Thursday, November 24, 2016

November, 24th, 2016 Thanksgiving

November, 24th, 2016 Thanksgiving

This was my 9th Thanksgiving since I started along this road in September 2008. I've had a plan for each one--not the same, of course, it's evolved into what it is today. A plan for me, on any day--and especially on a day like today, is critically important.

My strategy is centered on shifting the main focus from the food to the experience with family--and of course, giving extra thought, thanks-gratitude, for the blessings in my life. I had a great Thanksgiving without over-indulging and I'm proud of that. If you would have told me ten years ago that it was possible to enjoy Thanksgiving without diving into a food coma, I would have argued with your position. I would have defended the acceptable nature of holiday indulgence--and I would have done it while being completely disconnected from my own truth.

Some people can make today their Superbowl of eating and it's okay for them because it comes without long-term consequences. I'm not them. I never was one of those people, although I did my best impression for a very long time.

Since I'm no longer including the day's food Tweets on this blog, I put together a collage of pictures representing today's consumption. It was satisfying, on plan and perfect, for me.

I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving! I can't complain. Mine was blessed. Noah was in prime form today. That little guy is something extra special.

I've consumed approximately 15 to 20 crackers in the last year. I only have crackers if I'm at a restaurant and I've ordered cottage cheese. These two things--crackers and cottage cheese, are things I don't keep in my apartment--and I don't, because I have a history with both and it isn't a healthy history. I only enjoy them on rare occasion while dining out. That's just one of the boundaries of my food plan.

A long time ago--probably two and half years ago, when I decided to abstain from refined sugar, I checked out the ingredients of plain saltine crackers, Zesta brand to be exact--and this is what I found:

Zesta Saltine Crackers-
Ingredients: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Soybean Oil with TBHQ for Freshness, Salt, Contains Two Percent or Less of: Corn Syrup, Yeast, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin.

I didn't see "sugar" and the synonym for sugar, "corn syrup" is at least the 6th ingredient or less--so it's not even a concern.

Many people who maintain abstinent eating plans will often accept a product even if sugar is listed as the 5th ingredient or less. This is very common. I normally don't anyway--just because, except in the case of my rare crackers and cottage cheese.

Apparently, not all crackers are equal. Several days ago, while dining out with my oldest daughter, I enjoyed some crackers with my cottage cheese. Instead of regular saltines, they served Lance brand's Captain's Wafers. I didn't check to make sure, I just assumed if Zesta is okay, why wouldn't these be okay? As it turns out, these contain refined sugar as the third ingredient--followed by HFCS and malt syrup as the 4th and 5th ingredients.

Lance Captians Wafers-
Ingredients: Enriched Wheat Flour (Containing Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Shortening (Contains One or More of the Following Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils: Soybean, Cottonseed, Sunflower, Canola), Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Malt Syrup, Salt, Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate)

No more Captain's Wafers for me. I do not, nor should I count this as a willful/intentional violation of my abstinence from refined sugar.

My food plan has served me very well. And I'm going to keep on allowing it to serve me well as I proceed in maintenance mode.

I certainly hope that clears up the cracker issue. Zesta, yes. Captain's Wafers, no.

As my friend Geri Helms would say--I just pole vaulted over a mouse turd, but hey--in the name of transparency, it needed to be addressed.

And to the anonymous commenter who zeroed in on this breach, thank you for bringing it to my attention.

Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget. I remained abstinent from refined sugar. I met my daily water goal. I stayed well connected with great support. And I exercised with a good late afternoon walk.

The next episode of Transformation Planet is available on iTunes, Google Play and wherever you get your podcasts. Episode 7 features Dr. Marty Lerner PhD!

Dr. Lerner's experience with eating disorders started long before he became known for his research and published articles. He shares his personal story with disordered eating behaviors in this episode. He also shares how a research project using ice cream forever changed the direction of his career. In the decades since, he's been featured on numerous national television and radio shows including The NPR Report, 20/20, ABC's Nightline and Discovery Health. Dr. Lerner's research has been published in many different professional publications and featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today and several newspapers and national magazines. He is the CEO of Milestones In Recovery Eating Disorder Treatment Center in Florida.

Dr. Lerner is also the first special guest speaker in the Sean and Coach Kathleen December Speaker Series via private teleconference. Members of the December Speaker Series receive entrance into the secret Facebook group for speaker series members. Being a part of this December group will give you several bonus benefits throughout the month!
Sign up here:


  1. Dear Sean, do not worry about the opinions of others - they are not your business. If you want to eat a cracker now and then, and it doesn't affect your resolve, it is not up to anyone to correct you. After all you have a pretty good track record now. Same thing for bananas. Now that is really pole vaulting over mouse turds. You are maintaining your weight for over a year. What you are doing is working. Don't sweat the small stuff, okay?

  2. Agee it is not a big deal, but also think the person who told you was kind to do so. (Hopefully they said it nicely.) It is better to know. And recipes change, check your Zestos every once in a while too. And personally, I think there is a difference between abstinence and fifth ingredient or less. Not saying you shouldn't use the word, just saying it is good to clarify.

    My sugar story - many years ago I was at a restaurant with my son and husband. It was one where they ate a couple times a year, sushi. My first visit, I don't eat sushi. I have to be very careful about sodium too, it impacts my balance/inner ear. It was hard to find an option. (Like you I am fine just visiting and eating later.) Finally settled on steamed veggies which the waitress told me were plain. One bite and I knew they were not plain. She questioned kitchen and she was very shocked to find out they steam veggies in sugar water. They said it was a fairly common practice to improve flavor. Waitress was very upset to find they had always done this and she never knew. And at that point in my life, I personally switched to only eating at two restaurants. One would give me a copy of recipe from kitchen. And another where the chef would come talk to me if needed. I so rarely eat out now, that all this is a mute point, but I will always remember that poor waitress and the sugar steamed veggies.

  3. It is my seventh year of celebrating Thanksgiving while on my health journey. I started just AFTER T-Giving in 2009.

    Did you see Joy Bauer's advice on how to eat at T-Giving and not gain weight on the Today Show Wednesday, I believe? She said to take a little bit of everything--Just one helping and only ONE dessert. I'm not sure that Joy fully understands food addiction, and how sugar and/or overeating ONE day can be a gateway drug for some of us. I'm having my family Thanksgiving today (Friday), and hope to restrain myself. I usually do well on the day itself, then struggle with leftovers in the days following the holiday. I hope to send most of the leftovers home with my kids, esp. those dreaded (and delicious--unfortunately) desserts. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours Sean!

  4. If you are looking for a cracker with no sugar, try Triscuits. I haven't eaten them in a long time but they used to contain only, wheat, salt and oil. Still not perfect but three pretty basic ingredients.


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