Waging War Against Holiday Weight Gain

"Clean" Pecan PieI don’t know about you, but I feel a little squishy after the festivities surrounding Thanksgiving. While I didn’t completely pig out, I definitely ate my share of extras. It wasn’t really the holiday dinner that did me in. My sister and her husband prepared what had to be the most healthy Thanksgiving meal one could make. Yet, it was absolutely delicious! They have been following the 30 Clean diet where they’ve cut out all grain, dairy and processed food. They both look great. I appreciate all the work they put into making such a healthy, yet super yummy meal all without overdoing it with superfluous dishes and extra fat and calories. No, it wasn’t their meal that made me feel like putting on my “Thanksgiving pants”. It was the pancakes I had for breakfast, plus the pecan pie and pumpkin roll that I made for dessert, the Pumpkin Paws chocolate truffles my mom brought, plus the birthday cake I had at my dad’s surprise 65th birthday party the next night. I did get in my own little Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, but then spent the weekend bonding with my family instead of exercising. Time well spent.

50 Lbs. AgoOn Saturday before we left Michigan, I was looking through old photos my mom put together in a special photo book for my dad’s birthday. I noticed how much heavier I looked in many of the photos. I don’t have those exact photos, but here’s one that is a similar example. Yes, I had just had John a couple of months before, but I was about 40 pounds heavier than my goal weight. Those pictures were all I needed to help motivate me to keep from putting on extra weight this holiday season. While I currently weigh five or so pounds more than the skinniest I became after losing 60 pounds since having John, I don’t want to let that 5 pounds turn into 10 or more over the next month. So I am waging war against holiday weight gain.

Want to join in with me? Here’s the menu that I plan to follow for this first week of December. If I have enough people following along, I will share another menu for each of the next five weeks. Let’s help each other stay motivated. We can follow each other’s progress through my Facebook page. Please comment on this post if you plan to join in. I am not an expert or a dietitian, but I do have the experience of losing 60 pounds and keeping it off now for a couple of years. Ok, enough talk. Here’s my plan.

MENU PLAN

Rather than tell you exactly what to eat each day, I’m providing you with some options to choose from for each meal. I know I have struggled in the past with meal plans that tell me what to eat every day because some times I don’t like the option they’ve provided for one meal or I don’t have the ingredients on hand to make it. This meal plan provides flexibility in the craziness of every day life as a mother. You can pick a quicker meal or have leftovers on a night when you are driving your kids around to dance class and swim practice. You can choose different lunches based on whether you are at home, at work or running errands. I didn’t get super detailed with measurements and instructions here because they are all so simple, plus I wanted to get this out to you as soon as possible before the Peppermint Bark gets to you first.

BREAKFAST

Mango ParfaitChoose from one of these breakfasts each day

  • Yogurt Parfait – 5 or 6 oz. of plain, non fat, Greek yogurt with one cup of berries, mango or any fruit. Top with two tablespoons sliced raw almonds or nuts. Drizzle with honey if you need a little more sweetness.
  • Veggie Omelet – Saute your favorite veggies (onions, peppers, mushrooms or spinach are good) in a small saucepan. Scramble two eggs or three egg whites and pour over veggies. Fold in half when cooked. Serve with sprouted wheat toast or fruit.
  • Cereal with Fruit – One cup of whole grain cereal, my favorite brand these days is Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes with 1/2 cup skim milk. Skip all the sugary stuff. Top with one small sliced banana.
  • Almond Butter and Banana Toast – Spread one or two pieces of sprouted wheat toast, I use Alvarado Street Flax, with one tablespoon almond butter. Top with one sliced banana.

LUNCH

Egg White SandwichChoose from one of these lunches each day

  • Open Face Egg White Sandwich – Scramble three egg whites or one whole egg. Spread one tablespoon prepared guacamole on one or two slices of sprouted wheat toast or smash three slices of avocado on bread. Top with 1/2 cup spinach or greens and cooked eggs. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Serve with ten baby carrots and one tablespoon hummus.
  • Salad with your choice of greens (4 cups). Top with your favorite veggies. I like to use cucumbers, carrots, olives, garbanzo beans, one hard boiled egg or 3 oz. grilled chicken breast.
  • Almond Butter & Honey Sandwich – Two slices of sprouted wheat bread. One tablespoon almond butter or natural peanut butter. One teaspoon honey or all natural fruit spread (lately I’ve been using Crofter’s Brand). Serve with fruit.
  • Open Face Tuna Melt – Mix one can of tuna with one or two tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, salt, pepper, lemon juice and dill. Spread on one slice of sprouted wheat toast. Top with 1/2 slice swiss cheese. Toast in toaster oven. Serve with veggies and hummus.

DINNER

Veggie ChiliChoose from one of these dinners each day

  • Veggie Chili – My veggie chili recipe is super quick and easy to make. Plus you’ll have leftovers for the next night. Serve with baked potato or salad.
  • Chicken Breast baked with olive oil, salt and pepper (or Garlic Expressions salad dressing). Serve with baked sweet potato topped with two tablespoons chopped pecans and a side of vegetables.
  • Burrito Bowl – Saute bell peppers and onions with nonstick spray or a drizzle of olive oil. Prepare brown rice and toss with lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper. Heat canned black beans. Chop leftover chicken breast from meal above. Serve with chopped avocado and a sprinkle of cheese.
  • Broiled Salmon with Dill – Brush a drizzle of olive oil on top of fish. Sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and pepper and dried dill. Top with lemon slices. Broil at 500 degrees for about 15 minutes or until top of fish is brown and crispy. Serve with brown rice drizzled with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper or couscous and vegetable of your choice.

SNACKS

Choose two of these snacks each day

  • LARABAR any flavor
  • Apple, Banana or 2 cups of any fruit
  • Whole, raw almonds or other raw nuts (1/4 cup)
  • Carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, celery (2 cups)
  • Cottage cheese (1/2 cup)

If you stick to three of these meals plus two of these snacks each day, you should total about 1200 calories per day, which is the minimum anyone should be eating. Do not eat less than that or you will be hungry and cheat later on.

Don’t forget to work in a bit of exercise most days. My goal is to do 30 to 40 minutes of cardio at least five days a week, plus 15 or 20 minutes of strength training. In my experience, if you try to do more exercise than this each day you will end up being hungry ALL THE TIME and you will end up overcompensating because, again, you will constantly be HUNGRY. Don’t starve yourself and don’t kill yourself in the gym. CONSISTENCY is the key!

If you’re craving an extra snack after the kids go to bed, have a little something. I keep Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt bars that are only 80 calories in the freezer or sometimes I freeze yogurt with fruit in it for a little while. It satisfies my sweet tooth and keeps me from getting into something much worse and derailing my plan. Let me know if you are following along!

Here’s me and my big girl at my Dad’s birthday party, feeling very full. Feeling better already after starting fresh today.

Me and My Big Girl

 

 

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