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The Dangers of The Holiday Season

The dangerous holiday season approaches. The signs are everywhere and inescapable unless one lives in a geographically isolated, TV and phone-less, internet-neglected, U.S. postal service-bypassed no-man or woman’s land.

My body is getting ready, in anticipation of events to come. It feels a need for a break from trips to the gym, the difficult task of shunning desserts, and the ever-present necessity to diet.

My body is telling my brain, “It is time to indulge! Let’s start now!” And most of my brain responds willingly. But not all of it. The rational, cold-hearted left side screams, “Are you nuts? All that hard work, dragging me to the gym to sweat, not allowing me to eat yummy goodies, saying ‘No” when I want to say, “Yes,” and you want to throw that out the window? Hide it all behind an increasingly expanding stomach? No, I say. No! No! No!”

I am ambivalent. I want to partake, but realize I do so at my body’s peril.

The holiday season intrudes on the everyday routines of life, beginning before Thanksgiving and lasting through New Year’s. I realize it is a natural phenomenon to eat before hibernation season begins, but I doubt any of us live in caves all winter anymore. The question nagging me, as it does every year: Can I indulge, enjoy and escape gaining weight?

Can I skip the chocolate this time? NahThe annual answer – no.

I check each day off the calendar, my emotions mixed with fear and trepidation. I watch the days near with caution, concern and an appetite, with yearnings for foods rarely eaten but secretly desired.

Advertisements encourage us to not only buy toys and games and electronics and cars, but food. I am inundated with catalogs full of colorful pictures of luscious chocolates, tempting holiday cakes, scrumptious appetizers and more. Enticing recipes lure me into thinking this non-baker can miraculously and successfully produce complex pastries that look wonderful and taste fabulous.

The result of my baking efforts–discovered years ago and a lesson well learned–is a lot of wasted time and increasing levels of frustration, sometimes coupled with tears and tossed out failed efforts.

Now my philosophy is better to buy than be frustrated, aggravated, and upset. And, should the desire to bake surface, stick with favorite easy recipes. I can become upset and aggravated another time of year.

If not inclined to cook at all, I can buy prepared foods at grocery stores and online. What wonderful times we live in! Who cares about the cost this time of year! Restaurants advertise holiday take-out meals for a single hungry individual or a multi-person banquet.

So let the feasting begin!

May those with strong willpower prevail.

Meanwhile the rest of us weak-willed souls move on to the gym hauling a few extra pounds, head bowed in defeat, on January 2.

I wonder if there is a mathematical formula that calculates the ratio of the inflation of our waistlines to the deflation of our bank accounts.

I do not want to know.

Happy holiday season to all, and to all joyful eating!

Meryl Baer

Meryl Baer is a recovering financial professional now freelance writer/blogger living at the Jersey shore. She travels a lot, but when home takes zumba and yoga, walks on the beach and writes. Check out her take on life, travel, cycling, kayaking, grandparenting, food and whatever else she finds interesting at the moment on her blog, Six Decades and Counting -

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