Holidays and venturing abroad

The title might be a bit misleading, so I’ll start by clarifying. While it could certainly apply to travels far and wide, I’m aiming smaller than that: leaving your house, going to a restaurant or someone else’s house, and food-related holidays. How might one deal with these situations while staying on track?

The short answer is, you don’t.

A longer, more detailed and nuanced answer is the point of this post, so I’ll continue.

For us, these situations don’t pop up every day, nor even every week. So we feel it’s easier all ’round for us to just eat as best we can and have a good time. Not only does that reduce our stress, but any stress our host – or whichever friends might be in our company – might feel. No one’s worried that we’re ‘breaking’ our diet; this is just a part of being a social animal.

Same goes for holidays. There’s a couple of biggies every year, so far as food is concerned. And it’s not like you need to go hog wild just because you’re going off-plan. You might, a bit, especially at first. I’ve found that it takes some practise to be able to turn down sweets that are just magically around, as opposed to the sweets I prevent myself from buying.

There’s also something to be said for …well, desensitising isn’t the right word, but it’s close. I used to be a bit of a scone fiend. After the potato famine, I had the occasional scone, but noticed they didn’t taste nice (kind of like salty paste) and weren’t satisfying. It took about three times, but I just don’t want them anymore. I think something similar can be said/done with certain kinds of sweets. I’m getting there. Even as I eat a cookie or chocolate I’m thinking, ‘This tastes of nothing but sugar – not just sweet, but like I was eating spoonfuls of sugar – and that’s unpleasant.’ I’m confident the cure moment is immanent.

Anyway, the point is that generally, we don’t venture out or face down a groaning table of sweets and fats and all the things a craving brain ‘needs’. So long as the day to day stays on an even keel, the occasional dalliance with conventional eating habits shouldn’t be permanently derailing. Plus, there are compensations that can be made after the fact, like an extended fast to account for the extra calories taken in.

For the fella and me, we could probably do with eating nothing but dark green leafy veggies for the next week’s suppers (and we might do at that), and still not starve. In hindsight, we clearly overdid things and only succeeded in getting tummy aches. And the funny thing was that it seemed reasonable at the time. One, admittedly large, plate of food at an early supper, but only after a selection of nibbles through the morning, and followed by a slice of cake and ample libations. Normal Christmas, but about as far from our normal routine as is possible to get.

Today, we fast. Tomorrow, we figure out what to do with all the leftovers. Turkey dinner in July, anyone?

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