The Holidays, You, Me, and Others

Once a person has grasped the unlikelihood of super-heroic transformation, at least one corollary becomes obvious. In union there is strength. A good rule is, “Support other adults who struggle to create nice experiences and pleasant memories for children.”

The holidays really shine most for kids and elders. All of us who fall in the vast middle ground between the extremes need to just shoulder the burden of making sure that those two demographics have a good time. Nobody said it was fair. But in recompense, the emotional rewards can be spectacular.

Making a lovely and memorable holiday does not mean having the most gaudily decorated house on the block, or buying the most expensive gifts. It means the things Childhood Obesity News has mentioned, like, “Don’t talk about someone’s physical characteristics in their presence. Or behind their back.” And this is particularly true of children. As the well-known Pink Floyd song goes, “Leave those kids alone.”

‘Tis the season to be what?

Between October and February, mental health crises abound, creating psychological burdens in individuals that can’t help but be contagious among family and friends. If we can navigate those hazardous waters, we will probably be able to handle the rest of the months like pros. It comes as no surprise to learn, the strategies that make things go more smoothly over the winter holidays will actually improve life all year round.

What can one do for oneself and others? For starters, empathy is all-important. If you, as a person in pretty good emotional health, can see a negative side to festive get-togethers, just take a moment to reflect on how horrendous these gatherings can be for someone who struggles with serious difficulties.

In this portion of the calendar, all the substance-based problems grow exponentially worse. Adults have alcohol and drugs to contend with, and so do some teenagers. Humans of every age have food issues. With the addition of holiday stress, any life that is a barely controlled mess the rest of the year is poised to blossom into a full-fledged nightmare.

We need to take special care of ourselves, and of the people who have only a tenuous grasp on sobriety, or reasonable eating, or whatever. In fact, it never hurts to just go ahead and be especially considerate to everybody, because who knows what inner sorrow or fear or personal disaster they might be dealing with? Just because they don’t talk about it does not mean it isn’t there, lurking in the background. And guess what — everybody has some kind of Achilles Heel. For far too many of us, that vulnerable spot is our relationship with food.

The most powerful tool for our defense is the mind. Your mind, if not reasonably trained and disciplined, can definitely make a fool out of you. Conversely, it can rescue you from making a fool out of yourself.

Here is a helpful mantra: “The only one who can change things is me, and the best time to do it is now.”

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

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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