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In this Section....

First Annual Christmas Cookie Exchange!!

Christmas is just around the corner, and one of the best parts of the holiday is all the wonderful baked goodies that you don't usually get year-round. The smell of cookies baking or pastry puffing up in the oven is enough to make even the most health-conscious individual say, 'Darn the pounds and full speed ahead!' Walking into my mother's kitchen would instantly add five pounds to anyone's waist!!! So, since everyone welcomes new cookie recipes and baking ideas, we are asking this month that you send in all your favorite Christmas cookie recipes to share with our readers. We will feature all of them in the December issue of SSBBW Magazine with your name and location, please, and maybe we'll all find a new Christmas recipe that we'll want to use every year for our families or just for ourselves!! Dig out those recipes and send them to so we can start filling our homes with the smells of the holiday asap!!!!

November Recipes - Click Here

November means the holidays have come round again, and that means some good holiday meals. This month we offer up some traditional Thanksgiving fare, with a couple twists on the regular holiday meal thrown in for good measure. We're also celebrating the autumn harvest the way the pilgrims did, enjoying the fruits of the season in several of the recipes this month.

Of course, no matter what you're cooking this Thanksgiving, everything tastes better with good people to share it with, so gather up family, friends or both, and enjoy some good eating!

And please send us your recipes. Be sure to put your name and where you're from and send them, and a picture if possible, to and we'll be sure to print as many as possible.

Keeping Healthy Habits (Even When the Going Rough)

You are making the necessary lifestyle changes to reach your goals. You are moving forward, feeling good about yourself, then WHAM! Some event, crisis, or a plateau moves in and you revert back to your old habits. You find yourself scarfing an unwanted bag of chips from the bag, hating yourself. You panic, afraid that all the positive efforts will all be for nothing.

Take a deep breathe. Exhale. Again. Remember, set backs are normal, and more importantly, unavoidable. How you deal with your setbacks will determine between success and failure. The crucial thing to remember is that you can deal with them.

The Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition, defines habit in a number of ways, including "a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity facility of performance" "an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary". In other words, your habits are part of you and you got them over a lifetime. What is a new months behavior compared to a lifetime of habits?

As you have experienced, knowing you should not do something does not hold a lot of sway over habits. For example, we all know people, experts in their respective fields, for example medical, who smoke. If you know you should move your body for 30 minutes a day but you tell yourself that you are too busy or too tired, you set up an internal conflict that will most likely keep you from getting to the gym. Even if you think the reason you can not get to the gym is physical, social or environmental, chances are there is an underlying belief that is causing you to respond to these triggers.

To modify a habit, you can't just replace it with a new one. You have to change the belief that supports the habit, and you have to fill the need the habit meets. That is why, even though you have been doing something a different way, you may revert to old behavior when times get tough or stressful. Our old ways are automatic, comfortable and comforting. The good news is that they can be unlearned, replaced with new ways of behaving.

Let's say you think you are your destined to be fat. You think that if you could be thin, you would be the happiest person on earth. Put them both together and what do you have? The belief that you are destined to be unhappy. Yet, you try diet after diet. You even lose weight, plateau and revert back to old habits. You regain your weight, and of course, you are miserable. Not only have you reaffirmed your beliefs that you are destine to be fat and unhappy, you have made failing at achieving and keeping a healthy weight a habit.

What would happen if we changed the underlying beliefs? True, this is not easy. But what would happen if you tried? Here is how you would do it:

For added support, keep a journal of your thought to become aware of yourself and your beliefs or join a support group. Remember no matter how hard you try to make a healthy lifestyle change, if you fail because you always have, then root those negative thoughts out and bring it to the forefront. Keep it in your awareness and telling yourself it is not true anymore will help you get past it. This is a better day and a better you. Examine your beliefs and change the ones that are keeping you stuck. Belief is powerful. Use affirmations, use self-talk, enlist the help of family and friends to get you back into your new habits.

Best new habit of all...believe in yourself. You are worth it!

Written by: Marianne Westervelt


During the holidays, typically advice is offered on how people can trim down their meals. But this time we find the good stuff that's hidden within our traditional holiday fare. Hooray! But remember, you still have to be accountable for calories, fat, and sugar.


Skinless turkey provides ample protein with very little fat. It's also a good source of several B-vitamins and selenium. 4-ounce servings:

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouses. They're an excellent source of beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.

Cranberry Sauce

A half-cup of fresh cranberries provides 10% of the daily value for vitamin C. What's more, according to the largest USDA study on antioxidant rich foods, cranberries ranked #6!

Pecan Pie

Fresh pecans play a starring role in this delicious dessert. Pecans provide a good source of heart-healthy fat (they contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), along with some fiber, vitamin E, and zinc. They ranked #14 in the USDA's study on antioxidant rich foods.

Homemade Apple Pie

One medium-sized apple contains only 80 calories and has zero grams of fat. Plus, they are a good source of fiber -- specifically soluble fiber -- the type that stabilizes your blood sugar levels and helps lower bad cholesterol.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin, a type of winter squash, is naturally fat free and packs only 30 calories per one-cup serving (of course, that's plain unadulterated pumpkin!). Pumpkin is also a good source of fiber, beta carotene, potassium, and two antioxidants called lutein and beta-cryptoxanthin. Lutein helps reduce the risk of macular degeneration and beta-cryptoxanthin helps fight arthritis.

