I Will Not Overeat During the Holidays
by Dianne Barker
Festive songs and fresh scent of evergreen soon will fill the house—along with the spicy aroma of luscious cookies, cakes and pies baking in the oven.
Dare I confess dreading the holiday season? A personal struggle has tainted the joyous celebration of Christ’s birth.
The entire month of December is party time—office dinners, church socials, get-togethers with family and friends. Having battled a weight problem all my adult life, I’ve struggled to survive the food challenge with minimal damage, promising myself a fresh start after New Year’s.
I’m not alone. “Lose weight” tops many “resolutions” lists, and gym enrollment escalates in January—pudgy patrons determined to shed the holiday weight gain.
Food is not a small problem. All mankind suffered the consequence of Adam and Eve’s decision to eat from Eden’s forbidden tree. Esau impacted history when he gave up his birthright for a bowl of stew.
Not to minimize other addictions—surely the cravings are horrendous—but nobody has to keep alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes in the house. We deal with food at least three times a day.
I’ve lost and gained a lot of pounds. I remember what I weighed at every major life event—my marriage, the births of my two children . . . and that unforgettable mission adventure in South America when I had to reveal my weight before boarding the small, weight-restricted aircraft. Humiliating.
In younger days I’d gain twenty pounds in a wink and lose it nearly as fast. “It’s more difficult when you’re older,” people said. I’m older. It is.
A year ago I made a decision to change my eating habits and follow an aggressive exercise program. The reward: a thirty-five-pound weight loss. Woohoo!
But Christmas is coming. What’s a glutton to do?
I don’t like admitting I’m a glutton. Thankfully, gluttons don’t get arrested and sentenced to rehab. Gluttony is a respectable sin.
Webster defines gluttony: “excess in eating or drinking.” Glutton: “one given habitually to greedy and voracious eating and drinking.”
Wish I hadn’t looked up voracious: “having a huge appetite; ravenous; excessively eager; insatiable.”
Besides habitually overeating, I was a “grazer,” nibbling throughout the day.
My husband, who still fits in the Army uniform he wore in his twenties, says the solution to gaining weight is simple. “Don’t put that extra bite in your mouth.” I can’t argue, but I have difficulty resisting delectable desserts.
Daily living offers abundant food occasions. Consider how many major holidays we celebrate in twelve months: New Year’s, Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. That’s almost one celebration per month.
Add birthday celebrations for family members, friends, and co-workers. Don’t forget anniversaries and church dinners (annual homecoming, monthly or weekly potluck).
Television commercials, magazine ads and billboards bombard us with temptation. A busy lifestyle encourages picking up fast food loaded with calories and fat.
I’m not making excuses—only identifying reasons it’s hard to lose weight and easy to regain. Statistics confirm those who keep the pounds off are in the minority.
I’ve followed assorted diets, prayed earnestly, memorized Bible verses, recognized food as a stronghold, and tried to put the problem completely in God’s hands. Yet I remained a prisoner of food.
My recent success involved decision (to change habits), commitment (to an exercise program), and total reliance on the Lord (to keep me focused).
This encouraged me. “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments and do them…I will be leaning toward you with favor and regard for you, rendering you fruitful…I will walk in and with and among you and will be your God, and you shall be My people. I am the Lord your God, Who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that you should no more be slaves; and I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect [as free men]” (see Lev. 26:3-13 Amplified).
Nothing tastes as good as walking in freedom feels. Try these tips to navigate temptation-overload during the holidays.
Plan family meals in advance; prepare dishes to freeze and thaw when needed; adjust recipes, reducing calories/fat.
Before dining out, eat a snack (raw vegetables/fruit) with a glass of water to curb your appetite.
If it’s potluck, take a low-cal dish that you can enjoy guilt-free.
Choose an outfit that makes you feel so spectacular, you won’t risk outgrowing it.
Remind yourself you needn’t feel stuffed to feel satisfied.
Instead of lingering near the buffet, focus on engaging conversation with friends.
Practice tunnel vision, applying Proverbs 23:31-32 to your trigger food. “Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.” My paraphrase: “Don’t gaze at chocolate when it’s rich and creamy. It’ll make you blow up like an inflatable Christmas snowman.”
Guard your thought pattern. “I ate this so I might as well as have that.” Stop it. Now!
If a trigger food lures you into yielding, don’t let discouragement derail you. Forgive yourself immediately, put the past behind, and go forward with resolve. One cookie won’t make you gain; a dozen will.
Besides contributing to extensive health issues, excess weight is a huge drain on self-esteem. Maybe you’re weary after a longstanding weight battle, feeling unmotivated and hopeless. Ask the Lord to restore your focus. Find a sensible eating plan—one you can live with. If you need group support, good programs are available.
Tired of counting calories/fat grams/carbs, planning meals, and recording what you eat? Make this lifestyle change: substitute fruits and vegetables for one meal daily (salad for lunch, fruit for dessert); eat a reasonable breakfast and dinner. Expect to see a steady loss.
Maintaining weight-loss is a journey. Every meal requires a decision, and I can choose to stay on course.
I will not overeat during the holidays! I’m free to celebrate this blessed season and enjoy a healthful lifestyle in the coming year.
Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host and author of 11 books, including the bestselling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s a member of Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.
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