Some time ago, in the not so distant past, the holidays with my family were a time of feasts, sitting, napping, snacking and feasting again. Lurching away from the table with a belly full of food was a requirement. A few times I retreated to a bedroom with a cold cloth on my forehead!
One would have chowed down on turkey with gravy then ham, then a slice of traditional tourtière (meat pie) with chili sauce, some boiled veggies, and mashed potatoes with butter and cream. And don't forget the cranberry from a can!
Not only were the portions huge during mealtimes, but the desserts... well there were usually at minimum a half-dozen to choose from. At least two kinds of pie, cookies, bars, squares, tarts,french pastries, cake and don't forget to jack that up with some ice cream! Usually four or five kinds to choose from.
Large varieties of snacks placed in bowls around the living room were plentiful. Chips, popcorn, Nuts and Bolts, fudge, Satin Stripe Candy, "Chicken Bones" candy, canes on the tree, and at least two boxes of chocolates were always open: Turtles and Pot of Gold. We would then gather around the television and watch a dozen cheezy Christmas movies on VHS my Mom rented if she got her way, or watch football if my Dad got his way. As teens, we would trudge our way down to the basement to play video games.
This was the way for many years we'd "celebrate" the holidays. This would almost be a binge. Pretty sad, but I know we weren't the only family who celebrated this way. Or that still does.
When we moved out, as young adults, we'd come back home for a week or two and would be bombarded with food and treats. And we'd be given a duffle bag-full each of food to take back our respective cities at the end of the holiday. One year, my brother and I decided this had to change. As adults, we would usually take a long walk on Christmas Eve while the parents were at midnight mass. This time, he said he was tired of gaining ten pounds through December and January. For a slim guy, that means he has to go up a pants size. I always gained between fifteen and twenty pounds. I wore track pants. Or I wore my black fat pants.
It took an intervention of sorts with my mother and ten years, but things slowly changed. You read correctly, ten years!
Now moderation is in place:
- There is either a turkey breast or a ham on Christmas Day, not both.
- We still have meat pie but we have it on Christmas Eve.
- No more boiled veggies, they are roasted.
- There is a spinach salad with dried cranberries or pomegranate.
- One dessert, usually an apple pie or apple crisp.
- My mom still bakes, but it's for a charity bake sale. She'll freeze one tray of cookies for us but we usually don't eat them all.
- One kind of ice cream for my brother and mother.
- No more snacks laying around.
- There's always a bowl of fresh fruit and two cases of mandarin oranges.
- If a box of chocolates comes into the house, it's re-wrapped and re-gifted as a present for someone else.
- We will watch one or two holiday flicks,
- Go for a walk every day, visit some of the neighbours, check out the crazy decorated houses
- if it's snowing, we shovel out random people's driveways!
It's never too late to change family traditions. Don't let your holiday memories be of food and lethargy like many of mine. Let them be of loved ones, laughs and love!
Wednesday Weigh-in 192.5lbs. The scale is still going down, slowly but surely.