Portion control probably won’t be one of my New Year’s resolutions

image I won’t graze before my meal,
I refuse to overeat, doggone it;
I swear to stop feeding my face
at some point before I vomit.

I had repeated this mantra to myself in preparation for the Christmas holiday meal, hoping to curb my normal routine of eating so much that I’m forced to change my breathing pattern to something that sounds like a cheetah in heat.

In the past, I’ve simply given in and accepted my fate, preparing for it by wearing one of those long sweaters which hides the fact that, once my pants are unbuttoned, the only thing holding them up is a small strip of packaging tape on each hip — a technique which allows my new center of gravity to shift, and therefore keep me from toppling into the gravy boat when leaning across the dinner table.

It was while standing in line at the hardware store with a roll of double-sided, maximum-hold packaging tape that I had an epiphany — a life-changing moment sparked by two important realizations:

• First, I was setting myself up for failure by purchasing the tape.
And second,
• I’d forgotten my wallet at home.

With a new-found strength derived from a sudden lack of buying power, I stepped from the checkout line and marched past a stream of other would-be tape purchasers who, upon seeing me return my roll to the shelf, began applauding wildly. Suddenly, others were leaving the checkout line to join in the revelry as, one by one, each of them took a turn emerging empty-handed from the tape aisle amid exuberant cheers! Before I knew it, I was being hoisted skyward as music broke out and the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders surrounded us, shaking their pompoms and chanting “Ned! Ned! Ned!”

Okay, fine. So that didn’t really happen. But I really did forget my wallet, the result of which left me tapeless coming into Christmas dinner.

The first round went fine. I paced myself by using imagery (my body as a pan of Jiffy Pop popcorn over an open flame) as a way to keep things under control.

Round two didn’t go as well as the first, but I still fit into my pants.

Round three wasn’t so great. Even though I was still using imagery (the Jiffy Pop bag was now exploding into a shower of black, flaming popcorn that had caught a pot holder on fire) it didn’t stop me from attempting round four.

By round five, I had given up on the whole imagery idea (by now, there was nothing left but charred tin and an arson investigator, anyway) and once again accepted my Christmas dinner fate.

Which isn’t to say things were a total loss. When we went to the movies yesterday, I had no trouble skipping the popcorn…



(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)


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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

32 thoughts on “Portion control probably won’t be one of my New Year’s resolutions”

  1. Hey, I would gladly help out…I’ll send YOU my cookies and candy gifts that I received before I too have to use that duct tape! 😉 Don’t you just LOVE the holidays! 😉

  2. Suspenders, Ned, the answer is suspenders under a sweater. You will be amazed at how much you can eat without yourpants falling down. Your welcome. 😛

    1. Lol! Thank God movie theater seating still isn’t assigned yet!

      And a VERY Happy New Year to you, Susan. I know 2014 had some rough spots; you’ve earned a banner year this time around 😉

  3. I think that post title is one of my favourites, ever.

    (and I’m personally amazed how much popcorn, theatre or homemade, I can eat in a single sitting…by myself, of course…I’m much more refined when someone is with me).

    1. Thanks, Ann. It’s nothing if not honest.

      And yes — I’m generally more refined when eating popcorn when there are other people around, too. Like using just one hand instead of two…

      1. It’s my favourite snack to make when alone and watching movies… but I also like an embarassing amount of butter. I’m a bit better at not making a gigantic amount, because I do feel truly gross the next day…but it’s a journey 😀

        1. Yeah, I’m a butter guy. The more butter the better. I need a roll of paper towels with me when I eat homemade popcorn. Heck, I’ll even slip the theater guy an extra buck for more fake butter.

          It’s a condition I suppose…

  4. well, at least you gave it a stab. my son in law came to thanksgiving dinner and announced, ‘i’m in sweats ‘cuz i plan to eat a lot.’ – nuf said. )

  5. Portion control is for amateurs and elastic waistbands for professionals (like Beth’s son-in-law). And I’m writing this while eating Heath bar bits straight out of the bag.

  6. Ned – I appreciate the application of your diet theory in your writing! You visualize with words and this inspires me. btw – I ate a whole 1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin for Christmas. That ought to take me well into 2015 before i do that again.

  7. I will stop eating now.. when I feel full, I just stop. It is a hard thing to do, especially if there is still yummy food on my plate. But my tummy is much happier. I just have to remind myself how I feel when I overeat. It has taken me a long Loooong time to get to this place.
    I do not set New Year’s resolutions… I don’t believe in them for myself because they never work. I do see Jan 1 as a new beginning and change from the things of the past year though. Hubby and I have embarked on a new challenge to get healthy and lose some weight. We are both predisposed to be overweight because of genetics, but poor health is more rampant in his family..diabetes, high BP (which he already has) and heart disease. It isn’t as prevalent in mine genetically as much as self-inflicted bad habits LOL! ie..smoking, alcohol abuse etc. Both things I avoid. When it comes to insurance plans and underwriting I still hold fast to my stance that family history shouldn’t count if it is self-inflicted! ha ha!
    I hope you are having a wonderful New Year so far Ned! 🙂

    1. Lol! I am searching my health insurance plan for the “self inflicted” clause!

      I have to say, genetically speaking I am fortunate to come from a family of tall, thin Danes with longevity. However, it also has a history of alcohol abuse, smoking and high blood pressure. I’ve avoided the first two but have to watch my BP. I gave up coffee. For about a week. I’ll keep my BP down by meditating over my coffee pot instead 😉

      My best wishes to you and your hubby in the new year, Courtney! 😉

      1. Thanks Ned! I have longevity and almost no cancer in my line…so I am good on a couple of fronts as well!
        Let’s start a petition! HA HA! I think family history elements should be amended!! 😉

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