I know, I know, it sounds crazy. But Thanksgiving isn’t really one of my favorite holidays. I’d much rather enjoy an untracked meal like at a restaurant or event with friends because I’m able to try things that I normally wouldn’t have. Thanksgiving food is not incredibly adventurous or unique, so it doesn’t have as much of an appeal to me in terms of my appetite.
The other reason why I wanted to track on Thanksgiving was to test my abilities to make reasonable estimates for unknown food. Thanksgiving was the perfect opportunity for this macro-counting exercise because almost everything I ate was not prepared by me.
In order to ease my anxieties, I gave myself a carb/fat buffer to play with on Thanksgiving. I took 25g of carbs and 15g of fat from Monday and Tuesday, and 60g of carbs and 25g of fat from Wednesday. That put me at 115p/435c/120f for Thanksgiving!
I also used intermittent fasting because I was actually going to have two Thanksgiving meals, so I wanted to be sure that I had all of my macros to use for them. I did not eat breakfast, and my first Thanksgiving meal was around 3:00PM. I drank plenty of water (plus I had some coffee) throughout the morning.
I enjoyed Thanksgiving Part 1 at my grandfather’s house. It was a small gathering of just my family, my dad’s half-sisters, my grandmother’s sister and brother-in-law, my little cousins, and a couple family friends. The menu was your basic Thanksgiving fare:
Pretty basic, right?
Here’s my dinner plate:
So really, I tried a little bit of everything (except the cornbread and the ham, regretfully). Again, these are not my favorite kinds of food by any means. I’d much rather pig out on some BBQ or Mexican or pizza, but I enjoyed what I ate.
I found some reasonable estimates from My Fitness Pal, Nutrition Data, and the USDA Food List for most of these things:
- Green Bean Casserole
- French’s Onions (added just to be safe — wasn’t sure if the MFP entry included this kind of thing)
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Cranberry Sauce
- Mashed Potatoes
And this is how I tracked my dinner plate!
Oh, what’s that cheesecake up there???
For dessert, I had a few options. Of course, there was the standard pumpkin pie and apple pie, which weren’t terribly exciting to me. But my aunt brought these mini cheesecakes which she ordered from Junior’s in NYC!! I HAD to have one of those. I was selective with my treat choices. I don’t eat cheesecake very often (the last one was months ago…), and this red velvet one was calling my name:
Found a reasonable looking entry on MFP for it, and that was the end of meal one!
My aunt snapped a pic of my parents and me…
I had a good time, but definitely felt like I spent a long time looking up entries instead of enjoying my food! I had to nuke my plate once I was done entering everything in!
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered that I really enjoy talking to my grandparents. I didn’t spend a lot of time with them as a child, and I wish I had! I feel like I’m pretty similar to my grandfather. We’re both very practical people but are a little neurotic about particular things, hehehe. My step-grandmother is so intelligent and kind; she’s great with grown-up advice. I’m lucky to have them in such close proximity, and I definitely want to make more of an effort to spend time with them, especially since they’re retired now and have some time on their hands!
After Thanksgiving at my grandparents’, I headed over to my friend Catie’s for their Friendsgiving gathering!
They also had the traditional Thanksgiving food, but I was kind of over that by this point.
Catie and her fiancé Ryan are from the Gulf area of Mississippi, so seafood is kind of a staple item for them. Ryan made a seafood/sausage gumbo, and since I was already turkey’ed out, that’s what I decided to go for! Also one of those little Hawaiian rolls because carbs.
I searched for seafood gumbo entries in MFP, and went with this one, which had andouille in the title, and an appropriate amount of fats/carbs/proteins for what I could tell was in the gumbo. I added a couple grams of fat to my My Macros + entry just to be on the safe side.
THEN it was time for dessert. Again, I went with things I normally don’t have. I had a lot of carbs to play with too, so I poured myself a glass of chardonnay.
I already had a pumpkin spice cupcake entry in MM+ from Kate’s bridal shower, so I used that. These ones were a little smaller. I used a random bread pudding entry from MFP and upped the fats and carbs just a couple grams to be safe. I can’t remember the exact one I used though!
Here’s how I tracked it:
I guessed on my portion sizes for most things, overestimating slightly to account for error. I logged and went on with my life. I had a good time. I didn’t feel like I needed to eat everything. I actually ended up not using my whole carb/fat buffer, and I was a good bit under on protein too. I went home and had a Pumpkin Pie Quest Bar with some greek yogurt to hit my protein for the day. I had 100g of carbs and 5g of fat left over from my buffer, which I moved to use during the rest of the weekend.
Win: Finding appropriate estimates for unknown foods and tracking reasonable portion sizes. This is definitely getting easier.
Win: My relationship with food — I didn’t restrict heavily and I didn’t binge. I ate what looked appetizing to ME, and stopped when I wanted to. I feel like the next time I allow myself to go untracked, I will remember this experience and just eat what I want until I’m satisfied.
Opportunity: I probably didn’t need to hoard that many carbs, hehe.
Opportunity: I spent a lot of time looking for entries, which is kind of annoying, but I guess that’s how you practice flexible dieting, huh?
The most important thing is that I did not let this food event prevent me from spending time with my family and friends. Last year, I spent Thanksgiving home alone. While it was really nice to have the place to myself (and a Mellow Mushroom pizza), it was just as nice to have quality time with people I care about.
***Side note: I shared one of Sohee Lee’s videos in my initial post, but I wanted to share this one in particular because this is what has helped me a lot in moving forward with my food anxiety. If you feel like you are unable to enjoy life because you are trapped by your macros, please watch this!