Changing your life is a scary proposition. You become so used to the rut you’re currently in that even the thought of change can be overwhelming. One way to deal with this fear is to delay starting to make improvements in our lives. We know what we need to do to live the kind of life we desire. But, to placate ourselves we say we’ll start making serious efforts after an arbitrary amount of time or milestone. Around this time of year the excuse is usually “I’ll start after the holidays.”
Every single January 1st from the ages of 10-20, I had a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. In the months leading up to the New Year, I’d tell myself to just get through the holidays and January would bring a fresh start. I was giving myself a license to binge. I was reassuring myself that change was just around the corner. The damage done in the months preceding the first of year was detrimental. Truthfully, I just wasn’t ready to change. I’d be falling back into destructive habits by Martin Luther King Day, only arriving at a higher weight than when I began.
If you know you want to make a change in your life, whether it’s related to weight, a bad habit, or an unhealthy relationship, it’s best to not spend the next month binge eating every food you plan to give up in the New Year. Doing that will only make January’s start all the more ominous and overwhelming.
Now, I’m not mandating that you start your healthy living plan immediately, though, by all means–go ahead and rock it if you feel up to it! I’m simply encouraging all of us to focus on maintaining our weights through the holidays. It’s the pragmatist’s plan for a season defined by eating merrily. And it can work if you let it.
I like to be realistic when it comes to the Christmas buffet my family prepares, but I also like to approach that spread with the mindfulness that I have during the rest of the year. I like to leave my grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve with some shred of dignity. So I keep in mind that the zeal I bring with me to the table this season shouldn’t be a world different than the one I bring in springtime and summer and fall. Always, I try to pace myself. Always, I try to savor. Always, I try to pause before portion number two. And it’s never perfect; it’s simply worthwhile. It supports one of my favorite personal mantras, “Eat in a way that you’re proud of.” It empowers me.
How do you handle eating during the holiday season?