Parties, Holidays and Other Excuses

By: Dennis Bates

One of the things you learn quickly about changing you eating pattern (sounds better than dieting) is that virtually everything we do socially is connected to eating and drinking. In fact getting together with friends centers on eating and drinking, and not just a little, but in large quantities. With lots of the wrong things.

Let’s look back at the Super Bowl, for example. Regardless of whether you watched for several hours for the ads or the game itself, I’ll take a wild guess that you watched with a bowl of chips within reach. If not chips, then nuts, or vegetable trays, cold cuts, those little cocktail wieners bathing shamelessly in the mixture of grape jelly and chili sauce. Maybe wings, cheese plates, and always cookies or some sort of gooey chocolate bar.

And at half time, you broke out the food. The other things I just mentioned were just the appetizers

Slightly more than a month ago we gathered with friends and family at Christmas to…ah…eat. What else? Cookies, homemade candy, fudge, not to mention ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing and three or four different types of pie. A month before that was Thanksgiving. My family thinks of Turkey Day as Christmas dinner without the worry of the presents. Presents just get in the way of the serious eating.

This weekend is Valentine’s Day. More food, more candy. It is also my wife’s birthday. (Mine was last month.) Should we go out for a nice dinner? Sure, why not? Next month has St. Patrick’s Day, April has Easter, May Mother’s Day, June Father’s Day, July the Fourth and my wedding anniversary….Do you get the picture?

And if there is not suitable formal holiday, we’ll invent one. The Feast of the Golden Retriever comes to mind for some reason.

In addition to the holidays, there are football tail gating weekends, or nights when friends call and say, “Hey, we haven’t talked to you guys in a long time. Why don’t you come over for dinner?” We do the same thing to our friends, never thinking about why we have to get together to eat if it’s talking we haven’t done in a long time. Is it really easier to “talk” with a bratwurst or hot dog stuffed in your mouth?

All my healthy eating articles say that it’s okay to socialize while you’re trying to establish new eating patterns. (A diet. Who are we kidding?) They offer tips like, drink water, diet soda, don’t eat anything white, count out six to eight almonds and “feast” on those instead of other things.

I mean, who does that? Six to eight almonds don’t even make a handful for me, and I have small hands. And how can you eat only six almonds when there is a full bowl of them staring at you from the buffet table…sitting right next to the four different kinds of cheeses…the crackers…the olives…and the mushrooms stuffed with crab dip, slathered with butter and baked in heavy cream? I’m not superman, you know. A guy’s got to eat something or he’ll insult his host.

It’s like a comedian said once, “I love Slim Fast shakes…they go great with nachos.”

Every body mass challenged person knows that there is one absolute at every dinner, every party, every open house, every place where food and drink are served. The hosts always bring the left overs to the fattest person in the room and says, “You look like you could use something else to eat. Here’s some more of everything.” I mean, do we look like we need more to eat? How fat do I have to get before I look like I’ve had enough? Does the chair I’m sitting in have to crumble before your very eyes? What will it take to get you to stop offering me food?

I have almost come to the conclusion that people like me need to throw away calendars so we don’t know when the holidays are and move to a cabin in the north woods where there are no friends to socialize with. Become a hermit. Live off the land. Eat tree bark. Anything.

How would tree bark taste slathered in butter and stuffed with Brie cheese?

I wonder. 

Oh yeah. Lost four pounds last week. It’s a start.


One Response to Parties, Holidays and Other Excuses

  1. Peg Phifer says:

    Hey, four pounds is good! I lost two.

    I had to laugh at your comments. They’re so true! I never gave the holiday=eating thing a thought. But you’re right.

    Almonds: I read somewhere 15 makes a good snack. Problem is, the plain, unadulterated almonds don’t cut it. They should be salted, or roasted with spicy stuff. Alas–that’s not the point, is it?

    Hang in there.

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