Friday, November 19, 2010

Controlling the Challenges

‘Tis the season you know.  Challenges abound: the sheer volume of food at everything, family (dys) functions, financial, spiritual.

I’d venture to say most of the weight loss type group meetings over this past week have been focused on What To Do About Thanksgiving and The Holidays.

I’m making pie for 30 people. Making that many pie crusts alone is a huge challenge as it’s really not my forte. I’m actually hoping to get them made this weekend, so that come next Wednesday all I have to do is fill them and bake them off.

Side Question: What DO you do? Do you do the best you can with foods you only have during the holiday? Do you make all ‘special’ dishes that are fat free/low calorie/low carb? Do you take it as a splurge day and eat whatever you want? Do you just not care about food that much? (Is that even possible?)

As it turns out, I have a weekend filled with challenges, followed by a week filled with more.

Mr. Helen’s cousin, who is really more like another sister, is turning 60 and her son is throwing her a surprise party tonight. Number one, I’m challenged by what I’m going to wear. There is no theme (I wish there was as it always makes it easier if I can just get a costume!) so anything goes. I imagine people will be dressed in everything from jeans to dresses. Number two, it’s a PARTY. This means food, lots of it, and cake and beverages of the alcoholic variety. (Of course it will probably be a cash bar which makes it a whole lot easier to not overdo. Because I’m cheap.)

Saturday, Mr. Helen’s uncle, who happens to be the father of the above mentioned cousin, is having a Surprise 80th Birthday Celebration. In fact, said cousin is the party planner. Number one, I’m challenged by what I’m going to wear. For goodness sake, I’m probably going to be seeing mostly the same people as I did at the Friday event so I can’t even repeat the outfit! Number two, SEE ABOVE with the addition that we paid $25 each for our meals. (Of course, because he’s turning 80, the thing is being held at 3 in the afternoon so that makes it fairly easy to just say no to the booze.)

Yes, that’s right. This weekend, Shelley will be competing in a running Half Marathon and I will be in the midst of an Eating & Drinking Half Marathon.

Additionally there is next week’s Thanksgiving O-Rama. Little Helen is coming home and will want some of her favorite things and of course I will make them.  Plus it always seems when she's home that there's just "more."  Plus all that damn pie. Sigh.

I know things like this can be seen as character building and an opportunity to Do The Right Thing. But really, if we could work it out, I’d prefer to build my character another way.

On the other hand, there is another type a challenge – the word challenge defined in a way that can be very, very good. This definition sometimes involves challenges that go around blogland that help folks get and stay motivated on their journey - like South Beach Steve's Hot 100. A couple of weeks ago, I have gave myself a mini challenge of weighing less on December 31 than I did on November 1. No particular number, just less. I know Kate decided that she wanted to do that too and has lost four pounds already!

But staying motivated through both types of challenges can be hard. We all know I’ve been referring to the life stressors I’ve been going through lately. Challenging to say the least – motivation killing too.

Thankfully, once in a while, something/someone/some word comes along and strikes a chord, the light bulb goes on and with renewed vigor you face your challenges: all kinds.

Lori made a comment on the Tuesday Ten blog that rang my bell and struck some chords.

Chris said, "Hello Horse" and a lightbulb turned on.

And, I saw this. And I bought it.

Shoulder Detail

Bodice Detail/Pintucks

 Hemline Detail

The Dress

Perfect Shoes!
Look how the ruffle on the toe matches the hemline of the dress.

Right now, it fits OK but for great fit I need to stick with my challenge of weighing less on December 31. And I need to face the 60th/80th/Pie/Thanksgiving challenges with grace and determination, fueled by (bloggy love and beautiful dress) motivation. I think if I do that I might actually look rockin' in a photo... maybe I'll have a Rockin' New Year's Eve!


  1. Wow - rich and yummy post with lots of good stuff to digest! Love me some food metaphors=/ ! First - great dress and shoes - you MUST take a pic when you're all dolled up with it on. You're a knockout in the looks department on any day, but with that ensemble - you'll be smokin'!

    This year with only 3 of us, I sat down with hubby and son, had a list of all our usual TG dishes and told them each to pick the 2 things they most couldn't live without for our mini feast. Would you believe the both had turkey as one of their 2? Then son wanted mashed potatoes and real gravy (he's cute, so he gets a 3rd choice), and hubby wanted my broccoli casserole which is a command performance in my book. Both are happy to NOT have stuffing, or creamed onions, or any of the other holiday-only fare I usually cook when we have a crowd.
    So I'm feeling better about at least the variety of stuff.

    This is a time when it's good to have mini-challenges. I like yours and am silently adding that to my challenge menu.

  2. That dress is gorgeous and you are going to look absolutely spectacular in it!!! I'm so glad you bought it - there is nothing like a beautiful outfit for motivation!

    Last year, my main goal was to not eat as much pumpkin pie as I used to. I know, start small, right?!? I remember having one slice after dinner, and then another smaller slice later in the evening, and then one slice for breakfast the next morning - and YES, this was cutting back for me. It's all relative. Thankfully, it's also a "confined" holiday - because even if the get-togethers continue all weekend, it's over by Sunday.

