Old Traditions & New Traditions – Nothing Off Limits
As long as it does not harm anyone, including yourself! Then nothing is off limits.
When I started my weight loss journey May 2017 I worried. Firstly I worried, that I would have to completely change my life and give up the Traditions, that I really liked. A lot. I am an absolute creature of habits and not a fan of change. Yeah, go figure. Thankfully I found a way, where nothing is off limits. But I also know, nothing is as consistent as change. So I had to make my peace with that, too.
Secondly I worried, that this weight loss journey, yet again, was not sustainable. Gladly I figured this out as well. And it was not easy. More of my take on “New Year’s Resolutions” can be found here.
Losing weight is a life long commitment and a lot of work. Every change in our lives is. But if you put in the work and the effort, you will not only be able to maintain your favorite traditions from the past, you will also develop new traditions. Nothing is off limits, you just got to plan and prepare for it.
However some of your previous traditions might have been super unhealthy. The good thing is, if you are open for this journey and really want to do this, you might tweak or change those traditions naturally. And not even miss the old version. Just keep an open mind and remind yourself, you don’t have to give up your traditions, you can just change and adjust it.
When we moved to the US, I was excited to have a Starbucks at every corner on my way to work. In Germany we did have Starbucks but not close by and I could not get one to enjoy in the office in the morning. I loved it. A little bit too much, maybe. I had a Venti Whole Milk Latte every morning. And the weight gain came naturally. So when I started my weight loss journey I knew, I would not be able to keep doing this. But give up my morning coffee? That did not sound appealing.
And had I done that, I am sure this journey would have taken a different turn. Had I deprived myself, I would have given up eventually. So I did not. Instead I researched lower points (and calories) drinks and then I tried them all, to find the one I would like as much as I did my Venti Latte. I did not give up my tradition. I tweaked the old one just enough to be healthier and to fit in my new lifestyle. And for the weekends I also added a super long walk with the dog and the hubby as a new tradition.
When we lived in Germany, my husband and I never had a Christmas tree. We both can’t remember why actually. When we moved to the US, it felt like something was missing when the first Christmas came. So we went to get ourselves a Charlie Brown. Well we ended up buying a beautiful regular size tree. And a new tradition was born. And when we moved to Florida, we kept that new tradition, despite having to decorate the tree in shorts and tank top due to the not so wintery winter weather. But after we moved, we bought a house and added another new tradition of decorating the outdoors. And boy, what a tradition this has become. We keep buying new decorations each year and have already made plans how to extend our decoration next year.
I grew up in a small village in Germany and my parents and I lived in my grandparent’s house. For Christmas, my grandma and my mother entered into a “friendly” noodle salad competition. My grandma made her family recipe and my mother made it too, as my Dad and I both loved it. I thought it was awesome as I would get a portion with my parents and one with my grandma. My body weight did not appreciate the double (triple actually) portions at all.
This salad has mayonnaise, elbow noodles and canned tuna. My grandma and my mother both used the full fat version of mayonnaise and tuna in oil. When I made the recipe for the first time, I swapped it for light mayonnaise and tuna in water. That was actually before my weight loss journey, it just felt better to not go all oily and greasy. When I started my weight loss journey, I wondered how to deal with this tradition moving forward. Especially since my husband likes the salad as much as I did. And then it became very clear. I would just keep this tradition. However, I would definitely break with the portion size tradition I had kept from when I was little.
And that’s what I did. Every Christmas since. And yes after Christmas I had a pound more, mainly from salt and the higher calorie intake. And that pound was gone as fast as it came. This was a tradition worth keeping and so I just made it work. Less or lower calories food for lunch and on the days leading to Christmas and the days after etc. And I keep moving my body as much as I can. By walking with my husband and the dog, favorably.
Yesterday was New Years Eve. Both my husband and I are no party animals and also not big fans of the New Year’s Eve hype. However we did have a tradition in Germany of food we would eat and what we would do. We would have a nice raclette dinner with far too much food for two people and then watch movies we saved throughout the year for this occasion. It became a nice and comfy tradition.
Raclette is not necessarily a low calorie food as raclette cheese has a lot of fat (so that it melts better). We would also always make a lot of food and end up eating too much of it, too. So not a great fit for our new lifestyle. But we kept the raclette grill and if we felt like it, we would use it. However right now, we tweaked that tradition to include a different, yet still delicious food.
“Last Year” we made loaded nachos. I am using lower fat baked nacho scoops from Tostitos and the topping is low calorie, too. Overall this meal is higher in points than our usual dinner, but a lot lower than the restaurant version and for sure a lot lower than raclette. And the good thing is, we love it and are equally enjoying it. Nothing off limits – not even a nice New Year’s Eve dinner. Or a game day snack, as they are working as those, too.
So yet again, we did not at all have to give up on our tradition. We tweaked it to work with our lifestyle. We are still watching movies though. If there are any good ones available. And there for sure will be some sparkling rose to cheer the New Year. Definitely this year, to end the weirdest year yet. And I am just saying “yet” as no one would have expected 2020 to be the way it ended up being. So while I am cautiously optimistic about 2021, who would want to jinx it? Not me! Some of my meal prepping hacks can be found here.
You have the tradition of having an ice cream sundae once a week? Find a way to fit it in by reducing the portion size or replacing the high calorie version with lighter ones. Or make it a monthly tradition and go for the real deal. Test and fail and by doing so, find out what works for you. But please, do not give up on a healthy weight and lifestyle because of the fear of losing loved traditions. You are in control.
2020 has been a challenging year for many if not even all of us. One way or another. How bad compared to others? Well, I am not doing that. Comparing, I mean. It did not do me any good. However in 2020 some things have been or at least should have been off limits. A pandemic hit us and while 2020 is over, the crisis is not. Yet.
Being able to let go of traditions or tweaking them to fit the situation, has been invaluable. Something my WW journey has definitely helped teach me. And I am glad I was able to learn it at a time where it was my choice. Having trained my “change muscle” definitely made a difference and continues to do so.
Because many of the things that happened in 2020 have not been my choice. Nor would I ever have chosen for them to happen. I was, however, able to choose my attitude about them. And that is a really big deal.
In order to maintain my weight loss and keep things in balance, I have made choices I was happy to make and others, that I was not too excited about. At first. However I learned that they were important and with every little step of success, they became a new habit and my attitude towards them changed. It did not happen over night. And after every pizza night in our house, I have to choose my attitude and remind me of the positives. Still. After over 3 years on this journey. Nothing is off limits. Just need to be mindful of my attitude, the portion sizes and keeping an eye on the prize of staying healthy and fit.
Whenever I am at risk to slip, I am looking back at my journey. Reflecting on what I have accomplished is always helpful. Reminding myself where slipping up and not stopping myself will lead is powerful, too. Diabetes runs in my family. My blood sugar levels were elevated already when I started this journey. Not yet pre-diabetic, but too close for comfort. Because had I gotten Diabetes, the changes I would have had to make to my life would have been much harder.
So 2020 is over. The crisis facing the world is not yet. And many frontline workers continue to risk their lives so that we can keep ours. For them, some things should remain off limits. We should continue to wear masks, keep our distance and, once it’s our turn, embrace the vaccination instead of following conspiracy theories. Not for politics, purely to protect each other until nothing is off limits again, soon. Hopefully.
If we want 2021 to be our best year yet, it’s on us to make it. Yes, things will be thrown at us. A change in the last digit is not going to change that. But we do have control over our reaction and what we make with the cards we have been dealt. Let’s do this!
Happiest and Healthiest Of Years!