I’m writing today from Boston’s Logan airport, where I have had the gift of more than 26 extra unexpected hours before my flight.* So imagine me composing this week’s note with breaks for doing my workout in the corner by the windows. Airport hobo’s exercise game is strong.
(*In the end, 38 from Boston to SFO.)
So anyway, last week I said we’d talk about the holidays, and how to get through them without regrets. Standard advice involves, as you know, savvy tips like “eat a small healthy meal prior to the party.” (It worked so well for Scarlett O’Hara!) Or “get some protein.” (Yes, people write tips like this. You should eat protein, of course. But as a year-round thing - not special just for the holidays.)
My least favorite caution is “Remember the reason for the season.” That is to say, theology, not presents, parties or feasting.
I think that’s wrong. The season is actually the reason for the season - at least in the northern hemisphere, where long before Jesus, latkes and Martha Stewart, people honored the return of the sun because it meant their chances of survival had just dramatically improved.
This is the same reason I am rubbed the wrong way by the psychology-of-eating, get-to-the-bottom, take-care-of-the-real-need idea. And the very popular maxims that “food isn’t your friend” and “food ain’t love.”
BUT! IT IS. What is giving your most precious resource to someone else to enable them to survive, if not love and care in their purest form? Food totally is love. We’re wired up with that idea. And we can’t just shake it off with a little meditative raisin-tasting, because the humans for whom survival = food = love = sharing = even better odds of survival survived to become us.
The celebration of survival is no longer a conscious aspect of the season, obviously.For many, health is more threatened by surplus “food” than by starvation. Feasting is cheap. If you eat out a lot, feast-level eating is the norm.
But before feasting was cheap, when people had to save and plan and prep for the holidays, when your king bankrupted you and your whole dukedom if he wanted to come down for the weekend, feasts were held - food was eaten, drinks drunk, games played, dances danced, hijinks, I think we can assume, ensued - and THEN IT WAS OVER.
And nobody ever had to worry about holiday weight gain.
Stop bingeing and overeating. Immediately.
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