Being Bruce -: Keeping Your Diet Sanity and Still Enjoying the Holiday Season

Monday, November 26, 2012

Keeping Your Diet Sanity and Still Enjoying the Holiday Season

Phew! We made it through Thanksgiving in the Brown household. We had a wonderful time with family visiting from out of state and we didn't go to extremes. More holidays are on the way, of course, in December and January, and we fully intend to enjoy them with family and friends, including sharing meals and celebrations. That doesn't include writing off the last quarter of the year, nutrition-wise, however. We've found it's actually pretty easy to stick to a rational nutrition program and still enjoy the holidays.

Here's what's going on. During the past two years Marge and I have been gradually changing our diet for better nutrition and health. In that time we've both lost significant weight and body fat, and we've also been taken off cholesterol medication we'd been on for more than a decade prior. There's no way we intend to give back the progress we've made by eating holiday-stupid. At the same time, we aren't trying to force our new healthy eating and exercise habits on anyone, especially family and friends.

Here's what we do. When we entertain at our house we serve a mixture of traditional and healthier foods. For example, for Thanksgiving we served turkey with stuffing and gravy, dinner rolls,  mashed potatoes, home-made cranberry sauce, and home-made apple pie. We also served a roasted root medley and an edamame-based succotash, both of which were big hits (especially the succotash) with our family. At breakfast time we offered to make bacon, eggs, and pancakes and also offered our guests what we were having (Shakeology with coconut milk and mixed berries). The point is that we were able to integrate some our newly found foods into the holiday visit but didn't force them on others.

When we travel, as we will at Christmas, we'll bring along Shakeology to have for breakfast and we'll be careful to focus more on fruits, vegetables, and good protein served by our family and not arrive with a list of dietary demands that we must be served. Our family and friends have been wonderful, partly in providing healthy food choices at mealtimes but also in not trying to force us to eat the typical, unhealthy diet.

One of the major adjustments we've made is that we do not snack. During the holidays calorie and fat-laden snacks abound so it's important to make a personal commitment that we aren't going to graze for two months and lose ground we've so proudly gained earlier in the year.

I don't want to paint the picture that we're totally 'pure' during the holidays. On Thanksgiving, for example, we did have a little turkey, some of our son's fabulous mashed potatoes, and even a hefty piece of Marge's apple pie. Now it's Monday. Our guests are gone. And we're back to healthy eating, which so far today has been Shakeology with mixed berries for breakfast and a micro green salad with quinoa on the side for lunch.

We're enjoying our newfound health and fitness and the fact that we both feel so much better. We don't try to force or cajole our family to eat like we do, but perhaps if we set a good example, we might inspire some of them to make consciously healthy eating choices.