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 The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine  
    December 2004    Page 7       > About LCL Magazine     > Cover Page      > Inside Cover    Feature Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12  13  14     

Feature Articles
 A Homemade Christmas
 Party Food for the Holidays
 Managing Christmas Stress
 Creating the Perfect Tree
 A Visit to New Orleans
 Spicin' Up with Cinnamon
 Beware Holiday Treats Pt I
 Beware Holiday Treats Pt II
 Dreamfields Pasta Recipes
 Holiday Cookies!
 Warm Winter Foods
 Jonny Bowden Weighs In
 Our Holiday Card to You
 Make it Low Carb: Nostalgia




  Holiday Planning Guide


          When Holiday Treats Become Holiday Traps by Terri Lynch

This wondrous, magical time of year can add sparkle and warmth to our lives. But for many people in the work world it can also add food-related pressures. Most of us, to some extent, encounter norms and expectations about what, and where, meals are to be eaten with the boss, clients or customers, vendors, and colleagues and co-workers. These expectations change with the season. Often, the holiday norm becomes — directly or indirectly — eat more.

Some people are required to entertain clients in a certain style?

Janice, in her job as a manufacturer's rep, is required to make the rounds of her top accounts and take the buyer someplace nice for lunch. Each day, on the company's tab, starting on the first workday in December and ending the day before Christmas, she will play hostess to a different customer. This is her company's way of thanking their best customers for their business during the year.

As Janice says "By the time I've finished wining and dining the last account I can feel myself ready for the next size up wardrobe. On top of all that, I still must attend the soup-to-nuts company party the weekend before Christmas! I've gone through this every year for the past 18 years. I love my job, and I'm in a six-figure income bracket so I don't want to give it up. But realistically, I find it impossible to stick to any kind of healthy food plan at this time."

Meanwhile, Bob, a senior level management consultant, struggles with the expectations of his clients, many of whom hold office parties that he increasingly looks forward to with dread. In his words, "Last year, within the space of a week and a half I crammed in eleven client lunch and dinner parties. Although partying with clients and eating holiday goodies are all part of the 'I'm there for you' feelings associated with the consulting tradition, it's hard not to overeat and gain weight."

You don't need to step out of the office, like Janice and Bob, to run into these food traps in December. Trouble can lurk even within the confines of the office when food seems to pop up everywhere and co-workers turn into food pushers.

Katrina views the approach of December with apprehension, worrying how she'll deal with a steady stream of goodies the women she works with generously bring to the office. In her words, "It starts in the first week of December with the new recipes that must be tested..."

"You absolutely have to taste these cookies I made!"

"What do you think of this fudge I made to ship to my son?"

"How would you rate this bread recipe? Does it contain enough cinnamon?"

"Aren't you going to try the dip I brought in?"

"By the time Christmas week arrives, I've sampled and graded candy and cookie recipes, tarts and appetizers, and breads of various kinds. Last year, there was even a rich, creamy soup."

Sometimes, outsiders bring goodies to the workplace as an expression of appreciation... or perhaps a bit of a bribe.

Dan teaches 5th grade in a Midwestern farming community, where there are a lot of stay-at-home moms who take pride in setting a hearty table. Says Dan, "I think many of my students' moms see me as a single male who's deprived of home-baked treats and gooey little confections. The day before Christmas, kid after kid approaches my desk with tins of goodies, and homemade breads and jams. I even see an occasional pie. I know better than to haul it all home, so after leaving school for the day I make my way to a few friends' homes to unload some of the loot. Some of the remainder gets eaten (by me) and the rest gets tossed in the trash."

Jeff, a male nurse, is in a similar situation. Families of his patients somehow think their loved ones will get better care if they ply the nurses with food. During the holidays this is magnified. "Family members come in bearing boxes of treats; everything from chocolates to pizza. The cheesecakes and coffee cakes are always a big hit," says Jeff. "Even in this environment where everybody knows better, nothing goes to waste."

Then there are cases where no human push is needed. The work environment itself is a food pusher.

Every December, Pauline takes a second job working for a local candy company that makes exquisite truffles which it sells in regional upscale chocolate stores. All day long she is surrounded by mouth-watering and sumptuous temptations which she packs in elegant gold foil boxes. During the packing process, if something should become broken or damaged in any way, those pieces are put aside for the staff to enjoy, free. Pauline admittedly can't stop herself from indulging in this "little bit of luxury" when she has the chance; otherwise she'd never get this treat — she couldn't afford it on what she gets paid.

The situations just described would be hard for many to comprehend, especially those who work from home. But they are problems — sometimes quite serious — for the people who experience them while trying to control their weight. In part two, we'll look at some strategies for handling them.

Copyright © December 2004  Terri Lynch and Low Carb Luxury
Title photo Copyright © 2004  Neil Beaty for Low Carb Luxury




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