178. What you eat during Christmas ain’t the problem.

178. What you eat during Christmas ain’t the problem.

Shortly after returning from lunch with a great friend yesterday, I ran into a person who I have not seen in several years.

These unplanned and unexpected encounters, often quite pleasant, always seem to capture the obligatory round of historical questions e.g. “how have you been,” “what have you been doing” and “how are you enjoying the holidays?”

Naturally, we answered all of these questions of each other.

It seemed to me that this person had been on somewhat of a “personal growth” journey as he appeared to be substantially heavier than I remembered him being the last time we had met and, indeed, he guiltily acknowledged his newly acquired girth by explaining that it was the result of overindulgence during this Christmas season and had his New Year’s resolution was to regain his svelte figure of yesteryear.

What struck me as somewhat odd was the conviction in his tone that implied that he actually believed that all this additional weight he was now bearing was truly the result of just a few days of extra chewing during this Christmas season.

As I returned to my office I was reminded of a quote my wife, Gimalle, had shown me this time last year.

I am not sure who to credit as the original author of this quote but its simplicity underscores the power of its truthfulness.

The quote reads, “It’s not what we eat between Christmas and New Year that is the problem, it’s what we eat between New Year and Christmas that is the problem.”

As this quote bounced around inside my head it caused me to think of how much time is devoted to cautioning us against “special occasion” overindulging.

I subscribe to around a dozen different magazines and easily half of them have contained recent articles advising us of how to avoid the deadly trap of “Christmas overloading.” The same articles are repeated at Thanksgiving as well as several other times throughout the year. I have even noticed a few “talking heads” on television proffering up the same advice.

Personally I don’t think it matters one iota how much we overindulge on these very few occasions throughout the year. Those of us who hate our scales do so because of the eating habits we repeat throughout the year and not because we “pig out” on special occasions.

This brings me to my friends other comment which was that his New Year’s resolution is to undo the damage he has done to himself during the Christmas season.

Some time ago I read the results of some research into New Year’s resolutions. The data I read suggested that most New Year’s resolutions are broken by noon on January 1.

I was somewhat surprised by this as my own personal experiences with New Year’s resolutions have generally resulted in mine being broken prior to 8am.

Hence, I am not a fan. I’ve come to believe that if we wish to implement something new or different in our lives, the time to begin is Right Now. Putting off the starting date is simply, for many of us, an exercise in procrastination and we run the risk of never getting started.

It’s interesting how easy it is to convince ourselves that “now” is not the right time and that the right time will magically appear at some point in the future. If there is a reason why we shouldn’t start now, they will be another, more compelling reason why we can’t start then.

I’m trying really hard to push this lesson through my own thick head.

Till we read again.

P.S. a happy, healthy and wonderful New Year to all.

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