I’ll be just as proud. Losing weight is hard, so no matter how slowly it happens, it’s still an accomplishment.

I’ve also finally figured out some of the strategies that I think work for me during holidays, or just generally when I'm in unfamiliar or junk-food-filled environments: 

Don’t Snack

    • This is actually something that happened naturally during the last year or so. I’ve stopped snacking. Sometimes I’ll get a bit hungry at noon or so, but then I just figure I’ll have lunch soon.
    • My goal is to get each meal to take me to the next meal. Sometimes I’ll have some fruit if I really want something, or if I just happen to bring it, but overall the snacks are pretty much non-existent.
    • This no-snacking custom is easier to maintain in an office setting than a “home” setting, since the second one gives much easier access. However, I’m really aiming to just cut out the snacking when I’m home. Looking back, that’s definitely one of the things that takes me over the edge from an “okay, pretty good” day to a “crap, oh well that was not great” kind of day.

No Seconds
  • Again, probably another no-brainer for most people, but avoiding seconds is something I only just started to realize on my own
  • Seconds are overrated - I’ve already had a portion of the things, and I’m usually full by that point. Seconds usually comes out of boredom or just because the food is right in front of me, and rarely because I’m actually still hungry

I figure if I can really focus on these two rules, I will be able to have a successful rest of the holiday. Those rules mean that the only food I eat is during meals, and during firsts and not seconds. Of course if I’m actually really hungry between meals I’ll have a snack, but it’s not something that comes up often.

We’ll be at my parents from Thursday through Sunday this week. My goal is to just be mindful and not gain, basically. It’s only a few days. I've been on a good roll lately, and want to keep it going.

In other news, I’ve been crap lately about getting to the gym in the morning. I’m still working out 4-5 times a week, but now it’s been during lunch or after work. This is just due to plain old not getting to bed on time. I know all the advantages of going in the morning, I need to start doing this.

Overall, I'm feeling good, I'm feeling confident about this. Now I just need to bottle and save this feeling for the next time I feel like crap. Positive thinking!


  1. I love your approach! I can see that once you have decided to do something, like no snacking, you just stick to it. Some people work better when they snack more often, but what's more important is that whatever you decide, really stick with it like you! So great!! I like the no seconds too--usually it's just because it's in front of you. We keep our extra food far away from us when we eat dinner to help with that!

    1. Thank you! I'm definitely not 100% on all the time, but always having these guidelines as a baseline to go back to has been really helpful. When I'm off, I know how to get right back on. I like the idea of keeping the extra food away!