You know what is really wonderful? A Christmas that is NOT about the food.
I always thought it just wouldn't be Christmas if we didn't have a ton of goodies. Cinnamon rolls, candy, fudge, and cookies are all such a big part of what I identify about Christmas. But this year, even though I still made the goodies, they were not sharing the stage with what was *really* important to me.
Saturday was just awesome. There is something transcendent about baking with my little girl and NOT wondering while we mix whether I will be able to eat some of the cookie dough without the kids seeing or how many warm cookies I will get to eat before they get put on plates. It is very freeing to just focus on the *activity* of baking with a child and the connection and their excitement at doing something fun together. I had the BEST time cooking this year because it was a teaching, bonding, sharing time without the intrusiveness of food obsession. That's the freedom that comes with staying OFF the sugar, for me. It's not bondage to a 'diet.' It's FREEDOM. True freedom.
Since I changed my lifestyle over four years ago (and therefore, by default,changed my kids' lifestyles) I rarely bake. Oh, I make pumpkin bread here or there, and I've always baked their birthday cakes from scratch, but 'way back when' I used to bake several times a week! Brownies, cookies, cakes, and pies were a regular part of the rotation. I am an excellent baker. I gave that up, for the most part, when I changed. It was hard for me. I mourned it for awhile. I tried baking healthier stuff using applesauce for oil, whole wheat flour, and less sugar, but it just wasn't the same and I had to let it go. A side effect of not baking much anymore is that the Christmas baking has become more special. It's not everyday Mom makes cookies, so everyone thoroughly enjoys the rare occasion that I do.
We made lots and lots of cookies (remember, though, there are lots of teen and adult 'kids' here to eat them!) and three kinds of candy in small batches. Would you like to know how many I ate? None. Would you like to know how much batter I tasted, how many spoons I licked, how many little tastes I had? None. You know why? Because I have plenty of kids who tasted everything and said it was all good. I've made these recipes before and I know how they taste. And when I made a lemon frosting for the sugar cookies, my son volunteered to taste it several times as I added lemon extract until it was just right. Thanks, son!
This was only possible for me because I am back in that state of mild (very mild) ketosis that happens when I am eating under 100 grams of carbs per day. Food gets much less BIG in my life and doesn't scream and call to me and look like more than it is. I don't obsess about food constantly and I no longer have the compulsion to eat, eat, eat. I had ten solid days of 100% staying on plan with Medifast before I started baking. It helped tremendously.
We had two special dinners as well: one on Christmas Eve, and the other on Christmas Day. We stuck with tradition, and I did a bit of planning ahead to make it successful.
Christmas Eve dinner was roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, green beans, and sparkling cider. I made a side of mashed cauliflower as well (the kids are not fans of this, but I love it, and it is perfectly on plan and low carb!) My meal was 5.5 ounces of turkey (mostly light meat with a bit of dark), 1 cup of mashed cauliflower, half a cup of green beans, and 2 Tablespoons of gravy. I drank water. It was great! The turkey was moist and juicy and flavorful... best turkey ever! I had skipped my optional snack for the day in order to have that bit of gravy and stay under my allowed carbs, and it worked out fine.
I had planned ahead to take a day off plan on Christmas, but with a strategy: get plenty of protein, watch the carbs, NO sugar, count calories/carbs/fat. I knew my sodium and fat would be high and was okay with that.
Christmas breakfast was sticky buns, scrambled eggs, and bacon. I enjoyed a cup of eggnog flavored coffee with 1/2 cup of scrambled Egg Beaters and two slices of crisp low sodium bacon. Lunch on Christmas is always an appetizer plate (lots of kinds of cheeses and summer sausage, crackers, leftover turkey); I had a couple slices of cheese, 2 slices of summer sausage, and 4 ounces of turkey. My midmorning and afternoon snacks were Medifast meals, and I had an extra mug of coffee with sugar free creamer, too.
Christmas Day dinner was baked spiral sliced ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, cheesy scalloped potatoes, different green beans (with crumbled bacon and sliced almonds), rolls, and sparkling cider. I made a side dish of the cheesy potato recipe using cauliflower instead of potatoes and reduced fat cheese in place of regular. My plate included 4 ounces of ham, 3/4 cup cheesy cauliflower, and 3/4 cup of green beans (which were fantastic, BTW). My dessert later was a Medifast chocolate chip cookie and a cup of peppermint tea.
I logged all my calories for the day and came in under 1900. My fat and salt were high but carbs nice and low (70) and today I am back to 100% on plan.
The best part of Christmas was my children. I love, love, love spending time with them, whether it's baking, playing board games, reading stories, watching old Lassie reruns, or just talking. Everyone loved their gifts, too. I got something I've been wanting for a long time: a gift subscription to BowWowFlix! I am very excited because I can get training videos and work on my dog training goals, which will also help me stay active. And the best gift is the one I gave to myself: peace of mind about food. I am so thankful for that.
Scale this morning says: 205 pounds. That's a three pound loss this week. Drinking lots of water today to get rid of any holiday salt bloat. I hope your holidays were are wonderful as mine was, and that you have many more enjoyable holidays ahead!
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