It’s that time of year again when too many people start to stress about what should be an enjoyable experience; holiday eating. Personally, this is my favorite time of year for food as I love all the things that come with the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holidays.
The traditional foods are great – Thanksgiving dinner and all things pumpkin – but my family has a great food tradition for Christmas and New Year, as well. Members of my family are great cooks and bakers, especially my wife, and starting the week of Thanksgiving all kinds of cookies, pies, and other edibles arrive on the scene.
My love for these foods is guiltless and unconditional.
However, for as much as I love eating the foods that come with the holidays, I am surrounded by people who are racked by guilt, stress and loathing over what should be a pleasurable time of year. We are subjected to an almost nonstop drumbeat of healthy eating tips and as a result a majority of people have become unhealthily obsessed with food.
If you believe the statistics that are bandied about, despite all of this healthy eating info, people are fatter than ever before. And people who do exercise and try to “eat healthy,” too often practice “avoidance eating,” where moderation is a sign of weakness/potential weight-gain/unhealthiness.
Eating 5 or 6 pieces of pumpkin pie – or indulging in any other gastronomic pleasure – over the short term will not do any “damage” in the long-term, just as doing 5 or 6 workouts has no long-term health benefits. If your habits are consistent you deserve the occasional treat, and there’s nothing wrong or damaging from an occasional break from the monotony of every day eating and exercise.
If you don’t eat desert, you won’t live any longer or be healthier and you aren’t more disciplined than those of us who do. Frankly, the preachy, “don’t eat this” people are insufferable bores and are no fun at parties.
I feel sorry for folks who cannot enjoy the foods that come with the holiday. The “healthy alternative” recipes for pies, cookies and cake are depressing. If you’re in that place, you’re missing out.
So my message is, if you enjoy it, this the time to be both naughty and nice. Workout, skip a workout, eat well, eat pumpkin pie. Life’s too short to worry about love handles. Eat, drink and be merry.