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Week in Review: Thanksgivings Past and Present

Two Thanksgivings ago, I was about 15 pounds underweight. I was trying to regain the weight, seeing a therapist and a dietitian. I was pretty committed to recovery and gaining weight on schedule, but that didn’t make it all easy all the time. For one thing, I was counting calories obsessively–a habit I’d ironically started in an effort to try to gain weight–but it was really starting to grate on me.

This Thanksgiving, I ate (mostly) according to my intuitive hunger and fullness–with the exception of a few treats here and there. I’m now at a place where I never weigh myself, I can tell my size and shape doesn’t fluctuate much, and I do my best not to count calories, although it is very hard to forget the numbers I memorized and I’ll admit, it does sometimes make me anxious when I feel I’ve gone over what I consider “normal.” Still, I consider myself largely recovered.

Two Thanksgivings ago, I wasn’t exercising outside of swing dance and yoga, as part of my effort to try to gain weight.

This Thanksgiving week, I went to two spin classes and a sweaty yoga class and got to see some old friends from the gym where I went for six years.

Two Thanksgivings ago, I had perpetual stomach cramps, bloating and constipation that I didn’t recognize as constipation because my sense of normal in that department was so skewed.

This Thanksgiving, I did not have any unusual bloating or cramps and did not have to deal with constipation at all. Thank goodness for the modified low-FODMAP diet and probiotics!

Two Thanksgivings ago, it was just me and my dad. My mom had gone to help my grandpa, who was considering moving out of his house and wanted help packing. I didn’t want to cook a whole Thanksgiving turkey just for me and Dad, even though Mom had bought us one, so instead, I made chicken thighs roasted with sweet potatoes and a couple of side dishes. Plus pumpkin pie, of course! My brother and his wife also stopped by to keep us company and nibble a little pie.

This Thanksgiving, more members of my family were together: my parents, my brother and his wife, me of course, my aunt, uncle, cousin, and grandma.dscn2403-2We had the full spread: appetizers, turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, rolls, a few bottles of wine and Bellinis, and two kinds of gluten-free pie, including this cranberry-raspberry beauty that I shared on the blog.dscn2390

Last Thanksgiving, I was still in the elimination phase of the low-FODMAP diet. I don’t remember what was served at our meal, but I remember I was still avoiding lactose, wheat, onion, garlic, fructan veggies, fructose, and more.

Since last Thanksgiving, I’ve been able to re-introduce a lot of foods. I skipped the rolls, and the pies were gluten-free, but I was able to enjoy most other items on the table without worrying too much about what was in them.dscn2404-2

I did, however, do some low-FODMAP cooking during the week, including trying another recipe from the new low-FODMAP cookbook I ordered a few weeks ago and making this spicy macaroni bake from my own blog for my folks.

Last Thanksgiving, I flew home. It was my first time flying solo.

This Thanksgiving, I drove home. It was the longest drive I’ve ever done solo–8 hours.

Last Thanksgiving, I was convinced that fall break counted as a grading week and that I therefore had to grade through the break in order to get my students’ papers back on time.

This Thanksgiving, I now realize that fall break does not count as a grading week and my deadline is a week later, so I took a more substantial break from work. I met my brother and his wife for tea and treats at a local coffee shop, put up a post to the blog, visited my cousin and her baby girl, went shopping for new blue jeans, and did a lot of work on a puzzle I started last time I was home for Labor Day.dscn2374-2 dscn2412-2

I also took this weekend and went to visit my sweetie at his place about an hour from where I live in Fort Collins. We worked on another puzzle. 😉dscn2414-2

All of these changes have been for the better. It’s not that I wasn’t, in many cases, doing the right thing for myself at the time; I definitely was. But in the spirit of the season, I’m very thankful to look back and see how I’ve overcome past challenges, despite some new challenges that have arisen.

Finally, if you haven’t had the chance, be sure to check out the No-Shame November I put up on the blog yesterday, featuring the lovely Chelsea, author of the healthy living blog Lil Miss Fitness Freak.

