How I Conquered Holiday Dinner

If you don’t already know, I should tell you: I love my family. I love my family — both immediate and extended — with a love so big it could eclipse the sun. I love our traditions. I love our holidays. I love our chats and our laughs and our memories. I love the way we protect one another and lift one another up and celebrate one another. My family — brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma, my parents, everyone — means the world to me.

And so holidays, then, are an important time. As you’re probably aware, this past weekend marked the Christian celebration of Easter, which is a big day in my family. My aunt and uncle and their daughters drive in from Virginia; we have a blessed breakfast at my mom’s house where my dad’s side of the family comes and joins us; we sing in the church choir at all the masses of the Easter Triduum. We have a big dinner at my gram’s.

Though I’m a Unitarian Universalist now, I love the Catholic celebration of Easter and have been looking forward to seeing my family and experiencing the rich and beautiful traditions of the season.

What else was I looking forward to? THE FOOD.

We are VERY Polish, and so Easter is a time for kielbasa and raisin bread and potato salad and ham. And my Aunt Maryjane, who drove in from Virginia with her husband, daughters and very sweet little dog (Antony!), is an incredible cook and an even more incredible baker. And so the Easter feast is not to be missed!

As the weeks near the holiday drew closer, I thought about how I might manage my WW skillz while still enjoying the holiday. Should I count points? Work out extra? Eat less? Party down and eat whatever for a day? I didn’t want to set myself back, and I didn’t want to miss out on some of the best food of the year. What to do?

Here’s what I did.

I ran 25 miles in the week leading up to Easter, and did not run (but did go for long walks both days with my mom and Gracie) on Saturday or Sunday.

On Saturday, I ate things I would normally eat. AKA, no weeklies or activity points consumed.

On Sunday, at my mom’s absolutely delicious blessed breakfast, I limited myself to two small kielbasa pieces, one slice of raisin bread, a small slice of ham, two egg whites, and cottage cheese. Everything was divine.

At dinner, I made sure I filled half my plate with salad (the salad was a delight — apples, berries, mixed greens, etc.) and I filled the other half with the treats I wanted most: more kielbasa (so Polish, I know), and a few slices of homemade raisin bread (AAH SO GOOD) and some sweet potato casserole. Then, for dessert, my aunt had made this layered, berry-having, light-cream-cheese-and-pudding-having, shortcake layered concoction — I don’t know how else to describe it. I do know, though that I had some of it and it was WORTH. EVERY. POINT.

I calculated what I ate for the day and was shocked to find out that every 3 oz of kielbasa is 7PP. I weighed out five pieces of kielbasa (since I’d eaten 5 throughout the day) and got the weight and calculated it.. I HAD EATEN 17PP OF KIELBASA. Oh well. #noregrets. I calculated everything else, too, and all told, I ate all my dailies and about 17 of my activities/weeklies, which left about 60 of those points left untouched! I was pleased.

Then, this morning, I decided to weigh myself to see what the weekend’s damages had been.

And lo and behold: I lost 0.3 lbs! An Easter miracle indeed.

All this is to say the following: If you exercise, plan ahead, save your points, and don’t starve-then-binge (what a foolish thing to do, fellow WW-ers, starving all day then eating holiday dinners until you’re sick — so many people posted online that they did exactly this and felt like crap after. Well, no wonder! Your body wasn’t designed for that!) but rather eat calmly and with control throughout the day — then you, too, can eat your fill at Easter dinner and even have dessert! And still, somehow, end up lighter than you started.

No need for holiday anxiety. I am the captain of this ship. I’m in control of this journey. I plan the work and work the plan. And, if the way I felt about seeing pictures of myself from this weekend are any indication, that effort is paying off.



2 thoughts on “How I Conquered Holiday Dinner

  1. Great post! (too bad I didn’t read it before our big family dinner last night! :o( I searched for weight watchers because I’m starting my own points tracking based on WW. I’ve enjoyed browsing through your site…I’ll be visiting often for motivation and ideas. Thanks again!

    1. I’m glad the post helped a bit! Holidays are always so hard — I don’t blame you for having a rough go of it. I love, love, love WW though — hopefully you will, too! It’s a program that NEVER fails as long as you don’t fail yourself. Best of luck, and I’m glad to have you as a reader! — Karen

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