Not Even Hungry

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I tried to do everything right this year to prepare for the holiday eating
frenzy. And I don’t just mean Thanksgivvikah. Latke parties are past,
but I am facing endless trays of goodies and tidbits at office
celebrations, art shows, and in the homes of Christian friends and
football buddies. All December and early January eating. I have a
health coach who’s given me lots of useful tips but when I walk into a
room filled with yummy carbs, my hand has put sweets in my mouth
before my brain can muster up even a small No, let alone the NO NO
NO! I need to hear. Can you give me advice that’ll stick to my brain?

Not Even Hungry

Dear Not Even Hungry:

General wisdom says most people who do not make any attempt to
quell their participation in the holiday eating frenzy will put on five
pounds without even trying. Holding your own – as in just not gaining
weight – is a good goal. Losing weight this time of year seems
impossible. But yes, having some way to apply the brakes, even if
you’re slowing from fifth gear chomping down to second, will have the
effect you want.

The best tip I’ve heard in a while is this one, from a Weight Watcher’s
buddy. It’s based on the principle of absolutes, not a sliding scale of
“just one,” “just two,” and “what the hell?!?!,” a system I can assure
you will never work. Divide the world of things you might put into your
mouth into two categories. In the “Good Food” category put all
vegetables, protein, cheese, soups, sides, and things like hummus and
dips. Everything else (the things your hand reaches for automatically,
like bread, cookies, cakes, pies, tea breads, toffee, yeah the list goes
one) goes into a category you’re about to call Not Food. Say it with
me, Not Food. When you walk into a room, allow yourself to eat all the
Good Food you want. But when you look at the Not Food, assume it is
as indigestible as wrapping paper or car parts, and train yourself to
pass it by. Who know, you might get good at it.