The Bermuda triangle of gluttony is Thanksgiving – Winter Holidays – Super Bowl. If it’s the dreaded danger zone for weight gain, so why does it seem we exist from food holiday to food holiday, ALL year long? We just get done with January, and we are immediately slammed with Valentine’s candy and expressing true love with chocolate-covered glucose. After that, we are running headfirst into Mardi Gras pastries, Passover brisket and chocolate Easter rabbits the size of our heads. Mother’s Day is a great day for all-you-can-eat brunches… BACON anyone? After that, it’s Memorial Day; the All-American gateway to Barbecue Season, with its juicy cheeseburgers, macaroni salad and sweet, sugary desserts. The curtain comes down on Labor Day, but the Halloween Candy Buffet soon appears in every grocery, drug store and gas station…. and then here we are, in November again… and the cycle continues. We have become a society of consumers, (literally and figuratively,) driven by the commercialism of the almighty dollar and the advertising agencies on Madison Avenue.
And all the while, we are offered the conflicting message that thin isn’t only “in,” it’s the ONLY way to be. A thigh gap is a dangerous ideal. (If you don’t know, Google it.)
Let’s just eat healthy. Whole foods. Nature’s bounty. Crinkly packages don’t contain REAL food. They’re full of chemicals and additives and nothing that nature intended for ingestion. My comrades who are searching for ways to add creamer to their coffee without adding calories/points are MISSING the point entirely. Enjoy some cream in your coffee, without adding Corn Syrup Solids, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Sodium Caseinate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Mono- And Diglycerides, Silicon Dioxide, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavor, and Artificial Color.
YES, that is the recipe of your non-dairy liquid coffee creamer. Would you order those things in a restaurant? Would you intentionally add those ingredients to your coffee, one by one?
Then WHY do we blindly accept them as ways to a mean, without considering what we are actually consuming?
Don’t get me wrong…. I am 100% guilty of doing this for years. There is NO JUDGEMENT here. If I come off as preachy or above regress, it’s not intended. I was the Empress Queen of new diet products and fad diets and aspartame. I’ll be a prized cadaver for the scientists when I finally pass. “Let’s study the body of a woman who grew up with Twiggy as a role model and Tab and Oreos as her meal of choice.” (Remember Tab?)
One of the worst phases for my family was my “diet chocolate” phase. A certain candy company was promoting a sugar-free chocolate bite that came in little red boxes, and they were low in both WW points and calories. Hallelujah! I had discovered my holy grail! Fortune favors the bold, and I gave no thought to the ingredient label, just the creamy, dreamy sensation of eating LEGAL chocolate! I devoured boxes and boxes of these little gems.
Well, unbeknownst to me, those little culinary concoctions were FILLED with sugar alcohols. The byproduct of sugar alcohols in our intestinal track is gas. Lots and lots of gas. We’re talking SERIOUS fermentation.
Let’s just say I could clear a room with one toot.
My poor family. All our kids were teenagers back then. Choruses of “Moooooooooommmmmm!” and “Are you KIDDING ME!!!!!!” filled the air, sharing the little air space that was left with my fetid flatulence. The brave ones dove under couch pillows. The smarter kids fled from the room. I tortured my family for months, all in the name of getting THIN. (And enjoying what I felt was my reward for getting thin.)
My firstborn often quotes Einstein when I take a ride on the proverbial merry-go-round: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting different results.” Yep. THAT was me.
So we have begun again, but with a lifestyle, not a diet. With whole foods and wiser choices and an attempt to be authentic. The sugar detox post (that I wrote here 2 months ago) is my personal truth. And the theory we subscribe to is WORKING. Eat real food. Be satisfied. Put real cream in the coffee. Don’t count calories. Eat sensibly. Season your food with flavor, decorate it with color, and consume it with excitement. Pay attention to your urges. (Are you thirsty instead of hungry? How long since you last ate?) Food cravings are often just normal anxieties, disguised as food-thoughts, whispering seductively in our ear. I’m learning as I go. Can I have a handful of Dove chocolates? I can’t. Not because of the nutritional content, but because climbing back on the wagon is much harder than falling off.
And so, we press on, letting food become our nourishment instead of our entertainment. The pounds are coming off faster than expected, but we aren’t weighing ourselves every day or even once a week. Old habits die hard; I’ll never be courageous enough to weigh myself after dinner, but who knows. Maybe someday I’ll weigh myself with my glasses on.