Observations: Watch out, they’re coming. Holiday fat traps

by LINDSAY CAREY

If you weren’t good during Halloween, I don’t blame you. Whether you guilted your children into sharing their goodies or slipped a bag of fun sized Snickers into your grocery cart when no one was looking, this time of year is full of what I like to call “fat traps”.
However, Thanksgiving and Christmas are two totally different beasts, so it’s time to come up with a plan for how to keep the weight off during the holiday season.
For many of us, the holiday season is our heaviest time of year for more reasons than one. For starters, if you live in Southington the food fest starts early. I can’t be the only one who couldn’t say no to those apple fritters last month.
It doesn’t help that it’s already freezing outside, so all you want to do is stop by Dunkin’ for some hot cocoa or make some thick clam chowder for dinner with a side of grilled cheese.
I consulted WebMD’s article “10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain,” for some tips on how to avoid the fat traps that come with holiday cheer.
We all know holiday parties and gatherings are one of the major fat traps and yet we can’t wait to attend. The first tip from WebMD is to “never arrive hungry.” The article suggests that you eat a healthy snack before the party instead of arriving hungry and vacuuming up everything in sight.
I can only imagine the look on my cousin’s face when she asks why I haven’t had a helping of her famous three cheese macaroni and I tell her, “Sorry, I already ate.” The horror.
In my family, if you come to a party and barely eat, someone will be offended. If I tried this, I would most likely end up eating out of guilt or eating again because everything looks so good. In my opinion, you might as well show up hungry and eat once, rather than eating before too.
Another suggestion from WebMD is to “divert your attention” from food. “Don’t look at the party as just a food event,” says the article. “Take your mind off of food and focus on the conversation.”
Okay. I’m sorry if this sounds bad, but is Thanksgiving not a food event? How can I focus on anything other than food when the whole room smells like turkey with gravy or buttery biscuits?
Besides, whoever you’re talking to will most likely be eating something or holding a plate full of whatever you were eyeing. You’ll find yourself looking down at their food longingly, which won’t make for the most comfortable conversation.
“When it comes to dessert, be very selective,” is another tip offered by the article. In an ideal world, this is a tip I can stand behind. However, there’s only one time of year for pumpkin pie, chocolate chip cookies, banana bread and gingerbread men. It’s dessert season.
One thing I know about maintaining a healthy diet is not to purge because it can results in binging. You don’t want to find yourself stuffing your face with whatever you can find in the middle of the night, because you can’t get that lasagna you didn’t try out of your mind.
For me, a big part of the holidays is food, made by and shared with the people I care about most. My advice to those who want to maintain their weight during this season is to ditch the pumpkin spice latte or the midday chocolate bar that normally gets you through the day.
If you’re good the majority of the time, you can allow yourself to enjoy those special holiday treats when the occasion calls for it. Just don’t take home leftovers and if you’re the host try to give them away.
In my opinion, it’s the everyday fat traps in combination with Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings that result in major weight gain. Try to curb one unhealthy everyday habit, so you can enjoy the festivities that only come once a year.
For me, it’s my nightly hot cocoa with marshmallows. What’s your day to day unhealthy addiction during the holidays?
Lindsay Carey is a reporter for The Observer. Comments? Email LCarey@SouthingtonObserver.com.

Lindsay Carey

Lindsay Carey