My sweet potato pie tarts.

I am so incredibly glad Thanksgiving is over.

We left Dayton at 1 a.m. today, and arrived back home in Raleigh at 9 a.m., beating the worst of the holiday traffic and giving me the day to work through my holiday hangover. Soon after I write this, I’m going to take a nap, and then (drum roll, please) I’m going to reintroduce myself to the gym.

As we pulled out of Mom’s driveway just after midnight, I was so close to tears I almost cried. It was my annual trek back home, and I was reminded that once a year just doesn’t cut it. I needed to get back there at least twice a year, and vowed to do so. Fortunately, I see my mother two sometimes three times a year, when she comes here to Raleigh or meets us in Columbus or Orlando for one of Sky’s cheer competitions.

I have to say, Thanksgiving this year wasn’t nearly as stressful as it’s been in years past, and I like to believe that signals growth on my part. Not only did I not care what others thought about me or my weight, I didn’t respond to any weight-related comments. This year, there was just one – that I heard – and I chose not to acknowledge it. Inwardly, I allowed myself to wonder what the other person’s reaction would be if I criticized his looks . . . and then I let it go.

In fact, I’ve been letting a lot of things go, recently, and so far that’s been working out well. There was a conflict, of sorts, at work last week. We worked through it – even the icky stuff – there were apologies, and then I just let it all go. It’s over, time to move on, life is good.


In the past, I’d be mistrustful, try to second-guess the others’ “true” intentions. That’s putting a lot of time and attention into something over which I have no control, and I just don’t, wont, do that anymore. Same goes for family relationships, immediate and extended.  There’s big-time drama going on, but it has nothing to do with me, and I feel no need to borrow trouble, or to find out what’s really going on, because frankly, even though I’m sure it’s all juicy stuff, it’s time spent in negativity, in other peoples’ business, in family drama I’m mildly curious about, and somewhat sad about, but not willing to do anything about.

You don’t have to read between the lines to understand what I’m saying here. The situation and people and places haven’t changed; what’s changed is how I’ve chosen to react to them. Believe it or not, that includes food, and is likely why I made it through the holiday without gaining any weight – that and walking at least 6 miles on Black Friday.

I told you I would only eat when I was hungry, and I did. Even better: I stopped when I was satisfied. The bad news is, most of my meals were incredibly unhealthy, with the exception of Friday night, when Mom made some greens to complement all the other leftovers. I ate mostly greens that night, with a little leftover mac ’n cheese. If there had  been any ham left, I would have had that as well, but the ham was one of the first casualties of the night. (Yes, I’m completely off the vegetarian bandwagon, but continue to opt for meatless meals more often than not.)


Even though I didn’t overeat, most of what I did consume had little or no nutritional value. Like pound cake for breakfast. My sister-in-law made a fab lemon pound cake, one of my all-time favorites.  In fact, we had a total of six pies – not including all those sweet potato pie tarts I’d made – and dozens of cookies. That’s quite a variety of desserts to consider after consuming one of the largest meals of the year. Despite folks taking home plates of entire dinners to consume the next day, there were many leftovers at Mom’s house.

Everything except greens, though. So Mom made a big pot on Friday. Again, I didn’t want to overeat and feel miserable and/or sorry for myself, so I ate mostly greens that night, ignoring the turkey, dressing, gravy and yams. I topped it off with a slice of key lime pie.

I think 10 hours of Black Friday shopping also helped to keep my weight in check. Sky and I arose at 2 a.m., hit an outlet mall just north of Cincinnati from 3 to 6 a.m., then a large Cincinnati mall from 6:30 to noon.  On Saturday, I didn’t even want to think about leftovers, opting instead for game-day snacks (and more pound cake) as we watched my alma mater stomp Michigan, and various other college football games throughout the day.


I turned in around 7:30 p.m., because we were going to leave at midnight, and I had the first leg. (Note to self: Forget about night driving. Night = sleep, and no matter how awake I might feel, it’s a dangerous and unnecessary undertaking. So, no more.) Unbeknownst to me, Mom – who doesn’t like sweet potato or pumpkin pie – packed turkey sandwiches and the rest of the tarts along with other snacks for our trip.

I discovered them while unpacking here at home. Now that I’ve had a turkey sandwich, it’s naptime, then off to the gym. I’m sick of the tarts, thank goodness, and the pound cake is long gone, so I’m hoping I can wean myself off sweets during the week ahead.

Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often. ~  Johnny Carson


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Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.