    Oh, and am I reading this right - the woman who is having a surprise party thrown for her is throwing a surprise party for the 80-year-old? Now that is cute!!!

  3. Most certainly want to see a photo of you in that hot dress! Very smart to buy one that actually fits - just could fit a little better. You won't feel so under pressure to lose X amount of pounds; you'll just know that any amount will make you a little more comfy. So glad you did that for yourself :)

  4. OMG! I LOVE THAT DRESSSSSSSS! Hey, if you keep it hung somewhere you can see it, that helps with the motivation. I'm half tempted to buy the string bikini that Cowgirl insists I wear next summer and hang it on the wall in my kitchen. NO KIDDING. I AM NOT KIDDING ABOUT THIS.

    My plan for Thanksgiving and parties? Fill up half my plate with vegetables. And whatever else fits on there is all I get. I've been trying to talk my mom into making just plain green beans instead of green bean casserole, but whatever. I can pick them out, right? But I LOVE mashed potatoes and gravy and I never ever make them for myself, so I plan to have my fair share of them.

  5. That dress is GORGEOUS! How fortunate for it that it gets to be yours!

    My plan for Thanksgiving is NO LEFTOVERS. I'm buying the entire meal, prepared. I'm taking no chances.

  6. There was so much good content to this post Helen!

    First things first, love, love, love that dress and those shoes are adorable! Sweet!

    Here is how I handle the holiday table. I decide what I really want to have,take a reasonable serving of it, eat and enjoy. Don't go back for seconds. One meal eaten in a reasonable amount will not tip the scale the wrong way. If there is something that will be a food trigger to crave more, I skip it. I am very carb/sugar sensitive and can easily be led down the wrong path by the carb monster. I will have one slice of my reduced fat pumpkin pie but not on an empty tummy as that is a danger for me.

    For parties that are filled with junk food and temptations I pre-eat before we go. Eat something like a Boca on a sprouted bun, an apple with peanutbutter,or laughing cow light cheese on whole wheat bread, so I don't arrive hungry. It allows me then to pick and choose what I really want to eat. I also put some kind of healthy bar in my purse to munch on.

  7. I vote for seeing a photo of you in this dress as well - it is super cute!

    My plan? I don't know. I really, really struggle at my sister's house for whatever reason. It's always been that way. I go in with a plan and never quite stick to it. Last year was a little better in terms of how much I ate, but you just never know.

    I am going to do a run in the morning, and then go and enjoy the family. If I eat a little too much, well I will just have to deal with those consequences.

  8. Hope you enjoy all those celebrations! I'm going to eat a home cooked meal on Thanksgiving, and that is not normally how I eat.. so my plan is to take a little of this and a little of that and not end up stuffing myself!

  9. Wow, very sexy dress Helen, I bet you look great in that dress.... going to share :)
    Hope you enjoy all your celebrations with relaxation and no stress. Have some fun with good choices!

  10. Oh! The dress is awesome, and the shoes are to die for!

  11. Okay. The dress is nice, but THE SHOES!!! Oh the shoes. They are IT!! Can you tell I love pretty shoes?

    Also loved your term Thanksgiving-O-Rama. I am working it this year. I tend to just have moderate servings, skip the bread, decide on one dessert, and if I am doing it right, I will save the dessert for LATER. Later being right before bed, because then I am not tempted to eat another and another and another...

  12. Hot mama in a hot dress!!
    Just catching some blogs as I wind down from tonight's festivities in prep for tomorrow.....
    I hope you are enjoying your festivities!!

  13. Love, love, love the dress and the shoes! You are going to look fabulous in it!

    My WW leader always told me that there were only 4 days in December where we intend to overeat: Sinterklaas (which we have) on the 5th, 2 days of Christmas and New Year's Eve and that there was no reason why we should overeat on all the other days since they were no holidays and I kind of live like that for years now. I eat what I want at Christmas but I 've noticed that I ate less the last couple of years than before, just because I had enough.
    I'm not really worried about the holidays, neither should you. Before you know it it's over and you've been worrying instead of having fun.

  14. Thanks for the mention Helen! I appreciate it!

    Life's challenges are never easy, are they? It seems as if we get past one to only encounter another. I guess life is that way, isn't it.

    You asked what we do? I have done various things. This year I plan on just trying to be sensible. I don't have the best track record doing that in feast-like environments, but I am going to try again.

  15. OMG, that dress! Love the ruffled hem, that is such a perfect detail for you! You've got that lovely long hair with the pretty curls, and the hem will complement them in a really subtle way. Well done!

    (I had already popped this over to my browser to reply later when you commented on my blog, just so you know. I keep you in my browser so I can think all day about what you've written.)

    My strategy for holidays is to pick the 1 or 2 foods that I really adore and want in their unadulterated form, and allow myself to have those without guilt. Everything else I either skip or make a healthier version of. So all my vegetables are plain (or well-seasoned) but not covered in cream or goop, I make fresh cranberries for my turkey (no gravy needed), but I do not stint on the stuffing or the after-dinner bacon-turkey-stuffing sandwiches. Luckily, I don't really like pie. :)

  16. ok girl.
    its the flipside of the weekend and Im checking back in on you.
    how went it?
    HOW WENT IT? :)