Cookies, cakes, Christmas candies, stuffing, pumpkin pie, hot rolls all wrapped up with family and friends and, hopefully, centered around the true meaning of our special holiday – the birth and life of Jesus Christ. What if we begin now to prepare mentally and emotionally for a new focus, one that might be less centered on over-indulgence and the regret of added pounds once the tinsel and favorite recipes have been packed away?
Thanksgiving or Christmas without pumpkin pie or Grandma’s special recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies? No whipped cream or Brown Betty fudge? That would never do. We can enjoy those wonderful traditions and still keep them in their proper perspective. Begin now to include exercise in your daily routine to get that metabolism working at optimum efficiency. Learn the discipline of drinking plenty of water during the day. Gather new recipes or healthier versions of favorite ones from the abundant supply online.
When party season arrives, be prepared. Scope out healthy dishes to prepare and take as your contribution to the festivities. You’ll be doing others a favor as well as protecting your own good intentions.
Don’t skip meals, rather have a light snack of veggies and/or fruit before leaving for the party. Drinking plenty of water will help take the edge off of your hunger. And NEVER shop hungry!
It’s so easy to load up that desert plate with a sample of each offering until the flavors really blend together and we lose that particular, delightful texture and taste of our favorite seasonal experience. Take only your very favorite offering and pass on the things that you can live without. Make the gathering more about the people. Engage in conversation – away from the food. Offer to help clear the table and/or wash dishes.
When planning that special time in your own home, engage your senses with beautiful colors and textures. Make a feast for the eyes rather than the pallet. Fill the room with beautiful music and scents.
Keep plenty of calorie-free beverages at hand for yourself and your guests: Iced tea, diet soda, water pitchers filled with cold water and slices of fresh, colorful fruit.
Replace those huge disposable ovals with smaller dinner plates and desert bowls. Use smaller serving spoons. Cut the meat into smaller serving sizes. Limit the number of dinner rolls per guest. In the long run, you’ll help prevent their overeating and, probably, have much less wasted food for the disposal. You and your guest will enjoy ending the day satisfied, not stuffed.
Having containers at hand for packing away or sharing the leftovers could signal that it’s time to move on to non-food socializing. Maybe some planned activities and/or games to draw your guests away from the table will help ward off the continual nibbling simply because the food is so accessible.
As for your own enjoyment, delay that tasty dessert or treat – set aside a special time (and your very own serving) to indulge and savor every bite. Maybe that quiet moment with your senses could be at the end of the festivities when you’ve traded your apron for your comfy robe and fuzzy slippers. Just you and, well – you fill in the blank. Eat slowly and deliberately, and enjoy.
Statistically, we gain an average of ten pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. Is it any wonder that the resolve to "go on a diet" or "lose ten pounds" usually lands at the top of our ever-fading list of resolutions for the year? After losing 60 pounds a couple of years ago, I thought I was bullet proof and decided I could indulge over the holidays and beat the odds. Ummm...NO! I'm still trying to undo that lie! Think ahead of where you want to be on January 2, 2016 and keep your eyes on the prize rather than the pies.
It will serve each one of us well to remember that the extra calories of the season will result in added pounds that will linger long after the treats, meals, and leftovers have been tasted, served, and scraped into oblivion. At least until next year.
Don’t wait for the inevitable New Year’s resolution to shed those holiday pounds that have been adding up over the past few Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. Get a head start, then maintain your success with wise choices and by remaining focused on the real Reason we gather in thankfulness and celebration: God’s wonderful gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”
(Psalm 34:8, NASB)
“Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple,
and breaking bread from house to house,
they were taking their meals together
with gladness and sincerity of heart
praising God and having favor with all the people.
and the Lord was adding to their number day by day
those who were being saved.”
(Acts 2:46, NASB)