Return to Life

It’s interesting how Christmas and other major holidays thrown our lives out of whack. Regardless of how you celebrate the holidays, it seemss hard to stay focused on our life’s goals. I know it can be for me.

John, the kids and I had a great Christmas. I completely unplugged until this evening, and although I enjoyed the break I did have some curiosity about what everyone else was doing.

Our Christmas was just the nine of us, and the kids had a great time opening their presents. I got some clothes (that I picked out) some handmade jewelry, and some kitchen accessories. It was all fabulous.

As nice as the holiday celebration was, I was almost relieved to get up this morning and not have to think about wrapping, cooking special foods, and whether or not I had managed to mail all my Christmas cards. It was nice to get up and walk, hit some early bird specials with John, come home, and get the house straightened up.

Do you ever wish that the holidays weren’t so much about the food? Even after all these years of maintenance I still find myself thinking about the Christmas meals, the desserts, the cookie exchanges, etc. Wouldn’t it be easier if it were just about the giving of gifts and the time spent with family and friends? In my mind it would be easier, but then it probably wouldn’t feel like Christmas. The food just comes with it, but after the food, life returns.

I used to feel that if holidays didn’t happen my weight loss journey would be easier. After all, I almost always put off trying to begin yet another diet because of upcoming holiday, rather it was Valentine’s Day or Memorial Day! Holidays got in the way of my weight loss. But as I finally lost the 150 pounds I realized I was wrong. Holidays didn’t get in the way of my weight loss, because holidays were real life. They continually happen year after year after year. And I needed to learn to deal with them as part of real life.

Real life isn’t always August (with no holiday), instead real life includes all the many celebrations of life. As I lost my weight I carefully thought about each holiday and planned accordingly. I didn’t always lose a pound or two over the holiday, but I generally didn’t gain. I tried to keep doing what I had been doing, but allowed myself the special indulgence. That’s real life.

Now, 12 years later, although holidays may be easier without the food, real life includes the food. And I love it! Weight loss journeys are practice for real life. Wherever you are in your journey, don’t get discouraged over the past holiday, or upcoming holidays. Instead just think of it as a practice session for real life maintenance. Because after all, that’s what all this hard work is all about! Real life.  Are you looking forward to the rest of your “real life?”  Diane

31 thoughts on “Return to Life

  1. Amy says:

    Yes, real life does include the food. And real life can be messy so the food situation will never be as perfectly clear cut as we wish it to be. I guess for me real life means having a sane approach to food without going to extremes in either direction.

  2. Monica says:

    Diane, I just wanted to say that I loved that video post. You had such a great message and timely for me. The post today really spoke to me. Weight loss is just part of real life. If you separate it out then you can be making a big mistake long-term.

  3. Sara N. says:

    Yes, you are 100% right. It is vital to look at our weight as part of where we are and not just who we are at the moment. I’m so glad you had a great holiday. I can’t wait to see all you do in the next year.

  4. Anonymous Fat Girl says:

    I too have thought if the holidays didn’t center around all of these yummy goodies that are all so bad for us that I would do better. But in a way it’s okay because I know I have to learn to control what I eat no matter the situation. I’m still a little surprised I started this journey in November before the big holiday season, and I made it through okay. I guess it comes down to make a decision and sticking with it. Good choices.
    .-= Anonymous Fat Girl´s last blog ..Rewarding myself for weight loss (hint: it doesn’t involve food) =-.

  5. Alissa says:

    I agree with you. It just won’t work if you are trying to eliminate certain foods from your diet, especially at Christmas time. Allowing yourself those special treats, in moderation, makes it much easier for the long run!
    .-= Alissa´s last blog ..Christmas Day Review =-.

  6. suzanne says:

    You’re right, holidays are part of life and food is also part of life. We just need to know how to deal with them and practice definitely helps! I also keep reminding myself that i’m not perfect nor is anyone else i know 🙂
    .-= suzanne´s last blog ..I miss my yoga!! =-.

  7. Marcelle says:

    Yes, Yes and Yes….you are so right once again from your own personal experience – and as always I learn from every word you put out here on your blog.
    The student is happy to tell the teacher…I maintained well this Christmas season.
    .-= Marcelle´s last blog ..Christmas Day =-.

  8. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    Yes, real life does include food. And food should really be something we enjoy and aren’t afraid of.

