I’ve got a couple of good recipes coming your way next week, but rather you just throw caution to the wind over Thanksgiving and eat whatever you want to, or choose to transform some of your family favorites into lower calories choices, I wanted to encourage you in one area:
Mentally prepare yourself for the coming holiday season.
The truth is that having a recipe for mental preparation this time of year is critical in ensuring that you get through the holidays triumphantly. Now is no time to let your guard down!
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 sometimes feeling a bit down and on edge. (Not that I don’t feel that way occasionally at other times as well!) But during the holiday season, I expected myself to be happy, to be ready for any party, and to be constantly full of joy! But sometimes I wasn’t and it made me stressed.
Then, I’d turn to food for comfort.
Like many other people who struggle with obesity, emotional issues were a large part of the reason I weighed over 300 pounds. Learning how to handle some of the negative emotions that appeared during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays was an important part of my weight loss journey and eventual success.
I had to realize that I didn’t have to be “Happy, Happy, Happy” every second of the holiday, and that feeling some sadness over the past was not only okay, but was normal for me.
Nowadays, I never blame my obesity on anything other than my own choices, but I know there were past circumstances from my childhood that I allowed to affect my food choices once I became an adult.
For some reason, the holidays bring back a lot of those sad memories, and I had to make a conscious effort to acknowledge the memory or situation, but not allow those feelings to give me an excuse to eat in an out of control way.
It took a lot of effort to tell myself, “No, I do not NEED to eat five or six chocolate cookies or spoonful after spoonful of pie right now. What I need is some time with John or to take a walk.” Each time I made a good choice and didn’t end up hiding in the pantry eating cookies while other people were watching football or worked in a kitchen was a victory.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from what I occasionally experienced, some people find the holidays so joyful and have so many wonderful memories of celebrating while surrounded with people close to them, they overeat because they are happy!
A sweet woman in a weight loss class I taught shared how she had such positive memories from her childhood that she ate too much simply because of the good feelings surrounding the holidays. Several other people expressed the same feelings, and I could see where those types of positive memories were equally important to be aware of.
We talk a lot in the weight loss world about planning and preparation in terms of recipes, food and menus. I wanted to encourage you to take the time to mentally prepare yourself in the same way that you physically prepare for holidays and social situations.
How well prepared are you emotionally for the upcoming season? Do you have a “recipe” for mental preparation that works, or is this not an issue for you? Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Diane