Do Calories Really Count During the Holidays?

Holiday Food

It’s often been said (by others, but mainly by me) that calories don’t count during the holidays. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? You could eat whatever you want from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day and not have to worry about counting calories or carbs or fat grams. Want that third piece of apple pie with ice cream on the side (preferably in a plate with separate compartments so there is no mixing of food)? Go for it. Want to eat raw cookie dough while you are baking Christmas cookies? No problem. You wouldn’t gain an ounce of weight and your waistline would not expand. You could enter the new year with a win.

Wishful thinking? Yes. But, who can blame me? As the relatively new pastor at my church during my first Christmas season, I will be attending five — yes, five — church-sponsored Christmas parties over the next few days. And, being back in New Mexico, all five parties will be serving Mexican/New Mexican food. Put chips and salsa in front of me and I will devour every last chip down to the crumb. I have absolutely no will power when it comes to saying “no” to Mexican food. That’s one reason that I keep telling myself that calories don’t count during the holidays.

As a Baptist pastor, I like to eat. A lot. Sometimes too much. I’m pretty sure there was a class in seminary about how to eat like a preacher. Of course, fried chicken (aka, “the Baptist Bird”) is the staple of Baptist potlucks. If a Baptist pastor turns down fried chicken, he usually doesn’t last too long at that particular church. His body might thank him later, but his name will be added to a black list of “those” pastors that don’t do things the Baptist way.

When it comings to food, the Baptist way is pretty much like the rest of America, especially during the holiday season. Overeat, rest, overeat, rest, overeat. I think the Bible calls that gluttony. It’s a word that most Baptist pastors, not to mention lay folks, have banished from their vocabulary. That explains the scarcity of sermons on overeating, except for perhaps one at the beginning of the year on “healthy lifestyles.”

With the weight of the average Baptist pastor around 500 pounds (I saw that somewhere on the internet, so it must be true), that could be seen as a tad hypocritical. No one wants to be a hypocrite. That’s where denial comes in handy. If you deny reality and keep telling yourself that calories don’t count during the holiday season, you can might be able to make it through all of the parties without gaining any weight. But, once the holidays are over, reality comes crashing down on you like an avalanche of cream-filled, chocolate-covered krispy kreme donuts. Believe me. That’s not a pretty sight.

When you finally decide to step on the scale on January 2, you are shocked to discover that you have gained 10 pounds. How could that be? Well, it be. Maybe it was eating every waking moment every day, easily chalking up 5,000+ calories on a daily basis for a month. For more sedentary types, that calorie level is not too good. It’s downright bad. How do I know? Let’s just say I have a Christmas or two’s experience with this reality.

Isn’t it easy to tell yourself that “a little indulgence during the holidays won’t kill me?” Or, “I won’t have any problems restarting my diet after New Year’s.” That’s what I usually tell myself before I begin to overeat. But, this year will be different. I won’t make the same mistakes that I made in years past. I will lose weight during December. I will enter 2020 lighter, faster, stronger . . .

Oh, who am I kidding? Lee Majors I am not. Calories don’t count during the holidays and I can eat whatever I want and I won’t gain any weight. That’s my story and I’m sticking to eat. That is, until I can no longer button my jeans. That’s why I always have a pair of jeans one-size bigger than I currently wear, just for emergencies like this.

1 Comment

  1. Lol, luckily my health situation allows me to eat all I can and not gain weight! Don’t wish it on anyone…bring on the banana pudding!

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