The Holiday Fat-Fire Triangle…

Nothing new this week; very busy building toys and cleaning up my reindeer — you know, Santa stuff.  I do have a timely repeat from this time last year just in time for the holiday weeks.


The Certainty

Heat, fuel, and oxygen; my Coast Guard training taught me that these are the three necessary elements of the fire triangle. Eliminate any one element, and put out a fire – or prevent one from ever happening. Intermingle all three elements, and a fire is certain.

There is also what I call the fat-fire triangle during the holiday season. Just like the fire triangle, a gain in body-fat is certain during the holidays whenever all the elements of the fat-fire triangle are blended.  Keep these elements away from each other, and that weight gain might be avoided. 

Now the holiday meal and all the goodies are not the only culprits of the holiday fat-fire triangle. It’s also the lingering conditions; the next several days and weeks after the holiday meal.  During what we gleefully call the “holiday season”, the conditions are just right for a fat-fire weight gain. Put several holiday celebrations back to back, to back, and the fat-fire hazard is very high. Here’s what I mean:

A holiday meal will certainly be heartier than your average meal, because it’s special – I guess. Heartier, in all likelihood, due to foods more laden with carbohydrates and fats, such as all the side-dishes; potatoes, stuffing, buttered rolls, candied this and caramelized that, pies, cookies, etc. 


These carbohydrates in particular will richen your blood sugar when eaten. To offset that increase in blood sugar, your pancreas will increase its production of this magical stuff – let’s call it insulin, to keep up with the increased blood sugar.  Minimally speaking, insulin is what helps convert blood sugar into glucose.  Guess what? That sudden increase in insulin production can make you hungry, and that increased hunger will carry well into your next day. Element number one, hunger, is in now place and the fat-fire triangle is beginning to form.


After your holiday meal is complete, your nap is over, your team has won the big game, and Aunt Rose and Cousin Vinnie have gone back upstate where they belong, you take irresistible note of all the fire starters that have been left behind; your kitchen counters are adorned with this ready-to-go kindling for your fat-fire.  We’ll call these leftovers, and they are calling you by name while you are in your weakened state of increased hunger. Your leftovers are the fuel, another element of the fat-fire triangle.


Element number three; opportunity. It’s a day after your holiday meal and you’re hungrier than normal due to your increased insulin production from all your eating the day before.   These leftovers which surround you and capture your eyes like sparkling fairies in the forest, are of little danger without opportunity.  Opportunity?  You’re home instead of at work because you’ve taken the week off for the holidays.  Many people take time off of work during the holidays – I guess.  Opportunity is the 3rd and final element of the fat-fire triangle

Our fat-fire triangle is in now place; hunger, fuel, and opportunity. Yikes! Me thinks me hears a disaster brewing.

Food For Thought – So To Say

No, there’s not tip here from me to you. No lesson to be learned which you don’t already know.  No moral to the story nor recommendation by me of how to handle these circumstances, or how to eliminate any one of these elements. I just want to point out, from my perspective, why so many people gain weight during the holiday season; it’s the fat-fire triangle.  It’s a cycle only you can avoid – yours to enter, or yours to evade.  But it is your choice alone.  Blame not the cook of the ham, the bringer of the pie, nor the seller of the stuffing.  It is up to you to be strong, to be disciplined, and to make the right choices.  Me? I don’t play with fire.   Be well.  rc

Oh, and there is this by Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.  Enjoy…

4 responses

  1. That’s right, what we eat is a choice. I’ve chosen to no longer eat sweets at all anymore. I don’t like the way they make me feel. I can indulge a few times a year b/c I eat clean the rest of the time. If you’re already trying to lose weight, the holidays are treacherous! Make the decision to just say no.

    Happy holidays Roy! Love ya 🙂

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