    I made a lot less food this year (for the first time). We had our traditional salmon dinner on Christmas Eve but with a lot less “extra stuff.” I simply made some brown rice, a few vegetable dishes, and a salad to go with the salmon. In the past I would have thought I “had” to have several (high calorie) appetizers and several desserts. But it really wasn’t necessary, and we all had a very nice meal. I also didn’t make a traditional meal on Christmas Day, and we all still really enjoyed the food.

    Now, a friend of mine gave us a box of chocolates, and I had a few pieces. And that’s real life too! 😉

  9. Gina Fit by 41, Maybe 42 says:

    “Weight loss journeys are practice for real life…just think of it as a practice session for real life maintenance.”

    Practice…what a beautiful word. who gets anything right the first time or second or third, etc? IT TAKES PRACTICE!

    (Can you sense the ah-ha moment I’m having here?)

    Thank you, Diane.
    .-= Gina Fit by 41, Maybe 42´s last blog ..December Report =-.

  10. Lori (Finding Radiance) says:

    Yes, we can’t live in a cave and avoid life during the holidays because we are on a diet. Doesn’t work that way. Or maybe it will for 1 or 2 holidays, but then at some point you need to come to terms with the food that is around.

    I don’t mind the fact that some holidays are food-centric anymore like I used to. I still need more practice at maintaining some semblance of control. I have more success at some times than others…..
    .-= Lori (Finding Radiance)´s last blog ..Back to normal =-.

  11. Marisa (Loser For Life) says:

    I’ve often wished that the holidays could be more than just about the food. I’ve tried convincing my family of that, but they weren’t buying it! For our family, food is everything. It is love, it is togetherness, it is family, it is holidays. It will never change. I finally realize that I am the one that needs to change my attitude about it. Food can still represent all of those traditions of my family, but it doesn’t have to mean that I can’t enjoy myself for what it is and still practice some self-control.

    I with you on waking up to a “normal” day!
    So glad you had a wonderful holiday with your beautiful family!
    .-= Marisa (Loser For Life)´s last blog ..Food And Family =-.

  12. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Diane, this is the life lessons we must learn with our weight loss journey & maintenance.. as you said. You know, there are going to be holidays & celebrations all thru the year.. bdays, anniversaries, parties and more & there will be food no matter what… so we just have to learn to get thru them & either enjoy, not feel guilty & get back to normal right away OR plan to eat certain things, enjoy, not feel guilty & get on with it.

    Life lessons.. and holidays are fun with family & friends. It takes time to learn how to get thru them but we do!

    Glad you had a great one Diane & loved the video!

  13. brenda says:

    I have to admit, I got the blues this year by the middle of Christmas day. And I think I have finally fiqured out why. There is so much anticipation the 5 weeks before Christmas day, the shopping, the school concerts and parades, the parties, the baking and the magic. Then by 3pm Christmas day it is over. Just like that.
    We only have the 4 of us and we go to the movies during the afternoon into the evening. This year we were waiting for the turkey breast to finish cooking so we could eat and be out the door. It’s not so much about the dinner for us. It’s about Church services the night before. And giving and celebrating Christ’s birthday. So, for next year, we have all desided to have grilled steaks and baked potatoes for dinner. Hubby is in charge of the steaks, daughter is in charge of setting table and we all do the few dishes afterwards. I’m looking forward to not having to be stuck in the kitchen all morning slaving over a HUGE meal that none of us really want.
    It’s not about the food. You are absolutly right. It’s about family and giving thanks.
    .-= brenda´s last blog ..Beating the holidays =-.

  14. Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit says:

    I had unrealistic expectations for the holiday season. I felt like I could manage the tempting food and drink, but it was the hectic schedule that shot me down. There was always an extra errand to run and to much to do in too little time. I guess that’ll never change so it’s best to just learn to manage it the best we can.

    Glad you had a nice holiday, Diane.
    .-= Jack Sh*t, Gettin’ Fit´s last blog ..A Little More of Me to Love =-.

  15. Shelley B says:

    Love your sentence – “real life isn’t always August” – so true and that’s the issue…there will always be food-centered events that we have to face. Sometimes I feel like a little kid again, learning how to do something (in this case, eat like a normal person).

    Glad your Christmas was fun!
    .-= Shelley B´s last blog ..Christmas Recap =-.

