I was the only one at splits class last night and my instructor and I chatted about how we had overindulged over the past week. I thought out loud, “Why do we think it’s acceptable to overdo it during the holiday season?” You hear it everywhere and a quick Google search yields oodles of results on avoiding holiday weight gain and how to stay mindful when eating. We do it even when we know better, so why do we do it?
My theory is that our society has given us permission to go nuts. Even when our culture says you shouldn’t eat every cookie you just baked for the office party, it gives a little wink and a nudge from the sidelines and reminds you that you can work it off in the new year. By saying it’s the season to overeat, it becomes the season to overeat.
Magazine covers at the grocery store checkout and noontime talk shows go on and on about getting your holiday baking done. What is this notion of holiday baking anyway? I get that many cultures celebrate with food…a notion I often enjoy, but we don’t go into a frenzy in August or February, so why do we have to in December?
I imagine a lot of us grew up with relatives and church ladies baking for weeks beforehand and strongly encouraging you to have a second slice of rum cake or yule log. Stop by for a visit and be confronted with a childhood’s worth of edible memories! We wouldn’t want to disappoint Nanny or Mrs. Morrison, now would we? I have a friend who falls into the Mrs.Morrison category, though, and she stressed about all the goodies she had to get baked in time. Seeing as I’m more likely to visit Mrs.Morrison than be her, I made the decision not to make whipped shortbreads or magic bars (you know, condensed milk, coconut, chocolate chips) this year because I knew I would be the only one eating the majority of the pan if I did. I consciously rejected the holiday bake-a-thon idea and I the only overeating I did was to quickly consume all of the Ferrero Rochers I was gifted before my kids could catch me. (Better than last year!)
As we head towards New Year’s Eve, I am sure you will hear advice to follow before and after (and maybe even while) you “tie one on” , but that doesn’t mean you HAVE to over do it. Why not approach the occasion like you would any other Sunday night (ok, I’ll allow a Friday or Saturday night) and enjoy your usual one or two instead? You’ll find me rejecting the hype and sitting at home working on my plan for 2018 and enjoying about a half a glass of whatever wine is leftover in the fridge before nodding off well before midnight.
Happy New Year!