Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The eating season

Dangerous days for dedicated, disciplined, dieters have descended. We now thunder headlong into an unending haze of fudge mints, eggnog lattes, and walnut cranberry honey stuffing. Activity and exercise levels, formerly consisting of lengthy walks through the trees and afternoons of yard work, plummet to gluteus-maximizing extended sessions plopped on the couch, watching television - a pyramid of cold mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce ever at the ready on the overflowing coffee table.

Some believe the "eating season" (as it should formally be named) begins in late November. In fact, as reliably as the annual return of the swallows to Capistrano, it opens with the first sighting of holiday ornaments in greeting-card stores, a much-heralded occurrence starting earlier each year. One day I'm dedicated to following my program. Twenty-four hours hence, holiday angels and cute ceramic teddy bears hanging from twinkling window displays pronounce, "Cast your waist to the wind. The holidays are here. Diet in January."

The zenith of this landscape of non-stop in(di)gestion is Thanksgiving.

With platters of sumptuous food extending beyond the horizon, this is the single celebration forcing dieters to dress appropriately. Oh sure, "Don we now our gay apparel" applies to holiday finery on Christmas; but Thanksgiving - being also a test of endurance - requires shrewd planning. In the same manner that one would not run a marathon in a sequin-covered ball gown, it would be folly to attempt Thanksgiving's feasting in street apparel.

The following advice is for professional eaters only; do not attempt without supervision.

Be meticulous about choosing expandable outfits for that day, preferably sans belt; soft, non-binding, elastic is my preference. Sweat pants, over-sized shirts, and large loose dresses are prized. (I have even considered wearing a Hawaiian MuMu but it clashes with my shoes.) As practiced athletes, pace caloric intake, starting cautiously before noon, careful not to peak too early, lest three cold-turkey-mashed-potato sandwiches, and half a pecan pie go uneaten before bedtime.

Staying conscious with so much food is indeed a challenge.

Yet, seriously, do remember that millions sleep on empty stomachs. Our unrelenting nag of dieting could be portrayed as a "curse of prosperity." While too many starve, we are so fortunate - so our concern is learning to consume less.

Stay aware about much you eat on Thanksgiving. Be thankful that you must.

For an article on handling holiday eating, follow this link.
For an article on handling holiday stress, follow this link.

About the author: Scott "Q" Marcus, THINspirational speaker and author. Since losing 70 pounds 12 years ago, he conducts speeches, workshops, and presentations throughout the country. His book is available at and he can be reached at or 707.442.6243.

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