Thanksgiving DinnerHow often has the season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s been a time of spiritual growth, re-awakening and renewal for you? For me, I must confess, not that often. Please tell me if you have felt this way also: The day after Halloween, the commercial forces of our culture break over us like a rogue wave. Suddenly money is flying out of your pocket and food is flying in your mouth. Come January, the aftermath reveals grim landscape of debt and extra pounds. I get depressed just thinking about it.

Have you been guilty of giving yourself an annual vacation from sensibility and responsibility? Before you do it again this year, only to regret it later, I would like to give you some food for thought, which by the way has no Calories.

First, here are a few holiday weight gain facts, true of most people:*  
1)    You will gain from 1-5 pounds between thanksgiving and new years.1
2)    This will be half of the weight you will gain all year long.1
3)    You are not likely to lose it, after the holidays but rather keep adding weight year over year.2

If you could buck this trend, would you?  What if you could dial down the difficulty level and be in control of your appetite rather than your appetite in control of you?

I am going to share a secret with you.  Think of it as knowing where the enemy is hiding and how to avoid being captured.

God designed us to survive in much different conditions than we live today.  Among the many incredible survival instincts he built into us, He gave us 5 identifiable instincts related to food.  In her book, the Instinct Diet, Dr. Susan Roberts describes five food instincts that heavily influence our eating decisions.

In a nutshell, there are 5 ways or times we are programmed to eat more.  In all these situations, our brain will encourage us to open wide and eat like there is no tomorrow:
1)    When we are hungry, food tastes better and we will eat more.
2)    When food is available, it stimulates us to eat, even when we aren’t hungry.
3)    When foods are familiar, we trust them more, like them more, and will eat more.
4)    When there is a variety of food, we will be stimulated to eat more total Calories.
5)    When foods have lots of Calories (calorically dense) we like them more and will eat more of them.

These instincts served us well when we had to hunt, kill and pluck our food from its God-given habitat.  If you still procure your food this way, then this article might be a waste of your time.  But if a car, or a grocery store, or other food-selling establishment is part of your food acquisition process, then stay tuned for my next blog post on fighting holiday eating triggers!

* Footnote:  1) Shown in a Tufts University study conducted in 2000).  2) Also noted by Betty Kovacs, M.S., R.D., co-director of the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center” people don’t generally lose the weight they put on, those pounds just accumulate over the years.”