Twelve Pounds of Pudgy


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            Christmas
cookies stacked higher than the star on the tree.  Weekends packed with more wassailing than we’ve partaken in
since college.  Dinners with
family, lunches with coworkers, and cocktail parties a’ plenty.  It’s no wonder by the time New Year’s rolls
around we no longer need the pillow pack to stuff our cheap felt Santa suits.

            I
may not be great at follow-through, but having completed my first diet at age
ten and never having gone a year since without trying again, I know a thing or
two about eating healthy.  I could
write a book about it, if only I could Photoshop the author’s pic on the inside
flap.  But any real weight-loss
coach or personal trainer will tell you the same thing I’ve learned: dieting
doesn’t work.  Hard and fast rules
don’t work.  Eliminating foods
doesn’t work.  Eating healthy is a
“life-style change.”  In
theory, this ought to be good news. 
It means we don’t have to swear off pizza, red wine, and chocolate
ice-cream forever.  It also means
we don’t have to eat perfectly everyday. 
To be truly healthy we can enjoy our favorite treats in moderation and
not stress out over calorie counts at every special occasion.  So long as there are significantly more
good days than bad, we’re okay.

            January
through September theory and reality might overlap like the two ends of a
well-fitting belt. But as soon as the first bags of candy corn begin adorning
every store shelf, dieters (or “life-style changers”) everywhere
begin relegating the belts to the bottoms of our closet and curse the inevitable
return to Lycra-lush pants and chunky knit sweaters.  It’s not simply the sheer amount of “special
occasions” that occur between Halloween and New Year’s that pose a
problem–even those of us without a life the other months of the year begin to
have more events on our social calendars than there are muffin-top masking tops
in our closets.  There are also the
added life-style saboteurs.  First,
on the list: “Limited Time” labels.  I once had a Weight Watchers leader who in advising us on
how to deal with temptations said wisely, “There will always be another
chocolate cake; you don’t have to eat it all now.”  She was right, chocolate cakes are
plentiful all year long.  But what
about eggnog?  Pecan pie?  Pumpkin spice lattes?  Peppermint bark?  There are just too many goodies this
time of year that are seasonal.  If
I don’t eat that stuffin’ muffin now, I may never see one again, right?  And the likelihood that Starbucks will
discontinue the five-dollar holiday flavored lattes that leave them rolling in
more green than a Christmas tree farm is certainly high.  Okay, so I’m a sucker for marketing
ploys. 

            The
second saboteur is the most ironic because it’s the very thing we’re supposed
to love about the holiday season: added time with family, friends, and co-workers.  As if the stress of shopping for
presents, decorating the house, and hosting parties isn’t enough to send a
stress-eater diving into the tree-shaped Reeses, someone decided it would be a
grand idea to add the joy of dealing with crazy relatives and drunken
co-workers.  There’s a reason work
parties and family gatherings traditionally include platters of fattening
comfort foods and liberal libations: without them we’d be forced to soberly
face the fact that we don’t really like hanging out with some of these
people.  The holiday season offers
us a time to appreciate the people who make our lives richer, but it also often
tosses us into situations where we’re forced to exude goodwill and cheer to
those people we can and do avoid the rest of the year.  Unfortunately for my skinny jeans, my
goodwill is always increased with a little chocolate.  Besides, I find if my mouth is full, I’m less likely to put
my foot in it.

            So
what’s a weight-wrestler to do? 
Throwing the scale out the window is tempting.  Walking around with blinders on so as not to see the
seasonal goodies spilling out from every nook and cranny might be a better
plan.  Using the excuse that I’m
home battling a nasty case of the pudgies in order to get out of a few less
than desirable social occasions has crossed my mind.  (Though we all know people tend to talk about you if you’re
not there, so it’s better to attend and partake in the catty-chat than stay
home and be victim to it.)  That
leaves just one option that I can see: eat, drink, and be merry.  There’s always that New Year’s
resolution.

            As
for me, I’m off to finish my ten dozen Christmas cookies for the cookie
swap.  Cookies, gossip, and the
girls: three things so worth the added miles to tomorrow’s run!

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