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Posted on Nov 23, 2011 in Food | 24 comments


It’s happening! It’s finally here! Well, it will be here tomorrow, at any rate… THANKSGIVING!!

Who's the Turkey?
Thanksgiving 2009 – Photo by Ben

I love this holiday. Yes, Christmas still holds the #1 spot in my holiday-lovin’ heart, but Thanksgiving rings in at a close second. After all, it’s an entire day dedicated pretty much to food! And to being thankful… but also, FOOD!


Goodness knows I do love me some turkey (I’ve used Alton Brown’s Good Eats Turkey recipe for the past two years and it’s been a delicious hit each time!), but Thanksgiving dinner for me is really all about the sides.


This year’s feast will include smashed potatoes, green beans, roasted butternut squash, bacon & maple roasted brussels sprouts, homemade cranberry sauce, gravy, and maybe some sort of healthified stuffing.

Dessert doesn’t hurt either. Ania‘s got dessert covered for tomorrow, and this year’s celebration may be scaled down a bit in terms of size ’cause it’s just the two of us (or not! After all, it’s about the leftovers too!) but there will be no scaling down the flavor! Mmm, so much epic goodness, both for us and for these moochers, who will be getting a Thanksgiving Feast of their very own:

Day 297 - Guard Dogs
Photo by Ben

Okay, for realsies though. All talk of pumpkin pie and delicious side dishes aside, I do have a lot to be thankful for. I have a good life, great friends, amazing dogs, and I am about 300x healthier right now than I have been during any holiday season since the age of 10. Despite my lackluster month so far, things are getting better. I recognize that the holiday season tends to be a weight loser’s worst nightmare, but I’m just trying to keep it all in perspective and remind myself that a few pounds are never worth being miserable over.

December 2009

November 2011

I’m trying to remind myself that it’s okay to take a break, to need to take a step back and just breathe. That I’ve already come a long way, and even though I’m not “there” yet, it’s really only a matter of time. The weight loss will eventually progress, my goals will be met, and my heart will go on. Right now, though, I can just be. Call it my mental reboot, temporary and guilt-free. This doesn’t mean I’m charging into the holidays with reckless abandon, or that I’m going to backslide. It just means that I’m going to stop beating myself up for not wanting to try so hard right now. Hopefully, even if you are someone who doesn’t agree with that, you can respect it.

Clear Shot w/ Old LensRed
November 2009 vs. November 2011

Last Thanksgiving I ran my first 5K. It was the furthest distance I had run since… um, ever. I was still hovering around 220 lbs, and it was a feat I didn’t think I was capable of completing. Luckily, I (as usual) was wrong! I ran those 3.1 miles and here I am, only a year later, gearing up to conquer a 15K in a week. I’m not going to be able to run the entire thing, I know that. But I’m going to be able to say that I finished a 9.3 mile race and that I have lost 60 lbs and I am thankful for that.

What’s one thing on your Thanksgiving menu this year?


  1. Sometimes I feel like stepping back to breathe and give yourself a moment is a much healthier choice than pushing through. Weight loss is hard. It is hard on your body and your mind and you can’t consistently live in that mode for too long. Our body has plateaus for a reason. When it’s had time to adjust, you will start losing again and you will be ready to. For now, just keep living in that pride, girl because you are incredible!!!

  2. I am looking forward to seeing my brother more than I’m looking forward to food but I’m not really a fan of the traditional Thanksgiving menu. I do love me some mashed potatoes though!

    I’ve also let myself relax about working out and being super strict on my diet. I keep reminding myself that it’s the long term that matters but it’s hard to let go of the guilt. I’m looking forward to getting back to it after I get home from traveling!

  3. I know you get frustrated but don’t lose site of the fact that 60lbs is a BIG weight loss. There is a huge difference between the pictures of you in 2009 and now. Plus, it’s also a really big deal that you’re doing a 15K. No shame in walking either. It’s still 9.3 miles which is something that most people could never do.

    Hope you have a great Thanksgiving, Gretchen.

    • You too, Lee! Thank you. πŸ™‚

  4. Very inspiring! You do indeed have a lot to be thankful for, as do we all–thanks for the reminder! Enjoy your holiday!

  5. What’s NOT on my Thanksgiving menu this year? I can’t wait to eat all that fooood! By the way, you.look.ah-mazing. Is it weird that I’m so proud you? Don’t answer that πŸ˜‰

  6. Doing a 15k is awesome, and I’m sure you’ll do great πŸ™‚ Running has always been my #1 intimidating thing, and I’ve never run more than 5k so anyone who has is my hero.