  16. Sunny says:

    I realized towards the end of week ONE on this journey that were would always be holidays/events that I could (continue) to use as scapegoats for my weight, or I could readjust my thinking. I posted about it then, and re-posted that last week because it’s been so critical to my success. There will always be holidays, special events, in our lives that we can continue to step away from healthy eating and living and use an excuse to splurge, or we can readjust. It is real life. But so is being healthy. The two, for some of us, can’t as easily co-exist as we would like them to in our perfect little Utopia world we set up in our minds and hearts. Some people are blessed with hummingbird metabolisms, and some of us have to exercise a total of an hour or more a day to even get close to that (hamster metabolisms, perhaps? LOL) Hummingbirds can eat dessert first, every day. Hamsters get fluffy if they do that. We hamsters have to exercise to be able to enjoy even a hint of sweets. And if we are adult hamsters, we have to just accept that, and stop trying to be hummingbirds. That’s the best metaphor I can put to it, as I see it. 🙂
    .-= Sunny´s last blog ..Twas the Day After Christmas… =-.

  17. Tony says:

    The challenge of losing weight and keeping it off is being able to handle all the situations that life throws at you. What do you do during the holidays? What do you do when you go out to eat? What do you do when there is an office party? etc. As long as we can look at the big picture a few days off isn’t gonna hurt (I wish I could listen to my own advice lol).
    .-= Tony´s last blog ..Ate Too Much. Feel Like Crap. =-.

  18. Shannon Fab Fattie says:

    Sometimes it almost seems as if the holidays are out to get us. At least for me it does. Personally I think it is because of the way I have always connected to food and holidays. Food is the center of celebration and get together’s in my life at all times good & bad.
    I know I need to train myself to change the way I put 2 and 2 together.
    YES I am glad it is over and the regular routine can get back into action!
    SO happy you had a wonderful Christmas. Have a Happy New Year as well!

  19. Fran says:

    Allthough I love your post I don’t have to go back to real life as the holidays always have been real life to me.

    In the past years I did eat too much on the Holidays but I did that also on other days. There was no big difference.
    This year I did eat a bit too much on both Christmas days but not as much as I used too so that’s progress. I could have done better but I picked up my usual things today so I look back at Christmas with no regrets.

    Food is a part of our life, we can’t live without it. It’s all about the choices we make what to eat, day in day out. Holidays or not.

    By the way: I’m glad life’s getting back to normal too.
    .-= Fran´s last blog ..A day in my life: Sunday December 27th 2009 =-.

  20. Susan says:

    Funny, I rely on holidays to maintain my sanity when it comes to food! Holidays are often the only time I splurge on my favourite foods – NOT the healthy versions 😉 If it weren’t for holidays, my tastebuds would be still be satsfied – but maybe missing out on some of the fun 😉
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Boxer Day =-.

  21. Deb Willbethin says:

    Hey, Diane! Glad you had a nice holiday. I’m just taking a peak in on twitter at halftime–Steelers winning so far. 🙂

    I got up this morning and felt that relief–the hectic rush and hustle are over! Am looking forward to a Monday of house cleaning (Never thought I’d say that!)

    Christmas was good, but I must have a better plan for next year. I made some improvements this year, but not enough. It was good to hear that others are also deciding that as wonderful as Christmas is, there must be a more reasonable way to celebrate it. One that includes great food, presents, and family–but w/outthe ‘whatever’ that makes us glad its over! I have a year to figure out how to eliminate that “whatever.” 😀

    Happy New Year!

    .-= Deb Willbethin´s last blog ..Christmas Photos =-.

  22. Leah says:

    I do enjoy real life and I greatly appreciate your positive outlook on this topic.

    Like you, as much as I love preparing for Christmas I’m always relieved to relax and not think about it afterwards. My twin’s birthday is the 31st, so our “partying” isn’t over until after that. True normal comes after New Years for us, but it always does come eventually.

    I’m glad you had a nice Christmas! 🙂
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..Weigh-In … Day After Christmas =-.

  23. Julia says:

    Great post again and of course so true.
    Most of our holidays revolve around food – even the ones where we fast – we fast and then feast – yes crazy.
    I tried to make it not about the food as much when I had family over for Hanukkah and cooked more healthy.

    It is tough but very doable.
    .-= Julia´s last blog ..A satisfying Saturday =-.

  24. Taryl says:

    An issue with this comment form deleted what I said – but long comment short, I still stuggle eith accepting what happened over the past few days, and feeling like a failure (the extended vacation compounded my regain) and though I am still committed to losing this weight (and doing well today) I want to fall off the wagon badly and NOT hate myself for it. I’m doing so much better with self acceptance, but I am not there yet.

  25. kilax says:

    I used to feel that way too – I wished the holidays weren’t about the food! But then I just realized I had to deal with it. I do try to minimize it a bit though – cook a little less 😉
    .-= kilax´s last blog ..Training Week 10 =-.

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