Archive for the ‘Holiday/travel eating’ Category

After-travel thoughts

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

We're back from our East Coast swing. The dieting issue was at least as problematic as I anticipated. I already wrote one post about visiting our former Chinese grad student and her family. First they took us out to dinner, then we got ready for their twin's second birthday party the next day. There were thirty guests for that mid-day gustatory marathon. After they ate and left, another couple with a seven-year-old and an eleven-year-old came over and dinner was served.

Our next stop was with our Indian kids whose twins are six and a half months old. They cooked less than usual, as their lives have gotten considerably busier, but ordered out more than usual. Since they are vegetarians, we had some respite, but they certainly made sure we were well fed.

Our Baltimore friends (their twins are four and their older son is seven) follow fairly healthy eating patterns at home, and we got up early and served ourselves cereal and fruit for breakfast. But we were taken to a very nice restaurant before we even got to their home and had crab soup and crab cakes. Overall I ate considerably more on this week-long trip than I usually do.

What I didn't get was any real exercise. We're used to a six or seven times/week fairly strenuous gym workout or snowshoeing; here we got to walk a bit, largely in airports, but we sat a lot. I didn't even have much opportunity to walk up and down stairs. I did actively play with the older kids in Baltimore.

I then realized, as our trip was truncated by approaching the DC-area blizzard, that we were going to have overnight company, our niece-to-be, her eleven-year-old daughter and the daughter's best friend,when we got home.

I stepped on the scale this morning and watched to see if I was over my 155 upper limit (I left at 149.6). I found myself moderately pleased that I was under by 0.8 pounds

So today we went back to our diets. Our guests went shopping and I ate half of my lunch. Tonight I'll have cereal and a piece of fruit before the Symphony's concert. I've arranged for a snowshoeing trip tomorrow.

Could I have avoided this 4.6 pound travel bounce? I've done so while I was still trying to lose weight; this time, well below goal weight, I gave myself  leeway, more than  I should have.

Pre-eat and pre-diet

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Okay, we're finally about to go see the kids out east. We'll make four stops in eight days. The first friend has a husband who's a great cook; the second couple both cook, she better than he; the third couple will take us out to dinner and the fourth (a daughter, son-in-law,grandson) also will want to eat out. Before we leave, we have one dinner out planned (It's music night at our favorite Thai restaurant) and a  catered event for our symphony.

Wow! that's a lot of eating coming up in the next few days.

So how do I handle this situation? I start by acknowledging that I'll be eating more than usual in the relatively brief period. I'll go back on my strict diet now and leave here under my goal weight of 151-152. While I'm on the road I'll  be as careful as possible to avoid binges; I'll focus on vegetables and fruit and minimize meats and sweet dishes.

I know I'm likely to come home over my upper limit (three pounds over goal) as I won't get my usual exercise on this trip either.  I can live with that as long as I don't go too far overboard with my eating pattern. When I get home and settled back into place, I'll have return to my more stringent diet until I'm back to goal again, not just until I'm within the three-pound-over-goal range I usually can relax within.

I'll let you know on the far side.

On the road and eating with our Chinese family

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

We're in a suburb of  Philadelphia, on an eight-day road trip to see close friends, surrogates kids and grandkids, and, eventually,  our biologic kids and grandson. As predicted, at this first stop, with our former Chinese graduate student, Ye, her husband and their twins, my diet hit a snag. Today was the second birthday party for the boys and there was enough food to "feed an army"... or maybe even an empire.

I watched Ye's husband, Donghui, cook late last evening and even got to help a little. When he handed me my own pair of chopsticks and later took one of my minor suggestions, I was very pleased. He was making a dish called "Hundred Pages," which starts with beef stomach. Now in response to the squeamish among you, this was probably my favorite dish served today. But that's not the point.

Donghui started with a little olive oil in a pan, ground two kinds of fresh pepper (neither was our typical black pepper), and made the entire dish from scratch.  Most of the other dishes including "Five-Flavor Beef," were also made from basic ingredients; that one had lots of different spices.

The exception was the birthday cake, but I noticed Ye coming by and scaping the topping off the portions the twins got to eat. The adults, of course, were on their own. Frosting or not, it was your own choice.

There was beef and pork and also fish, but a whole lot of vegetables. It was basically a young crowd, except for a scattering of grandparents and I did see a bowl of chips. On the other hand it was entirely possible to eat most of the dishes and still have a healthy meal. All home cooked (except for the cake which came from Costco) and all delicious.

Even the beef stomach.

Now I think it's time to take a walk or get on Ye and Donghui's elliptical to burn off some of the calories.

I'm amazed I ate the whole thing and I'm still lean

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Last evening we had two couples over for dinner; they're all extremely  interesting people and have lived around the world. We planned an over-the-top menu: a piquant Georgian beef stew over rice with cardamom pods, microwaved asparagus spears, a tomato-basil-mozzarella salad, good bread, minimal appetizers (a variety of olives + pistachio nuts), several wines (bubbly to start with and an excellent merlot), and a Russian Apple Charlotte for dessert. The conversation flowed as freely as the wine; we used good china and crystal and our company came early, helped with the final dinner touches and stayed late.

