The Holidays: A Good Time for Second Chances
It’s the day after Thanksgiving and most of us are in recovery mode. Recovering from the work we invested in gathering as families…recovering from the over-flowing family joys and squabbles or last but not the most uncommon, recovering from all the eating we’ve done all in one festive day! My question to you is-How do you feel today about how you ate yesterday? I know, I know, we’ve all grown up with a “pass” to pig out on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Birthdays…mmm-maybe even anniversaries and any occasion, for that matter, that is deemed especially special. But, just because we’ve inherited this unwritten no-holds-barred excuse, does that mean we really should use it? Oh! I used the word-should. REALLY, I’m not wanting to tap into a rules or law mentality here. I want to know what makes you feel good. Yes, you heard me right! If we asked ourselves why we look so forward to going “all in” on these celebratory eating occasions-we’d probably come down to the conclusion that eating these traditional holiday foods make us feel good. Sitting around the table with our loved ones, for as long as we can, passing side after side, with just one more helping of that main dish, squeezing in just a few more bites of that over there, and oh ya trying each dessert long after “room” for it has since been taken over by severe swelling of the midsection…accompanied by the traditional top-secret pant-unbuttoning underneath the premeditatedly-picked-out oversized shirt. Doesn’t it sound like I totally get it-from experience? But what I’ve realized…that I think, you too, may eventually find pleasure in admitting is that THIS scenario doesn’t actually make you feel good, after all. I think it’s the idea that feels good…not the stuffing yourself like the turkey on the table, itself, that feels good. We love gathering, sharing and of course EATING but who ever said “having it all” was a good thing? Rather, what about the person who said, “Less is more” or “Quality not quantity.” Consider that what this person discovered could quite possibly be applied to our eating experience during the holidays. I know it’s hard to beat the food coma induction that follows most of these amazing family meals but imagine being able to actually have mental clarity and physical energy to continue the food, fun and fellowship even longer! This Thanksgiving got me to thinking. It’s actually great that Christmas follows up so closely behind Thanksgiving and that we get to do this all over again. What a great opportunity for second chances! How about another go of it-but this time with a different frame of mind? Instead of telling yourself for days and days ahead that you just can’t wait to sink your teeth into Grandma’s_____ and Aunties____ and the good old fashioned____and oh yeah don’t forget the____
What if, you started thinking about how you want to approach this sanctimonious eating occasion in a way that makes you feel better in the end. For each person, that may look different. Maybe for some, it’s just to decide to drink water instead of soda because the added sugar just compounds the after-meal tiredness. For another, it may be to decide that, on the first time through all the food options, a simple sampling of each is sufficient just to be sure of what will be the best to fill up on for the final round. And for another, it may be to enter into this occasion looking to balance out the choices-for every rich and delectably sumptuous food item-it has a fresh or clean plate-partner, such as, simple salad, fruit or protein, therefore, making it even easier to taste the extravagant flavors of rich tradition and indulgence. And if you scoff at the fresh clean options idea because they’ve never been invited to this meal, ever before, no worries! You can be the one who brings and adds something bright, crisp and pallet cleansing to the tapestry of choices-in essence- helping yourself and others find fuller food enjoyment, creating contrast amongst the bouquet of traditional flavors from the table. So look at it this way-it’s an experiment waiting to happen with, most likely, a lot of the same foods just with a new frame of reference and a brand new empty stomach. See how it feels to do it differently. In the meantime, as you resume your usual eating pattern –the one that really keeps you functionally healthy and makes you feel Truly good, begin telling yourself the truth in preparation for Christmas. It’s NOT -All or nothing. When the holiday gets here and you are anticipating yet another, so called, “once a year” meal remember that throwing all to the wind, for a whole week, a whole day or even an entire meal, is not necessary in order to completely enjoy the season. In fact, quite the contrary, a little goes a long way…as they say…and you can skip the coma and the over-eating toll that you normally pay.