I love turkey dinner, my husband thinks I’m weird that way, but you have to make a really dry turkey before I’ll not like to eat it. I like the mashed potatoes that usually accompany it, I like stuffing, I like sweet potatoes. I usually eat too much when faced with a turkey dinner, even before we factor in the desserts that usually accompany it.
This holiday season I dragged by postpartum body, my newborn, and my not quite as well groomed as usual older children to two Christmas parties. The first was with family, and it had the usual suspects, turkey, ham, potatoes, dessert, cheese, nuts, etc. I had to laugh when I realized that the mass of green gelatin on my plate, which did look quite pretty, with a hint of celery or something inside was what the sweet older family member was talking about when she kept saying salad. I laughed in my sleeve because she had worked hard. The other salad had more gelatin and cool whip and canned pears. I found myself actually craving cruciferous vegetables, but then, my hemoglobin was low and I need extra iron so we can blame that. Right?
It was fine as far as meals go, I ate, and then I went back for more potatoes and ham, I ate more cheese, I had a lot of dessert so I could sample everything, and took home nut and fruit goody bags.
The next night, we went to a friend’s house for her annual feast. She had veggies with yummy dips for appetizers. There was ham, and beef, maybe brisket I’m not sure, and green beans with a chipotle butter on them, and yams in lime juice and cilantro, and green salad, and creamy mashed potatoes, and a carrot salad, and it all tasted amazing. She had a trifle for dessert and little ginger shortbread cookies, (Trader Joe’s) and chocolates. I filled my plate once, and didn’t want to go back for seconds; my senses were completely satisfied. After enjoying some excellent wine, (Yay I can drink wine again) I finally looked at the dessert, had a small bowl of trifle, two tiny cookies, and one chocolate. I was done, and satisfied, and only wanted to drink a lot of water after that because I was thirsty.
This brings home two lessons for me. The first is that they say the more flavor in your food, the less you are likely to eat, because your appetite is satisfied sooner with the memorable food especially if you eat slowly enough to taste it the first time. Remember, I LIKE turkey dinner, but it isn’t a strong flavored meal, especially that one. The trick to avoiding over eating is to make sure your sense are satisfied, not just your stomach but your nose and your mouth and your eyes.
The second is that when you are bored, no offense to husband’s extended family, stay away from food because you will eat more than you planned in order to have something to do. I've often been the victim of the party buffet table. It goes like this, you don't have anyone to talk to, so you go to the table and get some food, conversations start at the table so you stand next to it chatting, thanks goodness I'm married now and don't have to worry what the guy watching me stuff my nouth as I talk is thinking, not that that's necessarily a good thing. While chatting, you load up on more food, and then before leaving the table you fill a little plate with something and finally go sit down somewhere. On the way to the bathroom you stop at the table again for another taste of something, and once more on your way out the door and it's an awful lot of food before you're done. It can be done with alcohol also which is usually just as many calories and then you are loaded before you leave.
So, I've devised a solution to all of this that works for me. Take one pass at the table, put the tasitest looking things on a plate and WALK AWAY. Sit down somewhere near a group of people you know, or like, or if there aren't any, a bookshelf, or a large group with one person entertaining the others. Eat slowly, talk to people, or look at books, heck if the party is super boring and you can't leave find a bed and take a nap, (Okay that may depend on where you are and who you're with) the point is, don't go back and hang out at the food table. Don't look at longingly as you walk by, don't stare over the shoulder of the person you're talking to at the new plate of cookies on the table, stay away from the table. If you're really hungry and snacky, you may go back once, and only choose vegetables or whatever the most healthful options available are. DRINK WATER. It helps me if I decide this before I walk in the door. I can stick to it if It's something I've verbalized to myself that I intend to do.
So basically I guess my cure for eating when bored is to decide that I not gonna, not this time, and stick to it.