Prior to the dinner, I weighed 151.4 pounds, six tenths under my goal weight. We ate cereal and fruit for breakfast, a yogurt and pear salad for lunch and worked hard at the gym. Today I weighed 151.8, still under my goal, while Lynnette actually lost a little.

The point of this post is although we're in the midst of the holiday seasons  (Thanksgiving through New Years) and I plan to enjoy myself and will undoubtedly eat more than usual, I'm still trying to be smart about it.  I wouldn't be doing this at all if I hadn't lost the twenty-five pounds over the last six months to reach we final goal. I wouldn't be able to do this without some "Won't Power," as I call it. I'm deliberately going into eating events from the low side of my weight goal, exercising hard and eating only one larger meal.

I've said things like this in previous posts, but want to emphasize the point; if you think you're too heavy, avoid holiday splurges, but if you're at target weight, eat and be merry...after planning ahead.

Before and after traveling

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

We've been on the road (both literally and figuratively speaking). Actually the latter came first as we flew to the DC area where our nine-year-old grandson is appearing as Tiny Tim in Dickens' Christmas Carol at Ford's Theatre. We're really proud of Jordi; this is his third professional show in a year. We flew from Denver to Dulles airport and stayed with a good friend who lives near to there. We had dinner at her place the first evening, ate lunch with several old friends the next day, had two restaurant dinners with our kids and ate out with Jordi after his performance at the wonderful cafeteria at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian.

I left weighing 151.4 pounds, six tenths under my goal weight. I really stuck to my diet and exercise program in the days preceding the trip as I knew I would likely gain weight during it. We also walked an hour or more each day while we were in the DC area.

I was right about the weight gain; the day after we came home I was up five pounds, clearly above my trigger point of 155. Anytime I get there, three pounds above my goal weight, I go back on the diet for real and head straight to the gym. By the next day I had lost two pounds, but I'll stay on a stricter version of my diet and exercise program until I'm back to the 152 range (give or take a half pound).

Today we drove to Denver for a wonderful Genghis Khan exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. A friend joined us for the traveling exhibit (go see it if you live anywhere near Denver or it comes to your city later)  and my wife and I ate a late lunch in the city at a very nice Thai restaurant. I made that my larger meal of the day.

But let's put this in context. I'm down roughly twenty-five pounds from my June 2009 diet re-start and was under my final goal; most of what I gained on the trip was "water weight," really meaning salt and water weight and I'm back to exercising daily and eating two small meals and one larger one. When I travel for a longer time period, I don't eat anywhere near as much (that was true on two earlier trips this year).

What happened here was I was down to my goal weight, allowed myself latitude for a few days and had a great time with friends and family.  By next weekend I'll be back at goal. Don't let your diet, if you're on one, prevent you from enjoying life. Don't fool yourself either; it's really easy to fall of the diet/lifestyle cliff, gain a few pounds and think, "I can't get back on my program." You can too.

The day after Thanksgiving

Friday, November 27th, 2009

I just responded to one comment, but several other people asked if I was going to write a blog entry on or after Thanksgiving. The last of our company (two adult cousins and their three kids ages 11 to 15) just rolled out heading to a college football game and leaving behind various leftovers. We ended up with fifteeen family members at dinner yesterday afternoon and everyone brought something. I weighed 1.4 pounds less than my "final" goal weight yesterday morning, ate quite heartily the rest of the day and didn't even think of weighing myself this morning.

Today I made turkey omelets with the kids for breakfast, shared one last piece of apple pie with my wife and now will resume our usual routine. We'll spend several hours at our health club this afternoon and go back on our diets. I don't mind at all that I eat as much as I did yesterday; it was a great family event with one cousin doing magic tricks for the five kids that were there at the time, lots of horseplay (I wrestled with a fifteen-year-old cousin; he had no idea that I had wrestled in high school and college ~fifty years ago), five different pies and a gum ball sheet cake for dessert. I won't use this as an excuse to stay off my diet or to change my lifestyle plan. Bet you I'll be back at goal weight by Monday.

Holidays and for family and fun; enjoy them.

What to eat before Thanksgiving (and other holidays)

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Like most of us I tend to chow down a bit at Thanksgiving (and other holidays), sometimes more than a bit. This year we're hosting and will have fifteen family members coming to our house for dinner. We'll eat a fairly traditional meal: turkey and stuffing, gravy, yams and cranberries, pumpkin pie. So the question is what to do in the week beforehand.

I've been to the gym daily (burning about 650 calories on a recumbent bike) and really stayed on my diet. This morning I was actually below my current goal weight, but we had planned to eat dinner at our favorite local Thai restaurant. So this evening I picked a dish that my wife often eats, garlic pepper chicken. It has more veggies than almost anything else on the menu and I had eaten lightly earlier in the day. We skipped dessert and came home where my spouse made one of her wonderful concoctions, in this case a mixture of non-fat vanilla yogurt with one T. of pumpkin puree, a packet of Splenda and some cinnamon and cloves.  We felt virtuous, but also decided that tomorrow will be a vegetarian day. We need to use up some cabbage and carrots, but I'm sure I can find a recipe in Mark Bittman's wonderful book, "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian."

Then I can approach the holiday with a clean conscience and a very healthy appetite.