A Winter Holidays Encyclopedia — 1

A popular social media message reminds us that from November through mid-January, the combined total of holidays observed by several major religions reaches almost 30. That’s a lot of celebration. Here is a collection of Childhood Obesity News posts on a sometimes difficult subject.

A Holiday Reminder

Holiday stress comes in so many dismal varieties — financial, interpersonal, and intergenerational. There may be harsh weather to cope with, and even in good conditions, the aggravations of travel can unravel a family’s equanimity. But relatives have to be visited or hosted, and there may be religious duties.

Most of all, there are “refreshments.” From the most basic primeval instinct to share resources and preserve all members of the group, to the most cynical entrepreneurial ambitions of a glitzy gift-basket delivery service, everyone has reasons to ply their fellow humans with food and drink. Advertising goes into hysterical overdrive, urging us to eat-eat-eat, and eat some more.

All Hail the Lord of Misrule

In days of old, life was tough and boring, winter was dark, long, and cold, and any excuse was seized upon to fling mundane routine aside and boogie all night long. The tedium was relieved by raucous trick-or-treat type behavior, which later transmogrified into gentler customs, like the singing of Christmas carols beneath the neighbors’ windows.

But we still eat and drink enormous amounts, and maybe that set of behavioral expectations needs a makeover, too. This post mentions some of the psychological difficulties that trouble people in modern times.

Be the Change You Want to See

If there is ever a time for adults to put on their role-model hats, the holiday season is that time. Everything about it holds a potential for trauma. If there are things we don’t love about our family or affinity group holidays, it’s up to us to change those toxic patterns.

Did your uncle drink too much and pitch face-first into his mashed potatoes? Did your parents hurt your feelings by making everything revolve around the visitors, and relegate you to the ranks of an assistant housekeeper? Or did they just need you as an audience to bizarre behavior, as they sidled up to one relative and created opportunities to put another firmly in their inferior place? Here is a mantra: “The only one who can change things is me, and the best time to do it is now.”

Clean Up After Thanksgiving

What is a food coma, and how do we avoid experiencing one? Without getting all extreme and signing up for a retreat, can the average person achieve a bit of detoxing? Are there other seasonal health hazards to watch for?

Here is a hot tip: Find extra things to look forward to, once the worst part is over. Like after-Christmas sales. This is the time to find wrapping paper and everything else at discount prices, and stash it away for next year. Just avoid the chocolate-covered cherries. And, no. Candy canes are not low-calorie just because they are hard instead of gooshy. Whatever gave you that idea?

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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