Food Is Not Your Enemy

Holiday Eating 101, Or How Not to Freak Out

Thanksgiving is behind us, and yet it feels like we’ve only just begun. Food–much of it not super-healthy, to put it mildly–seems to be everywhere. Snowman-shaped butter cookies at the office. Eggnog at a friend’s cocktail party. Chocolates in your child’s backpack from a party in her classroom. And then there’s the looming specter of an outsize ham on Christmas Day, or sweet potato pie during Kwanzaa. Sigh.

What should you do? Is it time to urge your mom to make a lower-fat turkey breast for Christmas, rather than that delectable ham? Should you gear up to refuse to eat a single cookie, telling everyone you’re watching your weight?

No and no.

I’m of the mind that on days meant for feasting, whether Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanzaa, you should feast–without guilt. Do you really want to be the killjoy at the table who complains how fat you are, who points out the huge number of calories in the mashed potatoes? On these days centered around eating, eat–eat slowly, joyfully, and savor every bite and moment with your loved ones.

What you don’t want to do is treat every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day as a day for feasting. That’s where we can get into trouble. Giant, heavy meals for one day in November and a couple in December will not kill you, or make you gain 10 pounds. But if you’re at a holiday party every few days, shoveling in pigs-in-a-blanket and downing cups and cups of eggnog, that’s when you’d benefit from taking a step back and realizing you can’t keep up this pace of eating and realistically expect to stay at your current weight.

If you do overindulge at one party too many? Don’t beat yourself up about it. When the new year rolls in, recommit to eating healthy foods, get back into your exercise routine, and know that you’ll soon be back in fighting shape. And if you need support along the way, you know who to call!


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Here’s a slightly humorous look at the Holiday eating issue:

Comment by Little Johnny

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