• Maria Netherland

Feeding the Beast

Updated: Feb 14


The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom…for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough. – William Blake

It’s the week after Thanksgiving. We have 30 days until Christmas and 37 days until the New Year. Most humans subscribe to one thought during this time: overconsumption. It’s not just food! Alcohol, shopping, and partying are all included!

Let me tell you a little story. In 2011, after my first Ironman, I decided that I could eat whatever I wanted for a week. The logic? I’d just spent six months prepping for a big event and I FINISHED! Let’s celebrate! In that week, I had a lot of food, but the most memorable meal was a massive cheeseburger, a pile of fries and a fishbowl-sized shake at Pappas Burgers in the Houston-Hobby airport on my flight home from my amazing race. I know what you’re thinking – this isn’t a big deal! Except….well, this was the second week in November and my ‘celebration’ rolled right into the holidays. My family can lay out some food at Thanksgiving! And apparently, I can consume food with the best of them! At that Thanksgiving meal, I ate so much that I literally had to unbutton my jeans (forgot my stretchy pants) and I had to go lay down because I was so uncomfortable. Oh was I sick! My husband came up to check on me and I told him how poorly I felt. He laughed. I decided at that minute that I had to get what I call my ‘holiday consumption’ under control. Since that fateful Thanksgiving, I gave myself some rules to follow during the holiday season. Here they are:

  1. Find some vegetables every day. Try to add them to every meal. I add them into my eggs, my shakes (yesterday was a pumpkin shake), or make a multi-colored salad. I roast them, blend them, sauté them and eat them raw. I also park myself next to the veggie tray at holiday meals.

  2. Survey the battlefield. Look over the buffet or table and choose what you want on your plate. Don’t be afraid to ask what’s in a dish – just be tactful about it. You never know – that broccoli salad could contain a bunch of sugar (no kidding – I know someone who makes a broccoli salad with sugar).

  3. Try to manage your consumption using the following rule – be what you term as ‘good’ 80% of the time.

  4. If you’re consuming caloric beverages (alcohol, juice, soda, eggnog), define your limits before you pour your first glass. How many are you going to have?

  5. Enjoy what you put on your plate and in your glass! Savor!

  6. Don’t mindlessly pick at food. Once you’re finished eating, get rid of your plate – put it in the trash or in the dishwasher.

  7. Exercise! Stick to some kind of routine during the holidays and try to make it fun. It doesn’t need to be swim/bike/run! It could be walking, paddle boarding, hiking, spin class, goat yoga or Pilates. This is really your off-season, so go enjoy something you might not do during the rest of the year.

This isn’t meant to be a buzz-kill on your consumption. But it will make your post-holiday running more pleasant…..

PS – A few years ago, I had this conversation at the dinner table:

Relative: “Make sure you try my Snickers salad.”

Me: “What’s a Snickers salad?”

Relative: “It’s whipped cream and cut up Snickers bars.”

Me: [Eye roll]. “Shouldn’t that be dessert?”

Relative: “No, the recipe said it was a salad.”

Lesson learned? Not all is what it seems!

#MariaNetherland

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