Thanks also to Meghan for tolerating all of my funky spins on her Week in Review linkup.

What challenges have you overcome since Thanksgivings past? Or, what other kinds of changes can you recognize from your life when you compare past holidays to this one?

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  1. Mackenzie says:

    Thank you for sharing and your vulnerable reflection <3 <3

    1. Joyce says:

      Thanks, Mackenzie!

  2. Cora says:

    Wow. I don’t think I can offer enough fist bumps to give this post justice. Like you said – its not like any of those “situations” you were in during past Thanksgivings were you doing something wrong (quite the opposite – you were working so hard to do what you needed to do for yourself) – and yet to be able to look back and see that you don’t have to manage those things that you were struggling with anymore… oh my gosh that’s HUGE. I think my favorite is the fact that you didn’t experience any bloating or cramping this year (even with all the garlic that I’m sure is all over Thanksgiving fare?!) All the hard HARD work you have done with your elimination feeding and probiotics are really making it all worth it (I hope). I’m so glad you took the holiday to really break away from your work. I’m so glad you got to see your sweetheart (yay for puzzles) and so glad you got home safe after that 8 hour drive. I hope you are feeling pretty damn proud, girl.

    1. Joyce says:

      Daaawww. Thank you so much for the encouraging words, Cora. It is definitely nice to have to deal with the cramping and bloating a lot less. I think our Thanksgiving typically doesn’t have a ton of garlic, actually, now that I think of it, but it was still a blessing to be able to eat freely.

  3. So awesome you have overcome so much and was able to enjoy thanksgiving and with your family and take a much needed break from work. I used to worry so much about what I ate and usually over did it one these holidays because in my head, I was never going to eat them again. But I’ve learned to give into some of my cravings in moderation and it prevents me over eating later on.

    1. Joyce says:

      I put up a post on Thursday about this very thing–overdoing it during the holidays because it’s the only time you let yourself have certain foods. Glad that you have a healthier relationship with your cravings and are able to honor them more now. 🙂

  4. This was wonderful to read, Joyce. While we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving I can relate to several of the points you made. Recovery can be particularly hard during the holiday season. Even though you might not have been were you are now two years ago you still did so many things that were right and necessary back then. And just like you overcame past challenges I’m sure you will tackle the current ones as well. Be proud of yourself!
    Also, you make me want to start doing a puzzle again though I know I’ll get frustrated after a while ;).

    1. Joyce says:

      Yes–frustration definitely is an aspect of puzzle making. Thank you so much for the kind words!

  5. I love seeing your progress from a year ago. It’s amazing how much we grow and change yet we usually don’t see it because we’re in the thick of it. Kudos to you on so many fronts here. I think you’re doing fantastic. Also, that cranberry raspberry pie is a beaut. I’d love a slice or three of that.

    Last happy puzzling…I’m envious and itching to start one now.

    1. Joyce says:

      Puzzles are fun. Maybe you’ll get a chance to start one this holiday season?

  6. This year, I ate LOADS of gluten-free stuffing without a care in the world–so I’d say it was pretty successful. 🙂 I’m glad you had a wonderful holiday, Joyce!

    1. Joyce says:

      Yum! Gluten-free stuffing sounds amazing. Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday, too. 🙂

  7. Wow isnt it amazing how we can change in one year’s time? When I look back to certain times in my life its hard to believe it was even me thinking a certain way! Glad you enjoyed this thanksgiving break with family!

    1. Joyce says:

      Isn’t it amazing how much a person can change? Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well!

  8. Alyssa says:

    great pot! loved seeing how much you have grown and what has changed in your life… two thanksgiving’s ago? I was finally learning to eat ED free again. But I was terrified in doing so! This Thanksgiving? I didn’t put much thought into the food on my plate!

    1. Joyce says:

      Wonderful to hear how far you’ve come, Alyssa!

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