This is probably my most favorite time of the year. I love the crisp (non-snow) weather. I enjoy cozying up with some hot chocolate and a good book or writing on my laptop. I especially love that my grass stops growing and I don’t have to do any yard work. That last one is especially nice, although I do miss the fresh tomatoes from the garden. And of course this is the time of the year when I fully get to take advantage of eating pie.
Thanksgiving and Christmas however (while fun times of the year with friends and family) are times when many make excuses to turn from normal everyday people into absolute gluttons as if there is some sort of overriding OK during these times of the year to put on 10lbs. They then get their gym membership renewal in January and proceed to workout out for a few weeks until they lose steam and then 9 months or so later repeat the process all over.
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results every time.
Rather than feel guilty, gluttonous, or otherwise ashamed of how we act during the holidays maybe we should look at the overall process and make some observations before we look at recommendations.
Whether you like the traditional dinner with turkey and stuffing, canned gelatinous sauce called cranberry, mashed potatoes and gravy, and of course pie or you’re more into non-traditional (whatever that may entail) we all like a good thanksgiving dinner. The problem of course is the dinner on the 4th Thursday of November, the problem is all of the pre and post festivities that go along with it. For example: one family I know very well, my wife’s, will have nothing but pie for dinner the night before. While I personally enjoy a good round of pie in copious amounts just as much as the next guy, it’s probably wise to limit my intake that night, especially since the next day I usually feel like garbage if I don’t.
Christmas time isn’t too different. In fact the whole month of December becomes a what’s what of holiday treats and confections. You know the drill; bake a ton of sweets and give them away to people all the while receiving them from others. I remember this well as a kid and was happy to oblige anyone who was willing to drop off sweet goods. And while super tasty and welcomed, it really isn’t too different from going to the store and buying Oreos and snacking on those a few times a week.
Does all this sound familiar?
Cold weather tends to keep people indoors as I alluded to earlier. This means overall physical activity tends to go down. More calorie intake and less calorie burn equals weight increase.
What to Do
I’m going to keep it simple. My mom always taught me the KISS principle (Keep it simple stupid) so lets review how to do just that.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Sit with your family or friends at the table. Talk about experiences, life in general or good memories. The dinner table is for that very thing since it was first invented. Enjoy the food! Enjoy the company. Enjoy a piece of pie or whatever sweet treat you happen to have and then be done. Most people are actually done after a big meal. It’s the day after of sitting and watching football and eating all the rest of the pie (you people know who you are) or ingesting whatever else you can, even the veggie tray with dressing, while doing nothing all day long.
The women in the family usually get back sometime in the afternoon, maybe earlier depending on how early they left for Black Friday sales and start making more food because they are hungry from furiously fighting back the throngs of other people crazily trying to get the best deals on anything they can find. The people who stayed home aren’t hungry but might indulge anyway because someone else is making the food.
Same thing happens at Christmas just without the Black Friday sales.
Instead of baking Christmas goods maybe you and yours can render some holiday service in some way or another. The experience will be good for all around and you won’t be forcing others to eat things they might not normally have consumed.
In short keep your eating to meal time and eat a nice dinner. Give service rather than sweets. The service rendered will be sweet to those in need. One plate of good food is probably enough too.
Last year for Christmas we had two roasted ducks with some cheese and salami sides as well as some roasted peppers. It was a great meal that left us all (except my dad) satisfied and we had a good time at the table. After a little dessert the meal was over and we spent time as a family. No crazy post dinner meals or next day grazing on fatty foods. Just a nice day with family.
Be extra careful this year as Christmas also falls on a Thursday which means that the day after is Friday and many might have both days off.
Have an enjoyable Holiday Season!