    Our Thanksgiving was over a month ago, but I might make a pumpkin pie this weekend, just ’cause πŸ˜‰

    • Maybe you should make mini pumpkin pies and make them extra adorable… as evidenced by yesterday’s post. πŸ˜‰

  7. I’m sorry we can’t spend actual T-giving together but I’m looking forward to seeing you tonight and partaking in some leftover goodness (if there are any left!) on Saturday πŸ™‚ Oreo is looking forward to seeing his cousins!

  8. Seeing your photos side by side like that is really inspirational! Thanks for sharing. I’m trying Alton Brown’s turkey recipe this year(Is it weird to admit that I have a huge strange crush on Alton Brown? LOL). It’s my first time making Thanksgiving dinner and I’m really nervous! We’ll see how it goes. Enjoy your T-Day!

    • Psh, not weird at all — I LOVE A.Brown! And his turkey recipe is totally the one to do if it’s your first time doing a turkey, I swear it’s fool-proof! My one tip is that the first time I made it, my oven had never been heated to 500* before and it wasn’t cleaned so it smoked up a lot because of all the little crusties and bits inside burning up. So I freaked out a little but the turkey still turned out great. πŸ™‚

  9. I’m sure you remember from your life in Ottawa that Thanksgiving isn’t a big thing here. We do the turkey dinner and stuff but it doesn’t seem to have quite the same level of celebration as it does in the US. Maybe because we only get one day off instead of 2? Maybe because it’s too far from Christmas to really get us in the holiday spirit. I’m not sure.

    I like reading all these blogs with people’s big thanksigiving celebrations though.

    Oh, and you’re going to do awesome with that 15K. Galloway-method that bitch and then drink lots of hot chocolate.

  10. You look fantastic! And your weight loss not only made you a happier, healthier Gretchen, but it also inspired this amazing blog that so many people love reading. Seriously, some of the facial expressions you make in pictures are so adorably funny, I ended up laughing out loud at my desk (not like I’m reading blogs when I should be working … *averts eyes*).

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. I’ll be cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time EVER. I’ve never cooked a turkey, let alone a whole meal. I’m really looking forward to a mashed potato bake thing I have going on and brussels. Mmmm…

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  12. Thanksgiving has awesome food but Christmas will always be my favorite holiday πŸ˜› Sides are my favorite too… I’m psyched about the pear-sausage stuffing, sweet potatoes, and cranberry-orange bread from Great Harvest! All followed with some pumpkin pie… DELIC!

    Have a fab Thanksgiving πŸ˜€

  13. Oh! I assume you’re doing the Hot Chocolate 15K? I was debating on signing up for it- but it’s just so far and EARLY for me… ugh.
    My husband is obsessed with Alton Brown’s recipes… I wonder if he knows about the turkey one? We are going to my parents’ for dinner, but still got our own turkey to cook at home.
    I’m making brussels sprouts with bacon- I’ll have to check out the addition of a maple glaze though.
    Have a great Thanksgiving!! πŸ™‚

    • That’s the one! I just have to keep telling myself that there will be chocolate at the end… chocolate… chocolate…

  14. good luck on your 15k!!

  15. Good luck on your 15K!!

    As for the holidays I think your approach is perfect! Sometimes you have to step back and take a deep breath. I take the attitude around the holidays that maintaining or a couple pound gain is still a success because in past years I’d gain lots of pounds. I want to enjoy my holidays and not stress every calorie.

    Happy Thanksgiving!!

  16. That’s the spirit!

    You’ve come a really, really long way, physically and emotionally. Taking a breather isn’t a crime. If you keep trying to force yourself to try too hard when your heart isn’t in it, you can get burnt out and then not want to try at all, ever, again.

    Best of luck on the race!

  17. GOOD FOR YOU!!
    I do not know yet what I will be making, I have plenty of ideas, but just canΒ΄t decide…

  18. That first photo cracked me up! πŸ™‚

    You’ve come along way in a couple of years. It’s pretty inspiring. Good luck with the 15k!

    • Not yet, but it’ll get up here eventually! In the meantime, it’s just brussels sprouts with the stems cut off and halved, maple syrup (just enough to finely coat the sprouts), and 1-2 slices of bacon chopped up. Cook the bacon in a large pan until almost crisp, add brussels sprouts and maple syrup, add salt & pepper, done! Soooooo good. I promise a real recipe will be written up soon.

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