Oh brother! The holidays are upon on us and that spells disaster for those of us who are on diets for heath reasons, like having to keep our blood sugar or weight down. The parties are always the most dangerous part, especially those wonderful occasions where every guest makes their signature dessert dishes that one cannot say no to. Resistance is futile.
It’s fairly easy to be good during the workweek. I have a lot of rules and I can adhere to most of them, including my standards — “nothing in the mouth after 5 p.m.” and “nothing that will bring up the heartburn level once you lay down.” In my case, having been on something called “The Whole Thirty Diet,” I have eschewed bread, non-vegetable carbohydrates and anything with sugar in it with great success. It really doesn’t seem fair to walk into a wonderful holiday party with almost all good people (more on that later) and immediately see mounds of bagels, cream cheese and Nova Scotia salmon piled high up in the air. Of course, with some of this, the “all or nothing rule” attaches because once you succumb to that first mouthful, you are finished. It’s as if you brain goes from a red light to green. I imagine it’s what that first drink must be to an alcoholic who has been off the sauce for years and then falls off the cliff.
There are all kinds of addictions. Take smoking. It is really hard to quit smoking, as many a former smoker can attest. Society has helped by passing all kinds of rules and that list keeps growing. You can’t smoke inside or, increasingly, outside. Many fewer people smoke, but I read recently that 15 percent of our population still does. I realized a long time ago that some very smart people still smoke. I used to think that all they had to do was just stop. Some of my friends were able to do that, but some just can’t. Smoking has been described by some as harder to quit than heroin.
Another danger when attending holiday parties comes when you are a person of strong opinion, often voiced on the radio or in a newspaper column. There’s inevitably that lady who approaches you and vigorously attacks, pointing out that she met you years ago and remembers your attitude to her virulent opinion that vaccinating kids is equivalent to homicide. Finally, in desperation, you come too close to losing it. You remember, of course, that you still have anger work to do even though you are much older than you used to be. Of course, into the same category are the few in our area who voted for Donald Trump and want to tell you why he is a great man who is making the stock market grow to new heights and then want to tell you about “fake news.”
Of course, some houses have a no-shoes policy and you have holes in your socks and you take your shoes off and everyone will be looking and pointing at you and you might be ashamed. I get that. I remember once being at my aunt’s fancy house in New Rochelle having played outside and getting mud on my shoes and coming into the room and feeling that same sense of shame. So I went into the bathroom and washed my shoes off. It made everything worse. So be careful of holiday parties.
So what is the answer? You can avoid holiday parties at work or in your social circles, but who would want to that? You can exercise self-control and let’s face it, some of us who just don’t like the taste of alcohol have one less thing to worry about. Or you can just accept the inevitable thing about being human and know that there is real danger in this merry season.