So right after the holidays millions decide it’s time to lose weight. Gym memberships soar. Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers see their membership numbers increase exponentially. Me, I decide the week BEFORE Christmas to get serious about what I’m putting in my mouth, and even more serious about the thoughts in my head. In doing so, I have really started to identify triggers and my particular compulsions.
Allow me to share two Christmas tales.
Tomorrow I’m going to a relative’s for a big family gathering & meal. In preparation, I asked about the menu. For me that’s a first. In the past I’ve just shown up and eaten some of everything (except stuffing, that I don’t do). Well turns out there aren’t any sound choices on deck for the holiday buffet. So who’s brown baggin’ Christmas dinner? This lady. I’d rather just pack food I know I can and will eat AND enjoy, than sit there starving, cranky, or binge and feel guilty. So hey, victory for me.
It came at the cost of: feeling a bit like a special dietary project, admitting that I am consciously aware of and being mindful of what I’m eating these days, and the risk of insulting the host. These things have caused me great shame in the past. Shame that I am no longer interested in. So my fit and trim host will have to forgive, though I’m not apologizing for, my desire to not gorge on cheesy carbs and fatty meats.
I say no to letting shame or embarrassment cause me to do what I know is unhealthy for me.
Story number two.
Out with family tonight at a restaurant that I did not choose I became increasing frustrated because the nutrition information wasn’t available. I’m on my smart phone and scrutinizing the menu trying to find the one thing I *can eat. I was so frustrated, my inner four year old monster stomped her foot and screamed “fine, I just won’t eat!” And while my family ordered a deep dish pizza I sulked and sipped my diet coke. And then it hit me, I’m afraid of food. I’m.Afraid.Of.Food. The solution for me was to just not eat. That’s not any more healthy than eating everything. I realized that this is why diets don’t work and that I’m not in this to exchange one bad habit for another but to make serious changes in my relationship to food. So I put on my big girl drawls, and opened the menu again. I found a salad and small appetizer that I could eat
without with minimal guilt.
In the real world I’ll be faced with temptation everyday. Saying no to a brownie makes perfect sense (not in a logical way but in a sensible adult trying to lose weight sort of way), but I have to eat. So I have to feel empowered to make smart choices even if the calorie count isn’t listed or I don’t know how many grams of fat are in a dang on thing. I can’t be afraid of food. I am the only one empowered to empower myself.
So see, I’m learning. It’s still early. Tomorrow hasn’t happened. But I am teachable.
Thanks for reading.