Holidays 2016: How do you want to feel?

How do you want to feel this holiday? Did you know you have a choice? Here is an excerpt from my journal from 2008.  I was in the thick of diet mentality and hated myself. I have also included an excerpt from 2015 showing how things are different and how I feel now. Nothing has changed materially in my life circumstances but everything has changed internally and it makes all the difference.  At the end of this post, I will tell you the top 3 things I did to change my perspective and change my life. Read on and tell me, which way do you want to feel? Friday Nov. 28, 2008war-227167_1280So I am constantly trying to figure out my relationship with food. We just had Thanksgiving.  I knew it would be a food fest and I would overeat and I am ok with that.  I am ok with having one day where you overdo it.  The rest of my family also over does it on Thanksgiving.  Lots of people over do it and they don’t have issues with food.  The fact that I have issues with food makes overdoing it so much worse.  Even before the holiday starts, I overeat - mostly because I am telling myself I can’t eat.  And then on the days following the holiday, like today, I also overeat, throwing it all into the holiday weekend.  And the whole time I hate myself. 

 And I hate that I am still the fattest person in my family even though I am the one who works out the most and thinks about eating the most.  And I don’t really know what triggers the food anxiety or how to fix it.  It’s not that I don’t know what to eat.  It’s not that I don’t exercise. I feel bad about being the fattest at my family events and it really kills me when I work so hard at it. I am always bigger then I should be and it shows.  I see myself in the mirrors and think - why did I ever think I looked good?  And I feel worse this year because I’m not exercising like I should and I can feel the flab getting flabbier.  It’s one thing to weigh too much but it’s worse to weigh too much and be totally out of shape.  But I read magazines and try to figure out why things are hard for me and I can’t figure it out. I know I am jealous that no one else has my struggle.   I know I am jealous that everyone else can overeat but reasonably.  I don’t even eat what I am hungry for necessarily - I just open the flood gates and go for it and somehow end up so depressed about it that I can’t even get back on track and I feel less then motivated to do better. 

 I am not opposed to eating healthy.  That’s why I can’t figure out why, when I have all the tools, I am still failing. I know I should be happy that I lost some weight this year and maybe I can lose more next year, but at times like this, I am happy just not to gain back the weight that I lost this year which is already creeping back on.  I feel apathetic and not really interested in what is going on around me in my world. I guess I need to eat better and have a plan.  I’ll spend my time tonight and tomorrow planning my food and maybe I can make it through to Christmas without gaining and even looking a little better. I’m appalled that I am the fat one, but when others do the right thing and eat less or go running, it makes me want to eat even more which makes no sense.  I fulfill the role of the fat person and fail at abstaining every time.

Can you feel the pain and the sadness and desperation in reading that? Oh that poor girl! I want to give her a big hug.  Now here is how I felt last year after Thanksgiving.

Friday - the day after Thanksgiving 2015.  I had a wonderful holiday.  I really enjoyed the food for the first time ever.  I wasn’t hungry for the appetizers so I didn’t eat any and when the meal came I thoroughly enjoyed it.  And I went back for some seconds even though I was full.  I didn’t really want pie either but it looked yummy so I had a some. I heard and listened to my stomach for the first time on a holiday.  It was definitely full but I had none of that desperate need for food where your stomach feels like a bottomless pit and you can eat a whole wheel of baked brie by yourself.  What a lovely day.  I tried hard to be open to conversation with friends and family too.

 I have also been taking some classes lately, topics that interest me and make me think.  They are moving along and I’m excited that over this holiday I have so many things to occupy my mind.  I have classes, I have meditations and spiritual holiday challenges that I signed up for online. I have plans to get even more involved and go deeper into my journey in the new year.  I am excited to set my intentions for the new year. I also still have all the podcasts and books I’ve accumulated to listen to and read. I am excited to decorate for Christmas, actually, and even do some shopping.  I also need to take care of myself and go easy on myself and stay healthy. I have some shopping to do and some cleaning and some work and today I’d like to exercise and move my body.  I have to make sure I make time for me too.  I will ask for help from the Universe this holiday in opening up my heart while at the same time maintaining my boundaries so I do not feel like I am giving in or giving something up. I’m going to meditate on it for a minute and then go move my body.  Overall I am feeling pretty good. I am also recognizing that there is so much potential out there for me and so many possibilities and directions my life can take and I’m excited to get started.  Bring on the New Year!

Wow – big difference huh? Notice that in this post I didn't even mention my weight or my size.  Yes, the change was many years in the making but that was mostly because the old me didn’t know what I was missing and she was firmly entrenched in the diet culture in which she was raised. I didn’t know there was another way.  I didn’t know that I could immerse myself sooner in a world that I loved so I kept trying to make the best of the world I knew.

What were the biggest things I did to cause the shifts illustrated above?

  • I stopped dieting and started recognizing how diet mentality was all around me and how it was making many people miserable, whether they were fat or thin. When people are talking about other people’s size, that is their own insecurity but it doesn’t have to be mine.
  • I became interested in something to fulfill my soul – I took classes and listened to meditations and podcasts and read books that were uplifting and inspiring and reminded me of the magic and mystery of the world in which we live. Being thinner started to seem like a very small and very shallow goal.
  • I became aware of the need for self care. Self care comes from being loving and compassionate towards yourself and taking the time to truly nourish yourself on all different levels. Dieting and punishing exercise that makes you feel guilty is not self care.

All of the things I did were 100% free and available to all. Books at the library, podcasts online, not dieting, talking nicely to yourself. The dieting industry is a 60 billion dollar enterprise. Wouldn’t they be bummed if everyone found out that you can actually get the happiness that diet culture promises all within yourself and all for free?  Share this and help me spread the word.