I was approached this week by a major magazine and was asked to be interviewed on holiday eating. Specifically, they’re writing an article on how people binge and overeat and go crazy with food during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. “How to stop people from gorging themselves” is the basic theme. What are the tricks to harnessing our willpower, and preventing the horror of weight gain?
What’s fascinating to me is I receive at least one such request every year since my first book came out in 1991. And every time an editor at some magazine or newspaper asks me these questions, they’re so sincere, so looking for answers, and so dumbfounded as to why America can’t seem to get its collective appetite under control. Needless to say, I’m absolutely finished answering such questions with “people need to eat more mindfully” or “put down your fork between bites” or “eat lots of fiber rich foods so you’ll feel filled up.”
Here’s what I’d really like to say about holiday eating:
Go for it.
Eat, gorge, imbibe, let loose, express yourself, give in to your food fantasies, and let me know what happens. Yes, you might gain weight. Yes, you might get sick. Yes, you might not like yourself in the morning. The holidays are for celebrating. It’s a time to open up. “The Feast” is a theme in life, and virtually every culture with a written record and a long history has its feast times when they celebrate full-force with food, with music, with dance, with pleasure… Oddly enough, without times in our year when we can “let go,” it actually becomes more difficult for us to be “in control” during day-to-day life. Control and let go are both two sides of the same coin, and each needs the other. For many people, once you give yourself the inner permission to feast, something can relax, and it’s easier to feast in a “healthy” way. The more we fear the gorging, the food, the pleasure of it all, the more we live in fear. And fear is perhaps the most unsavory and anti-nutritious ingredient in any meal.
Which treat brings joy to your holiday table?
Enjoy the holidays…
Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating
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