Commit to Fit | Week 33-35

Author | Commit to Fit 2012 Winner, Karl Mason

Two weeks ago, for the first time during my participation in the Commit to Fit program, I plateaued and didn’t lose any weight during my weigh-in. Sarah, my nutritionist, advised that this is typical as individuals lose weight and is most likely attributed to the body adjusting to the changes which are happening to it. Sarah advised to expect additional plateaus in the remaining course of the program. I understood but was somewhat disappointed. On 12.01.12 when I weighed in, I lost an additional 4 ½ lbs. Total weight loss to date: 59.6lbs. No plateau this time. I was surprised but thankful, still feeling the Thanksgiving glow from last week’s holiday, a holiday very different for me this year compared to past Thanksgivings.

I have always loved Thanksgiving. Traditionally Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, for reflecting on events and happenings of the previous 365 days one is grateful for, and of course food. Unofficially, it has always seemed to be one of the few times in life that society silently condones gluttony by turning a blind eye to the exaggerated amount of food consumed by the average individual on this holiday . For those individuals striving to live a healthier lifestyle or trying to diet (a word I have tried to stop using in my vocabulary), Thanksgiving is a holiday of temptation, nothing more than the devil’s mistress seducing us away from a more common sense approach to the festive meal, using copious amounts of carbs like potatoes and rolls, sugars which are magically transformed into pie and pounds of butter to lure us into a calorie-and-fat-laden stupor by the time the second football game of the day starts.  Most people end up stuffing themselves. I always stuffed myself.  I don’t ever remember a Thanksgiving not stuffing my gut; thinking back on one year where I had to change into sweat pants complete with stretched out elastic waistband because I had eaten 2 or 4 or 6 too many rolls dipped in my beloved gravy.  I knew no other behavior myself before this Thanksgiving. OK, I just lied. I DID know other behavior but chose to throw it all out the window for Thanksgiving chalking it up to a “holiday situation” and then vowing that I would start eating right and maybe exercising on the upcoming Monday. Monday never showed up. I may sound bitter about Thanksgiving, I am not. 30+ years of this twisted holiday rationalizing contributed to my weight and food issues. This year I knew I had to be proactive in making a change in my usual holiday thinking.

Thanksgiving 2012 saw this change in how I approach the holiday. Above all else, I concentrated on the important people in my life as I was fortunate enough to share the holiday with my chosen San Francisco family of close friends. I also reflected on what a blessing the Commit to Fit program is, its many lessons offered, and the people involved (Mike, Sarah, Billy, Dave M, Chip and David) in supporting and pushing me further along have been in 2012 for me.  I am thankful that CTF has given me the tools to save my life. From a food perspective this year, I was concerned my guests had yummy traditional foods.  I ensured those foods were prepared in a healthier manner, using organic and sustainable foods while using less fat and less sodium as much as possible.  To start off my Thanksgiving morning, the first thing I did was made it a point to have a good breakfast with whole grains, fruit and lean protein. Doing this meant I was not snacking throughout the day and was not filling up on empty potentially high-fat calories. When it was time for the main meal, my plate wasn’t a mountain of food and I made a choice to have minimal tasting portions, to eat more of the fresh veggie offerings, to skip some of the foods I knew would trigger me to overeat and not to beat myself up no matter what happened. Yes, I had stuffing. I also had the smallest sliver of pumpkin pie, had a couple rolls and even gravy. I unfortunately didn’t have any cranberry sauce because I realized that after several courses of delectableness when the meal was over, I forgot to put the cranberry sauce on the table. I laughed but then thought “less sugar for everyone today! Yeah!”  I didn’t deprive myself of the iconic foods but I didn’t stuff myself either. It was a balanced approach. It was a new approach I look forward to using at Christmas and many other holidays to come. I actually celebrated the holiday spirit and the people not the food. Food will never again take center stage of any holiday or celebration in my life.