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Too much of a good thing

Too much of almost anything is bad for you, whether it is chocolate or alcohol, free time or work. This time of year, when we give thanks for what our blessings and all that we have, is ripe for overindulgence. No doubt many of us pushed ourselves away from the "groaning table" Thursday and found it was no longer groaning as much as we were.

And the gluttony has just begun. From now until New Year's, there will be parties, office gatherings, plates of goodies waiting in ambush everywhere, calories and carbs and fat grams like land mines in the holiday landscape. Turning them down would seem churlish, but accepting every morsel offered is tantamount to long-term suicide.

Our children are taught to "Just Say No" to drugs and their parents could pick up a few pointers. Just Say No to the third helping, Just Say No to the second glass of wine. Just say no to the 143rd fruitcake.

It is a deep instinct in humans to put on the padding between now and spring, hedging our bets, pitting out survival against the lean times of winter. Unfortunately, since the advent of freezers and canned food, and the decline of back-breaking physical labor in planting season, we no longer need that layer of insulation and stored energy, and we no longer have a quick and efficient means of shedding it. So while instinct is crying out to eat and eat, reason needs to take over and cut out the second helpings.

The Health and Fitness supplement we offer in today's Star-News gives some tips on how to keep the spirit of the holiday without keeping the souvenirs of extra pounds. or, if overindulgence just seems the thing to do, how to shed those souvenirs in a lasting, permanent way.

We are entering the season of giving and by refusing to take that extra cookie or second drink, we are giving our loved ones the best gift possible -- more time together with longer, healthier lives.