Okay, I admit it; I am a wimposaurus when it comes to winter. While I don’t have the appreciation of wearing multiple layers, scraping frost and snow off my windshield, one thing about winter that I do enjoy tremendously and that is food! I am a bit of a foodie. I love cooking, I love recipes and the art of making something just the way you like it. I love the concept of entertaining and offering your guests something homemade. There is something about fall and winter that makes food taste fantastic! There are the soups and stews, meats simmering in the crock-pot, vegetables roasting in the oven. You have the rich red wines, hot cocoa and desserts made with apples and cinnamon. This time of year is simply delicious!
To me there is nothing wrong with enjoying the sensory pleasures of good food, not only savoring it because it tastes good, but also knowing that you can create good food that is also healthy for you. Although I am monitoring and restricting my caloric intake, I still take great pleasure in being able to do that while I eat food that satisfies my sensory pleasures as well as my nutritional needs. My portions are smaller, but I feel like I am eating like a king! For me, food is a celebration!
During the workweek though, I admit to being a boring eater. I tend to eat the same thing a lot, because it makes shopping easier, and you don’t have to plan because you know what you are going to eat, my calories are predetermined. I know where I am going to get my sustenance and I also know where I can sneak in my treats. Sometimes I am not being creative, but I am merely putting fuel in the tank. My enjoyment comes in that I know that what I am doing is easy, I’m still in control, and my calorie intake is intact. As you can see, I like remaining in control because if someone else prepares your food, then you don’t know what is in it, as you don’t know how it is prepared. Something I’m not altogether comfortable with as most aren’t as obsessive about what they eat as I am. I would much rather prefer being the hostess than the guest.
It gives me great pleasure that I stay in control of my calorie intake, my proteins, carbs and fats 363 days of the year. The two days in exception are Thanksgiving and Christmas. Preparing the family meal is a passion for me and I search for the perfect recipes weeks in advance. When I cook for the Thanksgiving and Christmas meal, there is no calorie or stick of butter left behind; I do it up to the nines! We are all going to overeat on these days simply by the fact that we are eating richer foods, you don’t have to have multiple or huge servings to go over, so it is my choice that if I am going to over eat, I am going to eat the best food possible and enjoy it to the max! Eating exceptional food is the ultimate sensory pleasure (I am talking purely about food here) and I am fulfilled because I feel like I am eating in a 5 star restaurant. I have made a very special occasion and prepared all the foods that I like so it is a culinary celebration!
Enjoy those special occasion meals and celebrate life, just don’t do this every day and start new bad habits. Remember, the special occasion meals are just that, a special occasion and is not a license to be bad every single day. Don’t turn your special occasion meals into a daily habit, or they will no longer be special. Overeating will become a bad habit; so don’t forget to keep your eye on your goal. I do plan my treats and eat conservatively on the rest of the days. Remember those extra bites do add up! Yet the good part is that I got to enjoy wonderful food without the guilt or weight gain.
There is one part of the holiday meals that still scares me a little and that is the leftovers. I endeavor to stay away from the high-calorie leftovers for the most part and let the other family members eat those or give them away to others. This Thanksgiving, I made an unbelievable bread pudding recipe with cinnamon raisin bread, apples and homemade caramel sauce so good that it’d send you to confession! The 6 oz ramekin of leftover pudding did have my name on it and I knew I had to eat it. So I divided it up into 4 portions and ate the bread pudding as my treat on 4 different occasions. I had to eat it slowly and savor each bite! Sound ridiculous? Maybe, but I got a special treat on several occasions and I am happy to report that I did not gain any weight over Thanksgiving!
Don’t be afraid of the holidays. Choose your celebrations. If you are alone over Thanksgiving or Christmas and you aren’t going to go overboard anyway, then use this same philosophy for that big company Christmas party that you are going to, or that chocolate croissant you indulge in at the coffee shop. Whatever your indulgence, enjoy it in moderation, get back on your healthy eating track as soon as possible to avoid that holiday weight gain, because done properly, you can have your cake and eat it too!