Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Breaking the #1 New Year's resolution

I stopped making New Year's resolutions when I was in my 30s and realized that I had a limited amount of control over what the new year might bring. I am more likely to set goals and general deadlines taking into consideration the reality that life may get in the way of reaching them.

This was a hard lesson to learn and I am guilty of many of what will follow. At one time or another I have been guilty of making resolutions that never came to fruition. Of course, it was never my fault, right? Here are some examples.

Between Halloween and Thanksgiving, I used to give myself permission to break certain rules or become delusional about what they I achieved during the passing year with the expectation that I'll do better next year. Needless to say, the most common had to do with food.

Resolution: I'm going on a diet to lose that extra ten pounds I gained over the holidays. (Yeah, right!)

The weight gain of which I speak often started with leftover Halloween candy. It seemed like year after year I accidentally bought too much, knowing that there weren't enough kids in the neighborhood to eat it all -- but who could resist when Hershey's kisses were BOGOs?.

By the time the candy was gone Thanksgiving was here. Dinner wouldn't be complete without deviled egg appetizers; a healthy veggie tray with dip made of cream cheese, sour cream and herbs; mashed potatoes with lots of butter; mashed sweet potatoes or sweet potato pie; green bean casserole with those yummy, crispy fried onion rings on top; stuffing/dressing made with plenty of butter; mashed rutabagas; dinner rolls -- lots of dinner rolls with butter...well you get the idea. And then, pies with vanilla ice cream after everyone wakes up from their tryptophan induced naps.

If the turkey gets to be stuffed, why shouldn't I?

The day after Thanksgiving stores open at 4 AM offering the "biggest bargains of the year." It's impossible to consider buying clothes on Black Friday because Thanksgiving dinner probably added a size to my body that I take for granted will be lost by the time I want to wear them.

I know, I know, that day is intended for buying Christmas and Chanukah presents for others, but if I come across that pair of jeans or slacks (my weight gain always goes directly below my waist) that I need and they're 50% off but will return to regular price the next day, how can I not buy them? The lines to the dressing rooms are so long, it's much easier just to buy my size without trying them on.

A week later the holiday parties start. My husband's company has a Christmas party. I haven't seen many of these people for a year and I'm curious to see whether I'm the only person who is aging and still dying my hair to cover the gray. Then there are other Christmas parties -- organizations I belong to, friends, etc.

The New Year's Eve party is always at my house and although we normally have between 25-40 people, somehow we always have enough food for 100. I tell people not to bring anything because I have all these Pampered Chef kitchen tools that I only use once or twice a year and I plan on making every conceivable appetizer and dessert myself. You'd think I'd know by now that nobody comes to a party empty handed. Maybe this year I'll cut back on my cooking.

The bottom line is that between Halloween and January 1 I can easily gain more than ten pounds if I indulge myself and the likelihood that I'll lose it by February is unrealistic. And at my height, ten pounds is a full size and maybe two!

So experience has taught me to cut down when buying Halloween candy and leave out some of the Thanksgiving traditions and steam some veggies as an alternative. Before and after a Christmas party I eat light. I cook with reduced fat products and use low fat ice cream for the a la mode. And for New Year's Eve, my new rule is NO TASTING. If I taste everything I cook all day I won't have room to eat at the party. That gives me another idea. I'll wear tight pants or a tight dress for the party so I can't overdo it or I'll suffer all night long.

Happy holidays all. Indugle if you dare. Make resolutions if you choose. Keep them or not. There are no guarantees in life so enjoy!

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