Thanksgiving is upon us. Every year, every single year, I tell myself that I will NOT do the same darn thing. That darn thing renders half my closet useless for months forcing me to live in stretch pants and loose shirts. It makes me do crazy stuff such as trying a new hairstyle with the insane expectation that it will make me look thinner.
You know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the year-end pig-out.
As soon as the stores start rolling out the holiday merchandise, I’m hooked. Shelves with Thanksgiving patterns on plastic plates blending seamlessly into Christmas aisles laden with sparkly, tis-the-season decorations all conspire to send me straight to the bakery. Animatronic Santas smile and wave as if to say, Look at me. It’s perfectly fine being fat. Everybody loves my obesity. Cookies and milk are good for you—I’m really fat and I can still make it down the chimney.
As if nature is in collusion with the holiday urge to eat baked goods, the weather is colder, and my body wants to put on fat to keep me warm. I keep telling my body that we humans now have electric heating, but the craving for cookies and pies persists like an itch underneath your ribs you can’t scratch no matter how much you try.
It’s like the world takes a vacation between November and January. All my common sense goes into a coma. Cookies, cakes, pies and candies surround me like an occupying army. At every turn there is a conveyor belt of desserts being offered with a knowing wink and a permission slip to Indulge, indulge—you can diet after the holidays.
It makes me a little nauseous just writing about this. I eat so much junk this time of year I never have room left for any real food. But then I’m still hungry so I eat more junk.
Even as I’m shoving homemade peanut butter cups and adorable cupcakes into my mouth, my foggy frontal lobe is trying to tell me something but I can’t quite hear it over Burl Ives singing Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. My stomach is also trying to tell me something, but I’m too busy deciding between the fudge and a piece of pecan pie.
I blame Thanksgiving and New Year’s resolutions.
Thanksgiving breaks the spirit of rationality. Mothers and grandmothers everywhere slave in a hot kitchen for days in order to shower their progeny with edible love. Barrel-sized bowls of potatoes are mashed with gallons of cream and huge slabs of butter. Pumpkin pies are turned out by the dozen. Side dishes in holiday dinnerware accumulate until they overflow onto every available surface.
Special dishes, glasses and silverware are unearthed and dusted off. Huge tablecloths are snapped to crispness and laid over extended tables. Steam just keeps rolling out of kitchens, where aproned and harried women can be half-seen performing feats of greatness in record time.
And then the presentation begins. The table is loaded and groaning from the weight of the feast. It’s time to eat. There are so many choices, even if a tiny teaspoonful of each dish is taken, there is not enough room on the plate. The mothers and grandmothers scan the table with eagle eyes, noticing who has not tried the sweet potatoes or taken a jiggling disk of cranberry sauce. Their martyred faces when everyone doesn’t stuff themselves up to the eyeballs are legendary.
So how can I say no when the pies are rolled out with Costco-sized tubs of whipped cream? My belly is so distended at this point I can’t even sit up straight. I have to fork the pie in half laying down, and carefully, because my stomach is churning its contents up into my esophagus.
At that point my brain goes numb and my body acquiesces to nonsensical expansion. I tell myself, Okay, this happens every year. Just give into it. You know—this is me talking to myself—for the next month there will be no getting around the constant barrage of baked goods being offered with good cheer. You can make a New Year’s resolution and dump the holiday weight then.
And so it begins.