January 20, 2016

The holiday season is over and if you’ve resolved to lose weight in 2016, you’re not alone. Each year, losing weight is the number one New Year’s resolution, and we blame our weight gain on the two months between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. However, if you are one of the 78 million overweight Americans—as I was 100 pounds ago—official holiday pig-out season began with Halloween. Unofficially, it never stopped.

Like you, I had great intentions, but in spite of those intentions, I repeatedly stuffed myself to the brink of illness right through New Year’s Day. Then repenting like a Saturday-night sinner at a Sunday-morning revival meeting, I rushed to the nearest gym or joined the latest lose-it-quick weight-loss program. Sound familiar?

But just as you begin to feel human again, Super Bowl Sunday roars up the driveway, tailgate flapping, loaded with hot wings, stuffed jalapenos and supermarket meat-and-cheese platters, and your resolve to eat healthy ends with the first mouthful of chili-cheese dip.

Oh well, it’s only one day.

Before you can wipe the last smear of wing sauce off your face, oops, here comes Valentine’s Day. Break out the chocolate and champagne. By the time you pick the caramel out of your teeth, St. Patrick swings by with a heaping helping of corned beef, cabbage, and green beer. Right on his heels, Easter drags in a basketful of chocolate bunnies. Before the dye dries on the eggs, Mother’s Day rings the doorbell. You take Mom out for a calorie-loaded dinner that is sure to raise both her cholesterol and her blood pressure. Yours too. But no worries. It’s only one day.

Memorial Day kick-starts summer with the first official barbecue of the season. Father’s Day is next on the menu. All Dad wants to do is flop in front of the sports channel and eat, and you are happy to accommodate him. Spread out the food on the coffee table, wrap a beach towel around his neck, and let him chomp himself into a heart attack. Hope the life insurance is paid up.

Summer appears with a bang on the Fourth of July, another grilling-and-chilling holiday. Mid-July through August is vacation time, and who counts calories at the beach? Instead, you tell yourself that is the only time you can truly relax, so you gladly live on sugar, carbs, and fat-laden non-food.

As soon you are home, Labor Day weekend and the last binge of the season arrive. When the kids head back to school, you head, credit card in hand, to the nearest diet center or gym. That lasts about four weeks, until Halloween creeps in again. You have come full circle and are about to take another trip into the Bermuda Triangle of holiday food benders.

Add to this list Hanukkah, Eid-ul-fitr, Kwanzaa, and a multitude of other religious or spiritual festivities, weddings, showers, anniversaries, birthdays, funerals, Sunday dinners, and other personal celebrations. The result? Out of a 52-two week year, most people resolve to lose weight the week after New Year’s and the week after Labor Day. Think about it. Two weeks out of an entire year.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, 300,000 people a year die prematurely from obesity-related diseases. Saying no to Aunt Fanny’s banana pudding cake or Uncle Ralph’s roasted beast with mango chutney is tough. We’ve all heard, “I made this just for you,” accompanied by a hurt expression. Out of guilt, and an ever-present craving, you eat the casserole or cake or candy. If you decline, they counter with, “It’s only one day.”

What can you do?

Well, you can continue to eat anything that anyone shoves your way and risk turning into an insulin-shooting diabetic stumbling around on your last three toes. You could eat yourself into a case of dementia, or be diagnosed with late-stage cancer because the fat hid the tumor.

Or you can begin to get healthy. One skipped order of French fries, one refused dessert, one trade from fried chicken to grilled halibut will start to turn your life and your health in the right direction.

One bite. One choice. One day at a time.


Hazel Dixon-Cooper is an internationally best-selling author. She is currently working on a memoir, CONFESSIONS OF A FAT COSMO GIRL, and can be reached at and through her blog .


Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Reddit

9 thoughts on “IT’S ONLY ONE DAY—EVERY DAY Hazel Dixon-Cooper

  1. Trish

    Hazel, I never thought of it quite this way before–that we use holidays to stuff ourselves silly throughout the year, but it is an interesting concept, and probably quite true. Maybe someone needs to come up with a better selection of non-fattening meal choices for each holiday. No — that kind of food just isn’t as appetizing, and that’s the problem.
    I think the other major practice that makes it hard to follow a diet is the way the supermarkets display their goods. Walk into any supermarket anywhere in the US and you will be forced by the layout to pass the baked goods, the sodas, the candies, and/or the snack food. If you’re anything like me, your mouth starts to water and you tell yourself it’s only one gooey, creamy cake or packet of chips or whatever.
    The only alternative is to burn more calories, and it doesn’t have to be in a gym. If one consciously thinks about moving more throughout the day it can only help. Right?
    No, maybe we’re all doomed to fatness.

    1. Hazel Dixon-Cooper

      HI, Trish,

      Healthy food is only unappetizing when we’re caught in the fat/carb/sugar cycle, which I was for more than 10 years. You are so right about the supermarket system which is designed to appeal to our cravings and impulses to buy everything that’s bad for us. I know it’s not easy to curb those cravings, however, we have the power to stop that cycle. Moving more will only help if we eat less junk.

      It’s not easy to change, but it’s so worth the effort. I feel like a different human being today than I did 100 pounds ago. I’ve also lost my appetite for the baked goods, candy, sodas, or non-food of any kind because I’ve learned to listen to my body hunger instead of my emotional hunger.

      You are certainly not doomed! One bite. One choice. One day at a time.

  2. Cody

    I really like this article. The information is common sense but presented in such a way that I was like “Whoa, I’ve never thought about it like that.” And here I was stocking up for Valentine’s Day….. 🙂

  3. Micki Peluso

    Well said Hazel. The other alternative is to let yourself get chronically ill with no appetite. The pounds drop away like magic, along with muscle and collagen. For the first time in your life you’ll have to force yourself to eat just to live.
    So if all the years of eating wrong lead to this, why not stop now and avoid the inevitable.

  4. Cynthia B Ainsworthe

    Hazel, I love your piece. It brings home my struggle for weight management for myself and many others. I’m carb intolerant in that I store those carbs as fat faster than others. Yup! The docs have told me that years ago. A low carb diet plan is my friend–a boring friend at times, but still one my body demands.


Leave a Reply

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