Nutrisystem around the Holidays

Jane_150by Jane, Boston, MA

My time on Nutrisystem included Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I actually don’t care about Halloween at all – I don’t have kids, so I don’t really have a reason to do much for Halloween. I did eat a few pieces of candy when I was in the airport this Halloween, but that was it.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were a different story. My family makes a mean Thanksgiving dinner, and while there are lots of delicious vegetables (without any salt or butter), they also make fantastic rolls and buttery mashed potatoes. And then there’s wine. And apple cider. And my grandmother’s pecan pie, from a family recipe we’ve been using since she left Georgia 70 years ago. Oh man do I love food!

How do you celebrate and still stay on the plan?

So how does Nutrisystem fit in? It fits in moderation. The night before Thanksgiving, I made myself a Nutrisystem dinner while I was cooking for the next day. Then, on Thanksgiving morning, I popped an omelet in the microwave to have a healthy breakfast. (Sidebar: I know that a microwaved omelet sounds gross, but it somehow isn’t. The texture actually holds up and is still fluffy. It’s sort of amazing.)

But then I went to Thanksgiving dinner, and I had pretty much whatever I wanted for dinner. One roll, one piece of pie, and more mashed potatoes and wine than I should probably admit. But that’s what Thanksgiving is about, and I’m not willing to give up the celebrations I love.

Then the next day, back on the plan. Although I gave myself one meal a day for leftovers until they were gone – heavy on the vegetables and turkey, no rolls, and no more pie! But lots of cranberry sauce. I know it’s full of sugar. But that’s Thanksgiving.

You can enjoy because you have a plan!

The thing is to not let the holidays be an excuse to eat whatever you want for every meal for months on end. It’s too much indulgence, and it stops being fun. Plus you don’t feel great if you’re living off cookies: trust me, I know.

At Christmas, I was happy to have a cookie at the office or treats at a party, but I just didn’t bring any sweets into our house. That helped a lot! And so did Nutrisystem. Having the food pre-made and available made it easy to stay on the plan. And a week of portioned, balanced meals made it okay to have a fun dinner out or to have eggnog and a cupcake for dinner. I’m actually proud of that! I’m proud it didn’t spiral downward into eating junk for every meal.

That’s what having a plan does. It makes it so the holidays can still be celebrated with food and drink and treats, but those things don’t have to take over and bring excess into your whole life. There’s a balance.

Now that the plan is over…

Now I feel like I really know how to handle holidays. You indulge in the treats that you really associate with the holiday. The things you love that mean something to you and feel like a celebration. And you skip the rest. You skip the second cookie you don’t really want, the bad casserole at a party, the leftover candy canes. You’ll never regret the foods you dreamed about all year, but you’ll regret the sorta-okay banana bread that you only ate because you felt bad throwing it out. Just feed it to the birds and give them a Merry Christmas, and pop a Nutrisystem lasagna in the microwave.

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