November 26, 2015


Guest Post by Jan Bono

Crabby and the Lobster are off in Playa del Carmen feeling very thankful for just about everything, as you can imagine. On Crabby's return she will no doubt torture you with photos. But meantime, here is an excerpt from Jan Bono's, “Back from Obesity, My 252-pound Weight-loss Journey,” in which she faces her very first Thanksgiving determined to eat only “healthy” foods.  Happy Thanksgiving! --Crabby

Giving thanks for broccoli and other green things

Six weeks into my commitment I butted up against the holiday specifically dedicated to stuffing oneself with stuffing. Not even in my wildest imagination could I fathom living through the fourth Thursday in November without eating to excess.

Understandably terrified, I knew I couldn’t trust myself to go anywhere near my family of origin; there were way too many land mines to navigate. Dealing with all those life-long familial issues while precariously clinging to my fledgling food plan was too much to ask of myself. I didn’t have enough time invested in this new lifestyle to feel comfortable not using food to medicate around my relatives.

It may sound simplistic, but all my life I had “coped” with the family drama by overeating. Not wanting to get sucked back into my old, ineffective coping skills when I was just getting my life back on track, I talked it over with friends in my support group. Putting me first, and practicing good self-care, I politely declined the invitations to “go north” for the holidays.

I considered going out to a local restaurant, one where there wasn’t going to be an all-you-can-eat buffet, and ordering a simple turkey dinner. My mouth watered profusely as I scanned the newspaper. Each restaurant advertised their take on the traditional national food fest. I shook my head to clear my thinking. No, restaurant dining wasn’t the answer either.

Well, I could always stay home and eat the infamous Hungry Man’s Turkey TV Dinner. Or maybe two or three of them. Or maybe I could forgo the actual dinner and head right for dessert. I could get a deep-dish pumpkin pie and eat the whole darn thing and probably be none the worse for wear—as long as I promised myself that would be all I’d eat that day.

Of course Miki sympathized. She was the designated cook for her family, yet she was determined to stick with her Prism food plan. She suggested I have dinner at her house so we could encourage each other. I declined, saying it was a “family time,” she would be surrounded by her own relatives, her house was rather small, I wouldn’t feel comfortable crashing in, and besides, I didn’t want her thinking I was there to be her food monitor.

 She took my words at face value and told me the invitation would remain open even if I woke up on Thursday and had suddenly changed my mind.

On top of everything else, my car wasn’t working properly and I was afraid to stray too far from home. Thoughts about heading down the Oregon coast for a couple days were dismissed as that geographical escape plan was no longer an option.

I lapsed into a bad case of self-pity. Poor, poor me. Poor, poor me can’t eat like a normal person and therefore poor, poor me can’t enjoy Thanksgiving. Poor, poor me.

Thanksgiving eve my old friend Pat from Port Angeles called and told me he was on his way “to the ocean.” He said to expect him the next day around noon. I told him not to come, there was no food in the house, and I was going to treat it as just an ordinary day around here. He said not to worry about fixing anything, we’d wing it when he arrived.

So the next morning I got showered and dressed after all. My back-up plan had been to stay in bed all day and intermittently read and watch football. I hadn’t quite figured out the food aspect yet. My friend Pat forced me to shake off some of my despairing thoughts. I found myself actually looking forward to his visit.

Pat arrived bearing food: Two turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches from the local bakery. “It’s against the law not to eat turkey on Thanksgiving,” he explained. “There’s no mayonnaise on yours.”

I looked at my friend a long time before I said a single word. I could have laughed, I could have cried, I could have slathered my own light mayonnaise all over my sandwich and devoured it in three bites.

But I didn’t. I didn’t need to. God had sent His emissary to help me stick with my food plan. Another Eskimo.

And I suddenly knew I could enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving without overeating. The day didn’t have to be about food. It didn’t have to be about massive gluttony. It didn’t have to be about stuffing myself until I lapsed into some kind of sick food coma. I suddenly knew, really knew, deep down in my toes, I didn’t have to eat like that ever again. A power greater than myself had miraculously taken charge.

Pat understood. He’d made an over four hour drive on my behalf simply because he understood. I felt an overwhelming sense of serenity and gratitude.

I took both sandwiches from him, put them into the refrigerator, and allowed myself the first genuine smile of the day as I picked up the phone.

“Miki?” I asked, when my calorie-counting compadre answered my call, “Exactly what time is dinner, would you like me to bring a cheeseless broccoli casserole, and is there room for one more guest besides me at the table?”

Promptly at 2 p.m., we all bowed our heads and gave gratitude for loving, understanding, compassionate friends.

And not one of us over-ate.


  1. Thank you for the beautiful Thanksgiving story of hope.

  2. Inspiration, encouragement, support and hope... Many blessings to count today. Hugs.

  3. My family Thanksgivings involved lots and lots and lots of food, but since there were always lots and lots and lots of people it didn't involve much overeating. My grandmother always took the children (and any adults who cared to come) for a walk after dinner. (It is significant that my favorite exercise is walking; after the first time she broke her knee my grandmother walked every single day that she was not too sick to stay in bed.)
    Every day I am grateful to be who I am. I think on Thanksgiving I am thankful for all the knowledge passed down to me by my relatives.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

    1. "too sick to stay in bed" must mean either "too sick to get out of bed" or "not so sick she had to stay in bed." There's a reason I'm usually in bed by nine o'clock.

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

    2. "Family Traditions," like walking together, are important. My aunt died two years ago, and I assumed I'd never get another "care package" of decorated gingerbread turkey cookies in the mail ever again—a tradition that started while I was in college 40 years ago. But yesterday, my cousin, her daughter, sent me a couple "naked" turkey cookies and told me she couldn't bear to send me a sugar high by icing them, but she wanted to know she was thinking of me. Very touching!

  4. Jan,
    Thanks for the good story. Food is such an emotional thing, which makes sense given that it's an integral part of so many aspects of life. How great that your friend came by! Even though I'm reasonably self-contained, I know I'd be pretty low if I were alone on a big holiday, even though I'm not a holiday person.

    I went through a non-turkey phase. Years ago, it would make me so sleepy, and I'd end up with a headache. My family, to their credit, actually was willing to accommodate me, and asked what I'd like instead. I actually took them up on it one time, and we had duck instead if I recall. Very sweet of them, but I didn't repeat that request because I didn't want to impose my differing needs on what everyone else wanted.

    Later on my wife and I hosted the big feast several times, and varied the preparation style of turkey - that, to us, was the best of both worlds. Break the cliches, yet have the traditional food. My favorite was a Spanish spice rub on the roast turkey, smoked paprika.

    I also don't really have an attachment to turkey - I do enjoy eating it now, but I could take or leave it, especially given that many people don't know how to make it without drying it out. [quick tip: brining!] That said, we got invited to new friends' house for Thanksgiving this time, and it was great food, and lots of laughs. It was very flattering to be invited even though we didn't know them super-well. Truly a Thanksgiving spirit. We sang for our supper, too.

    Hope the rest of your holiday season has joy!

  5. What an interesting thanksgiving mind field to carefully go through. It gets harder when everybody is enjoying what you are trying to give up. However, it is a good feeling when you are able to go through the day victoriously.

  6. Thank you for wonderful thanks giving through this wonderful post .


Thanks for commenting, Cranky Fitness readers are the BEST!

Subscribe to comments via RSS

(Note: Older Comment Threads Are Moderated)