Good morning to ya! Yesterday the AntiRat came home and busted me in the highly embarrassing state of listening to Christmas music before Halloween. What can I say? It’s 50 degrees ’round these parts, and to this SoCal girl, that there means it’s Christmas time.
So the other day, while snooping around the internet, I came across a NY Times blog about the average holiday weight gain. I had always assumed, based on various articles, that most people gain 7-10 pounds during the holidays. This post from back in 2007 says that it’s more like an average of 1-2 pounds. That’s the average though, so some pack on 5 pounds.
The trouble is, most of us don’t take that 1, 2 or 5 pounds off. And if you start doing that at age 20, by the time you’re an old geezer like me, that can be an extra 13 to 65 (!!!) pounds that you’re carrying around with you.
And now that we’re adults, we have more holiday parties to go to — sometimes there are departmental holiday parties and then a company party and then we tag along to our significant other’s holiday party… then there are church potlucks, cookie swaps, multiple family celebrations and the daily juggernaut of pumpkin muffins/whoopie pies/donuts, gingerbread lattes, chocolates and tempting recipes floating around television and blogs. I think I need to stop reading food blogs until after the New Year. 😉
You know me, I’m a hedonist with a sweet tooth (and I really, really, really liked mashed potatoes and stuffing). But of course, I like my pants to fit and I enjoy breathing without the discomfort of a swollen food belly. Here are some of my tips for navigating the holidays without depriving yourself. If you have tips, please add them below!
- Remember the holidays only come around once a year. This is a time to celebrate the blessings and plenty in your life. If you are reading this, you probably are somewhere warm, safe, dry and with access to Angry Birds. Rejoice! For those of us who observe Christmas, we celebrate the free gift of grace and man’s redemption. Again I say… REJOICE!
- Remember the holidays are, max, a couple of days a year. Counting Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day, New Year’s, that’s only like 5 days. I’m not so sure how Hanukkah works — do you get to feast every night? Adam Sandler was silent on the subject. Regardless, my point is this: celebrate the holiday ON the holiday. That means you have pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, not for dessert every day leading up to Thanksgiving. Special desserts are only special if you don’t eat them every day, right? One of the researchers mentioned in the NY Times blog thinks that the calorie creep might be a factor in the weight gain:
“I think the number of people who only overeat at the Thanksgiving meal is slim to none,” said Dr. Hull. “The holiday season doesn’t represent one day of overeating. You have this period that extends through the new year where there’s more alcohol, more snacks, more finger foods and appetizers that are energy dense.”
- Don’t eat lame shit you can eat any other day of the year. Pardon my strongly worded French, but you know what drives me crazy? Chocolate chip cookies at Christmas. Or brownies at Christmas. Don’t misunderstand, I am affirmatively PRO chocolate chip cookie and brownie (mmmm!) but at Christmas? You go bigger. Specialer. Gingerbread or spice cookies. Or chocolate crinkle cookies (my personal fav and a major pain in the ass to make). Now MINT brownies are a brownie of a different color. And red & green M&M cookies are different too (I have a weird relationship with M&M cookies. Candy? IN COOKIES? CANDY AND COOKIES TOGETHER??? What majesty is this?? I only used to get these after piano recitals when I was a kid. Which almost made up for having to sit through a piano recital). So in Lizzie reasoning: regular mocha at the holidays = waste of calories. Peppermint mocha = total legit holiday treat and well worth the caloric splurge. For this reason, I typically give Halloween candy a skip. Just because it’s shaped like a pumpkin does not mean it’s not the Reese’s peanut butter cups you can get the other 50 weeks of the year. Plus, that peanut butter has gotten funky. It doesn’t taste right. And it’s kinda dry. Just my opinion. So I drink margaritas on Halloween. It’s tradition, don’t judge. 😉
- Save yourself for some
onething special. It’s okay to know that there’s something special out there waiting for you. So you don’t want to tart around with store bought pies at the dessert table when you know that your Mother in Law has made her mother’s special chocolate tea biscuit amazing concoction (I think it’s something like this but with coffee and buttercream). Don’t help yourself to a donut from the box (see also the suggest above re: lame shit you can eat all year) in the kitchen when you know homemade cinnamon rolls are just about to come out of the oven. Why dull your tastebuds with inferior goodies? Let them be fresh for the good stuff. Your mantra: You’re saving yourself.
- Portion control is the name of the game. Sometimes this involves corporal measures. If you can eat 1 cookie, great. Take home leftovers from the cookie exchange. Since I can’t bear to waste
fooddessert, I know if I bring them home, they’re gonna end up in my belly (and hence jiggling around on my ass) sooner or later. Probably sooner. Probably in the car ride home. So don’t take leftovers home! And if you absolutely can’t refuse, get rid of them as soon as you politely can by chunking them in the trash. Trust me — no one has ever died from having a lack of cookies in their house. Don’t waste your willpower by keeping temptation in your house. I never cease to be amazed at the sadistic nature of people who are trying to eat healthy but keep chips, pastry, cookies or candy in their homes. Why do you torment yourself? If it’s not in your house, you won’t eat it. Your house, your rules. Don’t let it in! It’s like a vampire — once you invite it in, it’s going to have it’s wicked way with you. And no, it’s not like this vampire:
More like this vampire. What a douche.