Live a Little: This Season, I'm Caving Into My Cravings

Been good all year? Don't be afraid to loosen up and cut yourself some slack

Just in time for the food-centric holidays, Dunkin’ Donuts has released an insightful survey revealing that 64 percent of people will, when given the choice, eat the head of their Gingerbread Man cookie first.

Dr. Alan Hirsch, neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, explains that how we cannibalize our cookie offers culinary insight into our personality: Noggin nibblers are achievement-oriented, leg lovers are sensitive and enjoy the companies of others, and those who go for the arms first are either skeptical and pessimistic (right side) or creative and extroverted (left).

Considering that my people’s holiday food traditions tend towards fried potato latkes and Chinese food on Christmas, I’ve never really gotten into gingerbread men, so I can't speak to my specific strategy on that. But reading about this survey made me think about how I tend to navigate my annual holiday food fests.

I tend to grab a glass of champagne before the hostess has even offered to take my coat. As I mingle, my best intentions go full throttle as I attempt to fill up on veggie sticks.  Alas, by my second glass of champagne, my night starts to take a gastronomic turn for the worse. All of those fizzy bubbles start to send irrational messages to my head. Thoughts like, "Leslie, you deserve to eat that stuffed mushroom.” Breaking down, I start to sample more fattening fare. Then, hello, bartender! Why yes, a dirty, dry  martini with blue cheese-stuffed olives does sound wonderful! I'll then start voraciously mowing down hors d’oeuvres. Dabbling in mashed potatoes and snagging a few Philly rolls, selecting the ones with the most cream cheese. Before long, I'll be double fisting a pumpkin pie tartlet and a chunk of fudge.

So what does my food strategy say about me? While I may not be a fan of gingermen (I’m more of a Whoopie Pie girl), chronicling my holiday noshing rituals here today has helped me see that I’m the type of person who’s probably a little too controlling in my everyday life, setting me up for inevitable failure when willpower-sapping alcohol is served up. I’m disciplined and have a difficult time with moderation, and perhaps my New Year’s resolution should be to cut myself some slack. From my mouth to the Gingerbread Man’s ears!

What kind of food strategy do you follow at holiday gatherings? Do you dive in or avoid your favorite dishes? Chime in below!

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