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Making Opportunity Out of Overeating

I did something rather unusual this year. I overate the day before Christmas, and it had nothing to do with holiday parties.

I had plans to see the new Star Wars movie in the late afternoon, and I knew it would cut right into my normal dinner time, since I planned to leave home at 3:30 and wouldn’t be back until 7. I knew I could get popcorn at the movie, but I didn’t necessarily want that to be my dinner. I also wanted to avoid drinking too much, so I could get through the movie without a bathroom dash.

Well, I succeeded in the last part, but of course this resulted in another problem: dehydration. And eating salty movie popcorn didn’t help. So during the movie, when what I really needed was liquid, I ended up eating instead, even though I truly wasn’t hungry, having a large late lunch beforehand in the hope of getting through the movie without wanting to snack much. Plus, once I got home, I ended up eating a little more, mostly because I thought was hungry – after all, I hadn’t had a true dinner.

The end result? I didn’t get to the point of being completely stuffed, but I slept badly, and on Christmas morning, I didn’t feel in the least bit hungry. But instead of getting overly annoyed with myself, I decided o consider this an opportunity, for two reasons.

One, for future reference. Looking back, what I could have done differently is instead of eating a large lunch, I could have had my normal lunch so I would be hungry for the movie popcorn. And I probably could have stayed better hydrated – missing a few minutes of a movie I will likely see again wouldn’t be the end of the world, particularly since my friends could have filled me in.

And two, it was oddly helpful on Christmas Day. Having just overeaten made me more inclined to be mindful, and to set an intention of not going overboard a second time. That was very useful given the sheer amount of food.

For dinner, we had baked ham, mashed potatoes, cooked carrots, peas and onions, cranberry sauce, fresh rolls and butter, and salad. Then for dessert, we had sugar cookies, thumbprint cookies, gingerbread cookies, needhams, coffee cake, Italian pastries, peanuts, cashews, and Chex mix.

In the morning, before all the food, my main goal was to drink a lot. Then by the time we sat down just after noon, I was hungry enough to want some food, but still not so hungry I felt ravenous. This let me stop before being full, so that after a break for presents and me playing carols on my flute, I was ready for a little dessert. I also brought some home so I didn’t feel like I needed to sample everything there.

It may not have been an ideal start to Christmas Day, but it ended well, and I’m happy to say I slept much better that night. Now, my goal is to remember all this so when the oddly timed events come up again, I can avoid what didn’t work well and try something new.

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