So, really, seriously, how are you? After Thanksgiving? Did you make it through unscathed? Did you gain a pound, lose a pound, stay the same? Were you and your family/friends in total sync, smiling, laughing it up, sending love vibes, complimenting each other throughout the day/the weekend? Like a Norman Rockwell painting?
As for me, I definitely ate more than I normally do, but as soon as the holiday was over, the overeating came to a halt. The big difference between “then” (a decade ago, before I traveled the road to Sveltesville with Our Lady of Weight Loss by my side) and “now” (50 pounds permanently removed), is that there is no beating up of self. Whatever I ate, no biggie. I joyfully chanted Our Lady of Weight Loss‘s mantra, “All Is Forgiven, Move On” and moved on. Life’s not long enough to get in a twist at myself for what I ate over a holiday weekend. You dig? (Who says that anymore?
More importantly, for me, anyway – was to stay present in the “miracle” (yup, I’m still in miracle mode. see last KICK), and appreciate the loving folk in my life. Those who I spent Thanksgiving weekend with, on one day or another. Speaking of spending time with family during the holidays, I’d love to share an email I received from “mother” R.D. from Oregon.
Dear OLofWL ~ I can’t stop eating and here’s why. For years — no decades — we (my husband and kids) celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas together. We ate turkey, we roasted marshmallows, we drank eggnog, we opened gifts, we played games. It was perfect. But one day, the kids grew up and got married and had kids of their own, and now they are here, there and everywhere. Sometimes with us, sometimes not. Bottom line, the traditions have been blown to bits, and I am left feeling empty, and that is why I can’t stop eating! I don’t know that you can help me. You can’t call my children and tell them that I’m miserable (can you?) and that they better come home now (can you?). Thanks for letting me vent! ~ R.D., Mother in Oregon
Dear R.D. ~ I feel your pain. Kids do grow up and move out, move on, create families of their own. It happens. And, while you didn’t say it in your email to me, I am willing to bet that you are happy that they did. You’re happy that they’re happy.
The best I can tell you is this. Something I learned from a friend, who learned it from her mother-in-law! When my friend was married with young children, she and her husband decided that it was just too much to visit both sets of parents in one day. She gingerly mentioned it to her mother-in-law who immediately took the high road. MIL said, “It’s the holiday season. As long as we get together during the season, carve out one special day for us, I’m happy.”
1. Feel Your Feelings. Feelings come and go. Feelings are a natural occurrence. Express them in a safe way, to the right person (as you did in your email to me, brava!).
2. Take the High Road. It’s the Holiday season — not a day or a week — a full 5 weeks. Carve out another day and declare it your special and holy-day. You have no idea how much everyone will appreciate your happy and generous perspective.
3. Let Go of the “I Can’t Stop” Mentality. I’m not saying that it’s easy to change the way you see things, feel about things or react to things, but it does not fall into the “I can’t” column. I can’t grow another foot taller. I can’t be naturally blonde. I can adjust my expectations, manage my emotions and I can steer clear of the buffet table.
4. Fill Up on Gratitude. At the risk of sounding corny, if you are eating because you are empty, then fill up on gratitude. Make a list of at least 10 things you have to be grateful about. Do it now! It’s an amazingly simple and effective antidote.
5. Move On. Going out on a limb here, noting that your kids have kids, I’m guessing that this isn’t the first year that you feel empty and upset around the holiday schedule. Let it go and move on!
Again, I’m not saying that what you are feeling is not valid. And I’m not saying that it’s easy to change the way we feel and think, but it is absolutely doable and it feels far better than the alternative. Let the emotional holiday baggage go and move into the holiday ‘lite.’
Wishing you a joyous holiday season! ~ OLofWL
Spread the word–NOT the icing!