November 22, 2012

Let Them Eat Pie

Today’s the day…the beginning of the feasting season for most Americans. Beginning bright and early, people will start to gorge themselves, first with breakfast soufflé or pancakes or just cereal, then on toward snack trays of crackers and cheese or veggies and dip, culminating with the typical Turkey feast: turkey, dressing, gravy, potatoes, green bean casserole, candied yams, rolls, and the pies! Whoa, just looking at that list of Turkey Day foods made me gain weight.

We know that Thanksgiving is just the start. People will start having holiday parties where we eat more and more food. Then, of course, is the Christmas meal, and more parties. Finally, we reach New Year’s which, you guessed it, gives us one last opportunity to ingest all the food and drink we can. Somehow, most of us become extreme gluttons this time of year. It’s amazing.

Yet, study after study, year after year, tells us that on average we only gain about one pound during this time. We perceive that we gain more, upwards of 5-10 pounds, but we only gain a simple one pound. We eat and eat and eat, or so it seems. We actually don’t eat nearly as much as we think we do. Most of us think about those parties, and try to control how much and what we eat. I know I do.

I think about my daily portions of everything: proteins, fruits, veggies, grains, fats, oils, and dairies. I try very hard to eat a balanced diet daily. This time of year is no different for me. I still think about my food portions. I do not pile on more food than I know I can eat, nor do I pile on more food just because I want to eat it. I eat based on what I know is good for me. I also opt for the healthier choices. Yes, I am going to have a piece of pie, but I will not eat gravy and rolls and snack trays. I will munch on the veggie tray, but I will not plop a mounding pile of mashed potatoes on my plate. I will balance my portions and my choices so that I am getting the correct calories and proper distribution of the food groups while still being able to eat my pie, too.

Furthermore, I will continue to exercise so that my body does not get lured by the fats and calories of the parties. I will eat the foods I want and need, but still make sure that I am utilizing those calories to their full extent through walking and jogging. I may even amp up my exercising a little bit and add more activity to balance how much I will eat this holiday season.

However, I know I am in the minority here. I know most people will eat and enjoy and eat and enjoy and eat and enjoy. And you know what, I don’t think that’s bad. This time of year is about fellowship and friends and family. We gather to enjoy each other’s company and appreciate each person in our lives. And we do this around food. For about six weeks, people eat and enjoy. Of course, I’m a proponent for watching our calorie and fat intake, making sure we are eating a balanced diet, and continuing to exercise, but I also think sometimes we just have to let go.

This is the season for letting go. We should make sure we’re at least balancing our food groups and thinking about portions, but we should also enjoy this time of the year. It’ll be easier to go back to our normal eating habits after New Year’s if we do. Enjoy this time of friends, family, and food, but still take daily walks. We must think about our food intake, but we can’t allow it to consume us. Tis the season for celebration, and food is part of that.  Go ahead, eat that piece of pie…and savor it.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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