Holiday Leftovers

I grew up in a single-parent household in which finances were very tight. Consequently, I never saw food being thrown away unless it had dropped onto the floor. Food never spoiled in our home because my mom made sure we ate it all before such a thing could occur. This has created a major dilemma for me during the holidays, when I am forced to decide whether to toss out leftovers which do not fit into my clean eating plan. I always feel a twinge of guilt when I throw out meal plan-busting foods because I can hear my mom’s voice admonishing me not do it. Shortly after Thanksgiving, I threw out fat free whipped topping and a small container of mashed potatoes, knowing full well that they would not be consumed, yet I was riddled with remorse when I did so. I was relieved that my mom couldn’t witness me throwing out food that she would deem perfectly acceptable. But I have to remind myself that I have to take the clean eating thing seriously and that my mom lives in a different environment from me.

Even now when I visit my mom, she will try to convince me to eat foods which are full of sugar and fat, insisting that “one bite” won’t hurt me. Of course, this often occurs a couple of days before a photo shoot, so I have to say no. Sometimes she will show her frustration, but I need to tell myself that she does not understand what an impact eating forbidden foods has on my physical conditioning, digestion and mindset. It is far worse during the holidays, when evil foods abound. My mother will say, “But it’s Christmas!”, as if the holidays excuse me from eating clean. I recently attended a party at the assisted living facility where my mom resides, and could not resist my mother’s insistence on having some of the prime rib which was on my plate. It was unlike any prime rib I had ever seen, not very appetizing, but to appease my mother I had a couple of bites.

I am no different from other fitness people who are almost terrified of the holidays. We all know that culinary temptations will be in force for a full month, threatening to set us back considerably. Even our fun meals are calculated. I just spent Christmas Day in a very non-traditional and totally fun way, consuming sushi, frozen yogurt, and late-night appetizers with a bunch of fitness friends. We hemmed and hawed over menu selections at the sushi place, then opted for nonfat yogurt options at the yogurt place. We finally let down our guard when late-night appetizers came into the picture, but of course they were appetizer sized and much more acceptable. Clearly this sort of behavior separates fit people from the rest of the population.

Now that Christmas is over, I can breathe a sigh of relief over the fact that tempting foods have, for the most part, made their exit. I don’t need to worry about seeing my homemade fudge in the fridge (I can thank my ex-boyfriend for clearing that out!) or being tempted by holiday pies or cookies because they are all gone. It’s time to bring out the steamed vegetables, lean protein, oats, brown rice and yams. I am actually looking forward to it and craving it!

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