Here is Past Deadline from the Dec. 5/13 issue of The Perth Courier.

Yelling at my food

It’s probably pretty safe to say this is a busy time of year as Christmas approaches.

I can tell you that in my self-employed/college teacher world, I refer to this as “Silly Season.” On top of the holiday hubbub, I’ve got a pile of annual year-end projects crashing head-on into a daunting pile of semester-end marking. This basically ensures that my ever-expanding bum is firmly planted in a chair 24-7 with either a pencil or a red Sharpie in hand – not to mention having a keyboard as a third arm.

By the time Christmas arrives, I usually have a glazed, red-eyed, crazier-than-usual-haired look about me. I am generally about five pounds heavier, too, and that’s before the Christmas Feeding Frenzy even begins.

One of the culprits for the weight gain is marking. See, I spread everything out on the kitchen table when I mark papers. The kitchen, as you may know, is where we keep the food. I get the munchies when I mark, so if there are chips or popcorn or nuts or other naughty snack foods in the house, I will eat them.

Why? Because I am in the kitchen. Where the food is. And my buddy Will Power is always AWOL.

I am starting to think marking is bad for my health.

I recently chatted with a colleague about her efforts to lose weight. She had great success after joining a program, which espouses the very things I know I should be doing and just fail to implement. Eat good food, not garbage. Eat appropriate portions. Add a healthy dollop of exercise to boot.

It’s not rocket science, so why is it so hard?

Well, beyond the obvious willpower issue, I’m gonna go with a side order of “bad habits” on this one. There was a time, in the distant past Before Children and when I had a metabolism set at a speed higher than “barely functioning” that I could snack while I did homework or edited or wrote or whatever and I wouldn’t gain weight.

Those heady days are loooong gone.

So, since it seems I always snack when I mark no matter how hard I try to tell myself not to, it’s time to bring in the “Designated Replacement Snack.” (Again, this is not rocket science, but maybe the Gimmicky Fancy Title will trick my feeble brain.)

For example, instead of chips, which Groom-boy The Slender can stop bringing home ANY TIME, please, I’ve chosen grapes.

And, since I’m prone to snacking when stressed, instead of reaching for Naughty Food after a difficult session of wrangling stalling kids to bed, I’ll aim for the “Designated Stress Snack.” Maybe some nice, loud, crunchy celery to drown out the babbling children.

The trick is, the food has gotta be ready to go. It has to be washed and cut up and within reach – like the bag of chips is – because the Inner Snack Monster doesn’t like to waste time washing and chopping.



My colleague also mentioned choice. We tell toddlers to make good choices – so maybe it’s time to practise what we preach. Don’t be surprised to hear me verbally abusing or praising food in my kitchen.

“I am NOT going to choose you, chips! You are bad! You are garbage! Bad food, bad!” Followed by: “Hello, pretty grapes! You are looking particularly rosy tonight! Good snack. Goooood!”

(Did I mention it is Silly Season and, evidently, I have lost my mind?)

Will I actually follow through on this particular Grand Plan? Can I make it to Christmas without gaining five pounds?

Only time will tell. Likely I’ll report in as part of the New Year’s “Revolutions.”


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