Holidays and Their Aftermath

We got stressed out, we ate too much, we drank too much, and now we don’t feel very good about ourselves. The basic line of reasoning here is that an awful lot of harmful behavior is caused by stress — so let’s do what we can to minimize stress. Even though we have messed up during this holiday season, something of value can be salvaged. We can put a little thought into how to avoid repeating this hackneyed plot.

Lies we tell ourselves

No names will be mentioned, but some of us do have a tendency to misuse our brains. For instance, we employ them to think up excuses for ourselves, little stories we use to wiggle out of responsibility for things we shouldn’t have done, or things we should have done but didn’t.

Even though there were plenty of sweets all over the house, we let the kids open the huge gift tin of caramel-coated popcorn. Why? Because it was easier than getting into a dispute about it when everybody was having a good time. (Note to self: Sign up for a parenting class.)

Blaming the holidays themselves is a popular cop-out. For the person who prefers to make excuses, this one will always be available, because New Year’s Eve will not be canceled any time soon. All the excuses will be around for a long time, so the only thing to do is make sure we are not around for them. We can make ourselves unavailable to the excuses. When they bang on the door, don’t answer. Recognize them, identify them, reject them.

Painful revelations, fertile imaginations

For many of us, what this all leads up to is the stark truth that we had better not use the holidays as an excuse to slip, backslide, fall off the wagon, take a cheat day, or in any other way let our addictive disorders get the upper hand. In the context of childhood obesity, the most pervasive addictive disorder is overeating.

The unmonitored brain has a way of manufacturing excuses for anything. “Just this once” is a universal favorite. “It could have been a lot worse” is a strong contender. “It’s not that big of a deal” is an all-time chart-topper.

Rationalizations are a dime a dozen. We’ve got a million of them. In this media-saturated age, excuses have become both easier to fabricate and more difficult to rationalize. We don’t need to go back to school to figure out this stuff, or spend a lot of money. We don’t even need to embarrass ourselves by in-person asking a competent adult. We can just turn on YouTube and type in “stop making excuses,” and harvest literally dozens of viable ideas.

Okay, some self-help gurus don’t make sense to us. We don’t like their style, or they’re just not speaking our language. However, it behooves us to keep looking. One of the most useful things a person can do is to dedicate a fair amount of time to seeking out advisors whose words resonate and whose suggestions make sense and are doable.

This suggestion gets the New Year off to a great start: Take a look at what BrainWeighve is all about. The possibilities for exciting benefits are many. One enthusiastic reviewer says, “If the average person is unable to find inspiration here, I’ll eat my hat.”

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Image by Emily Moe/CC BY-ND 2.0 DEED

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FAQs and Media Requests: Click here…

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

The Book

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.

Food & Health Resources