Yesterday I gave you a couple of lower fat/calorie recipes for the upcoming holiday. Whether or not you make and eat lower fat desserts for Thanksgiving, I want to encourage you to mentally prepare yourself for the upcoming holiday and beyond. Mental preparation is so important in this journey towards better health and fitness, and now is not the time to slack off!
Speaking from personal experience, the holidays aren’t always completely full of gladness and joy. For many of us, there are events from our past that cause us to have some sad and painful memories during the holidays. I think it’s important to mentally prepare yourself for all the aspects of the upcoming events, from the food to the emotions. I failed to do this for many years, and instead, found myself feeling blue and on edge sometimes. (Not that I don’t get that way other times of the year as well!) But during the holiday season, I expected myself to be happy, be full of frivolity, and be upbeat! But sometimes I wasn’t and it made me mad. Then I’d turn to food for comfort.
Emotional issues were a part of my becoming obese, and learning how to handle some of those emotions that came my way during the holidays was an important part of my journey. I had to realize that I didn’t have to be Miss Merry Sunshine every minute, and that feeling some sadness over past hurts was okay, and even healthy! Furthermore I discovered that sharing those feelings with other people was healing, not hurtful.
I never blame my obesity on anything other than my own choices, but I know there were circumstances from my life that I allowed to affect my food choices. For some reason, the holidays bring back a lot of those memories, and I had to make a conscious effort to feel the memory, but not allow the memory to push me into eating out of control. It took some conscious efforts of telling myself, “No, I do not NEED chocolate chips right now. What I need is some time with John.” Each time I made a good choice and didn’t fall apart was a victory.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, for some people, the holidays are so full of joy and wonderful memories of being surrounded by family and friends that they overeat from happiness! A dear lady in my recent weight loss class talked about this. She shared how her memories of the holidays were so positive that she ate too much because of the good feelings surrounding food and family. Several other ladies in my class seconded her observation, and I saw where those kinds of positive memories would be as important to prepare for as sad emotions.
We talk a lot in weight loss land about preparation of meals, scheduling our exercise, and planning ahead for social situations. I think it’s just as important to mentally prepare yourself for the emotions that may surface during the holiday season. After all, many of us who have fought the battle with weight have some emotional attachments to food that could be improved upon. How well prepared are you emotionally for the holiday season? Or do you not feel that this is a valid point? Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Diane