Home > Body Confidence, Food and Weight > Celebrating, Not Dreading, Foodmas

Celebrating, Not Dreading, Foodmas

This week I told my Facebook friends I am calling the period from Thanksgiving to New Years Foodmas.  I have had a Thanksgiving dinner, a Hanukkah feast, a Christmas lunch and, in between, several holiday parties complete with their yummy treats.  As much as I have truly enjoyed indulging in these foods this season, my body is ready to get back to the clean eating and physical activity that it’s accustomed to.

A couple of years ago my sentiments about holiday eating—or eating in general—were not so casual or matter-of-fact.  I frantically accounted for each calorie consumed, checked the scale multiple times throughout the day and eyed myself in the mirror searching for evidence that I had indulged in forbidden tasties.  Most of the time I willed myself to stay away from the foods my friends and family were enjoying and on the occasions when I allowed myself to eat the sinful foods, I’d go way overboard and binge on them—the inevitable result of skipping meals and snacks throughout the day and assigning food moral values.  So there I was at parties and family functions so tightly wound-up about what I was ingesting, I’m sure I completely forgot to have fun.  Not this year.  I put my party pants on and ate what everyone else ate. Was I eating what I normally eat? Nope.  Did I occasionally eat when I was not hungry? Yup.  Did I pack on 500 pounds over the holidays? Nope.  Did I feel like an unworthy, out-of-control lowlife freak for eating a sugar cookie? Hell no.

I did gain a few pounds, but the difference between this year and years past is that I know these are temporary seasonal fun pounds that will leave with the holidays.   More importantly, I now know my weight has no impact on my feelings: I get to choose how I feel about me and my body and I choose to feel fierce regardless of what the scale reads or how my skinny jeans fit on any random day.  For anyone who is an emotional overeater and/or is struggling with body image issues, this is most likely a foreign concept, and I can certainly relate. Now that I no longer eat for comfort or excitement, however, food has lost its charge.  I can appreciate the pure pleasure of decadent holiday food, indulge in it and then walk away from the dessert table when my body has had enough –-and I can do this with zero drama.  This year when I did eat past satisfaction to fullness, I found it unpleasant enough to not want to repeat it.   My body and I are on the same page, I feel her signals and I honor them.  Okay, with the exception of that piece of pecan pie, but the good news is that even when I eat past fullness on rare occasion, my body trusts me to feed her the very next time she asks for fuel and to stop when she is satisfied and I do that for her.  We’re on the same team.

This is what happens when you realize that you are in full control of your feelings and actions.  I used to think bingeing was the act of a person who had lost control.  But the truth is I was always in control. My proof?  I walked me to the kitchen.  I reached into the pantry for the chips. I put the chips in my mouth. All me. Going deeper, I was in full control of the feelings that caused me to walk into the kitchen when I wasn’t hungry.  If someone said something rude to me with no hint of constructive criticism, I could decide to take it personally or realize it really is the problem of the other person.  If I stubbed my toe getting out of bed in the morning I could tell myself it’s going to be a horrible day or I could acknowledge it happened and see that it had nothing to do with the fabulous day I intended to have.  We choose our feelings–I do, you do and so do all the women who engage in emotional eating right now.

If you’re used to beating yourself up during and after the holidays for the foods you consume, be more compassionate with yourself.  Do something different this year: instead of going into the new year with a mean intention to starve and deprive yourself thin, find out what it is you really want out of life.  At best, food is fuel for your body–at worst, it is only a very poor substitute for what you truly yearn for.  If you’re going to make a new year’s resolution for 2010, resolve to find out what it is you truly want and go get it.  Don’t be surprised if you lose your food cravings, find your waistline and discover a good time along the way.  I sure have.

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