Moderation is the key to surviving “Holiday Eating Season”
We are fast approaching the beloved, or dreaded holiday season, depending on how you look at it.
With the festivities comes most Americans’ favorite lounge chair sport – holiday eating. There are workplace parties and vendors bringing in bagels, cookies, doughnuts, more cookies, beef sticks and cheese. Often, you can feed a small country with all the “goodies” that grace countless tables across the country during the “Holiday Eating Season.”
We’re social animals. We love to mingle and make merry. Why, it would be “Grinchy” to turn down such beautiful food offerings, right?
USA Today columnist Craig Wilson, had some fun with holiday eating when he penned his “Top 10 Holiday Eating Tips” to help maximize holiday eating enjoyment:
“Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.”
“If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.”
“If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them again.”
And last but not least (I particularly like this one) “If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention.”
All kidding aside, we are all acutely aware of the potential trappings of holiday eating. It can sneak up on you without so much as a whisper, and before you know it, you’re up 10 pounds.
This is annual risk for people of any age, but in particular the “older adult” – us, the “Boomers” – the ones whose metabolism eloped with their energy levels without as much as a good-bye.
According to the American Heart Association, holiday “gobbling” can present more potential hazards than an expanded waistline. The risk of a “post-indulgence” heart attack may well be increased after consuming meals high in fat and calories especially in the older, perhaps health-compromised adult.
As we age, changes occur. There no way to avoid these changes. Metabolism slows down; exercise becomes more difficult and less frequent. Conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and even diabetes can be seriously affected by out-of-control holiday eating.
High salt and sugar content in stuffing and pastries, for example, can play havoc with blood sugar levels. Alcohol, under optimum circumstances can be potentially troublesome, but combine it with the vast variety of medications many older adults regularly ingest…well, that can be a recipe for disaster.
Mobility issues plague many older adults. Conditions such as arthritis, poor peripheral circulation, heart failure and obesity can make normal getting around a chore. Put a little alcohol and a lot of food in these folks, and they may end up on the floor.
So, if you and/or your family are hosting any holiday get-togethers, a little bit of sensitivity and planning can make these gatherings healthier and more joyful for all who attend. Allow for some less devastating food/drink alternatives; create a multi-generational inclusive atmosphere, and practice social conscience (don’t embarrass the old guy who can’t remember names).
For all us “Boomers,” the usual cautions still apply – get plenty of rest, exercise daily, drink responsibly, look before you leap into that huge chunk of fruit cake or apple pie and perhaps modify the portions just a bit. You and your “inner workings” will be glad you did.
As far the eggnog, Wilson says;
“Drink as much eggnog as you can; and quickly… like fine single-malt scotch, it’s rare. In fact, it’s even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can’t find it any other time of year but now, so drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-o-holic or something. It’s a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think…it’s the holidays!”
Chisholm’s expertise in nursing, orthopedics and surgery spans more than 30 years. For more information on orthopedic-related topics, visit www.bone-and-joint-pain.com. Submit questions or comments to Ken at