We need a holiday from willpower


“Americans started eating on Thanksgiving and we haven’t stopped. We will continue binge eating through Christmas, past New Year’s, and eventually coast to a slobbering stop when we’ve gnawed the last of the weather stripping out of our windows.” —Robert Kirby, Salt Lake Tribune

 

Ironically, as I write this, I’m still recovering from this weekend’s early-Christmas dinner. Or could be the handful of sour cream Pringles minis. Or maybe the chocolate chip ice cream 10 minutes ago.

There’s more, but I’ll keep the details to myself. The truth is scary enough in my head.

Depending on the source you consult, the average weight gain during the holidays is somewhere between one and 10 pounds. In my research, I hit on 12.8 million results on the subject.

I expected pages of depressing stats when I started looking into holiday eating trends. But I was surprised to find more on healthy attitudes and going easy on ourselves.

And about finding the funny in the holidays. For a quick laugh, check out humor columnist Robert Kirby’s take on holiday gorging at: sltrib.com/columnists/ci_14033809″http://www.sltrib.com/columnists/ci_14033809.

What better sums up our unhealthy eating habits than his quote: “Once the binging starts, we will eat anything if it looks festive. Last year, before my wife could stop me, I ate a roll of wrapping paper, some decorative soap and what I’m pretty sure was a candy-coated Chihuahua. It was good, though.”

My favorite was the New York Times blog that said holiday weight gain is greatly exaggerated. But in the back of my mind, I can’t help but think the average person studied in that survey didn’t follow ham balls and mashed potatoes with Pringles and ice cream. And did I mention the caramel Hershey’s kisses?

You’re right, John Cougar Mellencamp, it hurts so good. Sure, I sense some guilt, but the smell of freshly baked sugar and spice works like a temporary magical shame eraser. And, as if I needed a reminder, everything rolled in sugar reminds me that willpower may or may not actually exist. I’m not sure I’m a believer right now.

But I do believe in January. That wonderful month means the candy dish will go empty and this time, won’t be refilled (as often).

Until then, I’ll try to eat three whatever’s-in-front-of-me instead of four. And I’ll try to exercise a little as opposed to not. Now that’s a nice little goal. I already feel better.

I do think overeating at the holidays is emotionally based. The problem is, it isn’t based on being happy or sad. Do you eat more when you’re happy? Sad? Tired? Wired? There’s always a reason, so I say, take it in stride.

Then again, maybe you’re on to me by now. I’m just trying to make myself feel better about that glorious bag of Pringles.

Whatever. I’ll end up drowning something, be it sorrows or joys, in something chocolate covered. Might as well double coat it (uh, just this once).­


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