Holiday Eating Habits

Our guest blogger this week, Ken Donaldson, recently posted some reasons why, despite our best intentions, holiday eating can easily get out of hand, and what we can do about it.

What do the bank and your favorite auto repair shop have in common? Would you believe cookies?

I visited both recently and was greeted with the tantalizing aroma of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies as soon as I stepped through their respective doors. This is a well-planned combination of marketing, hypnotic anchoring and squirrel-like distraction from the stress often associated with car repair and/or money.

And, yes, I did indulge. Yes, at both places.

Since we’ve officially kicked-off the holiday season with the recent passing of the annual Halloween sugar overdose, it’s a good time to remember how to handle the notorious holiday binge-eating challenge.

I won’t bore you with all the statistics about our state of bodies being overweight, obese and unhealthy. Out of the data comes this paradox:

The more people in the U.S. diet, the more weight they gain.

One of our most common social rituals is to meet over food. Within some flexible parameters, food can make for a memorable event that causes no long-term negative consequences.

However, this all too often appears to NOT be the case.

The demons of food indulgence whisper sweet nothings in our ears, such as:

A little more won’t hurt.

You can cut back starting tomorrow.

You don’t look THAT bad.

A little extra weight won’t hurt.

You can start your exercise programs after the holidays.

Come on, don’t be a party-pooper.

These ghoulish thought distortions are ONLY distortions. In other words, they’re a bunch of hot air that deludes our rational thinking.

Binge eating disorder recently became an official diagnosis in the medical community. Over-eating and being excessively overweight has gone way past being a superficial problem.

We are literally eating ourselves to death.

AND this is not just an individual problem. It IS a sociocultural puzzle that only we, as a unified group, can collectively begin to turn around.

If you’d like to experiment, consider your own creative version of one of the following:

Invite your co-workers to bring non-sugar treats to the office for the holidays.

Make a low-sugar and non-fried request of your family for all the holiday gatherings.

Bring non-sugar food to all the parties you attend.

Make non-sugar treats to share with friends, neighbors and fellow church or temple parishioners.

Write an article or blog post about healthy holiday food ideas and share it with your readership.

The more sugar we eat, the more sugar we crave. Cookies and chocolate are filled with sugar. Other forms of sugar are evaporated cane juice, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, agave nectar, fructose, dextrose, and syrup.

You eat sugar, then sugar eats sugar, then sugar eats you.

The cookie monster won’t scare you but it will try to allure you into eating more of the wrong foods. And the chocolate kisses will try to sweet-talk you into having more and more and more.

Holiday binge eating disorder is real, alive and growing like a virus as I write this and as you read it. How about if we all pay it forward and give everyone we know the gift of health and wellness through this holiday season? They may not always like it, but in the end, they might love you for it.

Holly Donaldson

Holly Donaldson, CFP® runs an hourly and fee-for-service financial planning practice virtually from her Tampa Bay, Florida office. She also works with clients throughout the U.S. (except Texas) interested in retirement and tax planning advice without product sales or investment management. Holly is the author of The Mindful Money Mentality: How to Find Balance in Your Financial Future (Porchview Publishing, 2013) and publisher of the award-winning monthly e-letter, "The View From the Porch."

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