I am a grazer. I normally don’t have a problem with overeating when I am served a plate of food. But put me beside a table full of hors d’oeuvres and I’m likely to eat the lion’s share. The sweet, the savory, and even the raw vegetables tempt me to embarrassing excess. The problem is this: I park myself by the food table and don’t move for hours. Everyone comes and goes, so it’s a great place to be from a social standpoint. And being first to know when the hosts bring out a fresh batch of a delectable treat has a distinct advantage. The disadvantage, of course, is that inevitable five pounds (if I’m lucky, only five) that I find when I drag myself out of bed on New Year’s Day and look foggy-eyed to the mirror and start the list of resolutions.
Now that we are in the thick of the holiday season, and the recurrent parties with endless supplies of that which I should not eat in the quantities that I eat it, I am trying a new tactic: Abstinence. That’s right, T-totalling abstinence. Those butter cookies served with the hot chocolate at my son’s Christmas pageant, they don’t even exist. The hummus with pita chips and pecan turtles, I don’t see you, smeel you, or crave you. Out of sight , out of mind.
I’m not skipping the parties this year. I’m simply avoiding the eats. My strategy starts with a strong foundation: I eat well before I go to a social function so I don’t have any legitimate excuse of hunger to aid and abet my compulsion. Then the geographic component: I find a new post, as far away from the food table as possible, and position myself so that the tempting spread is not in my line of sight. That’s it. With these simple changes, I am finding it surprisingly easy to not eat.
If on a trip to the restroom my place slows and I linger too long by the buffet, a little voice in my head, firm, gruff, and military-sounding, says, “Ma’am, step away from the food table”. With that I can smile and move on.
The only danger in this seemingly flawless plan is that my new parking spot end up too close to the bar, where new laws of abstinence do not apply.