Roasted Chestnuts

A half-cup of plain chestnuts provides about 150 calories with only 1 gram of fat. They're a great source of potassium, vitamin C and fiber (5 grams per half-cup!).

Information provided by: Joy Bauer Nutrition
Written by: Maria Albus


Thanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays in the United States. Every year we are reminded of the stories -- of Pilgrims and Indians, of apples and pumpkins, of the Plymouth Plantation . . . and of turkeys. The "first" Thanksgiving they told us about in grade school was actually nothing of the kind. People have been observing harvest thanksgivings for thousands of years.

The ancient Romans held a yearly feast in October to thank Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, for a good harvest. They celebrated with parades, dances, music, games, and lots of food. The Greeks honored Demeter, goddess of the harvest. The feast gave thanks for the ending harvest season and asked that Demeter grant a successful crop the following season. The Greeks offered fruits and pigs to their goddess, and a festive meal was part of the celebration. The early Chinese harvest festival took place on about the 15th of August, or the eighth month of the Chinese calendar, and lasted three days. Families gave thanks and ate roast pig, fresh fruits, and "moon cake" cookies. The cookies reminded them of their liberation from the enemies who had invaded their land and taken over their homes and food. The Jewish community has celebrated a harvest festival every autumn for thousands of years. The feast is called Sukkoth and lasts for eight days. Sukkoth refers to the huts of biblical times, called succahs, which were used to store food and in which Moses and his followers lived in the desert on their way to the Promised Land.

The Pilgrims were English separatists who were dissatisfied with their church and decided to cross the Atlantic Ocean in 1620 and settle in the New World. They landed in what is now Massachusetts and Rhode Island and founded the Plymouth Plantation in the town of Plymouth, about 34 miles southeast of Boston. Their grain did not grow well in the northeast, and they were not able to harvest enough food to last for the cold season. After that first winter, the Pilgrims were suffering from hunger and disease. Many had arrived already in poor condition after the long journey, and almost half of them had died by the time warmer weather came.

The Wampanoag Indians came to their rescue, welcoming them and bringing them food. The Wampanoag Chief, Squanto, had been to England and could speak English well. Squanto and other members of his tribe introduced the Pilgrims to local foods and local plant medicines to treat their ailments. He taught them basic survival skills of the region, including how to identify poisonous plants and how to hunt.

Before the second winter, the Pilgrims had learned how to grow many local foods and had begun to succeed in growing the winter. They were healthier and happier. In celebration and gratitude, the Pilgrims invited the Wampanoag Indians to a feast of getting together and giving thanks. That harvest celebration gave rise to a thanksgiving gathering that continued to be celebrated every year at the end of the harvest season.

Many of the foods served at those early celebrations -- corn, pumpkin, berries, squash, sweet potatoes, apples, and maple syrup -- are still part of the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Fish was also part of the meal. The fish was usually salted and the meat was smoke cured. Corn, which was unknown to the Europeans, was a staple of the natives here. Other foods new to the Pilgrims were pumpkins, different types of beans, and some squashes. Because the water was not good to drink, most people drank beer, ale, or wines of various types. There were many types of berries around, so winemaking was common. Even children would drink some of these beverages to avoid the unhealthy water conditions.


In many homes Thanksgiving dinner is the most popular meal of the year. Let's look at a traditional Thanksgiving dinner:

It reads like a list of Thanksgiving superfoods:


Since Thanksgiving means cooking a variety of different foods and in larger quantities than usual, you can really take advantage of the opportunity to store ready-made delicious food for another day. It is tempting to leave food out after the meal so that you and your guests can continue nibbling all afternoon. This is not a good idea. Keeping hot food hot ensures that all food-borne pathogens are killed off. When foods cool down to room temperature, bacteria start to generate and reproduce. Store your leftovers immediately after you're done with your holiday meal; don't let them sit around to start breeding bacteria. Cover those that will be eaten within the next day or two and refrigerate. If you plan to keep the food longer, save individual portions in separate containers, label, and freeze. Leftover turkey makes wonderful sandwiches the next day. And you can make the same food look different and taste different in the days after Thanksgiving. Turkey and vegetables are delicious in casseroles, stir fries, sandwiches, salads, soups, and even burritos, tacos, and pies. Your only limit is your imagination.

So what is Thanksgiving to us today, anyway? We think it is a time to appreciate the many good things that have happened to us throughout the year. It's a time to stop and appreciate the things we normally take for granted, like air, water, trees, birds . . . and favorite foods, family, friends, and caregivers. If you're not sharing the holiday with family, get together with neighbors or friends and have fun preparing and eating the meal together. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish to make it. Even if you are dining alone, you can still make this a special day and a special meal for yourself.


Information provided by:
Written by: Maria Albus

Weight Loss Surgery can be scary words or they can be words of hope. Most SSBBWs have thought of or had someone mention weight loss surgery. It's obviously not for everyone. There are SSBBWs who have accepted that they are large and always will be. There are some who like being large and don't want to change. And there are others who live day to day with pain, both physical and emotional, of carrying the extra weight that have various reasons for wanting to do something about it.

Everyone has a view on weight loss surgery be it good or bad or even neutral. Which is perfectly fine as we are all entitled to our opinions. One reader has made the decision to have weight loss surgery and will take us on her journey. What are your thoughts on weight loss surgery? Have you had weight loss surgery? Our forums are available for you to discuss and give your views on this topic.

Click here to read about our readers journey with weight loss surgery.

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