As the sugar withdrawals kicked in I couldn’t help but feel that this is so wrong. Why do I feel the need to conquer the sweets by consuming them? The bag of shortbread that a well meaning friend had dropped off haunted me. I woke up thinking about it. Those innocent looking cookies had some serious power over me. In my mind if I ate all the cookies they would no longer have power over me. They would be gone and I could stop thinking about them. Or not! Definitely not the case. I had sugar on the brain. So I asked myself, “Is it really all or nothing?” There has to be a balance. Here we are in the middle of a magical time of year. Warmth, peace, love, and joy fill our hearts and homes. Except us stressed out mommas are waging a full on war with holiday treats! Not exactly a recipe for a happy holiday.
I asked myself what is this teaching my daughter? What am I teaching her? Am I setting her up for success? Am I teaching her respect for her body? Unfortunately, no - not at this particular moment. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. I have worked really hard on creating a healthy relationship with food for myself and for my family. I have battled both extremes of eating. I think it all boils down to the relationship you want to have with food. You can try to have all the willpower in the world. I just don’t think it exists. Trying to have willpower sets you up to fail. The more you tell yourself you can’t have something the more you want it. Wouldn’t if be grand if instead of waking up and telling yourself you can’t have the Christmas cookies sitting on the counter you woke up saying the mantra “Today I am going to focus on eating veggies and healthy whole grains.” Take away the negative and replace it something positive. You might just spend the day focusing on eating for health! The cookies are still there but you are not focusing on torturing yourself with them.
You can either eat to live or you can live to eat. I love food. But the truth is I love myself more. So I tell myself three things: 1. Be Mindful - Be Present, 2. Eat to heal and for health, and 3. Quality not Quantity. One good cookie is much better than the whole bag. If I am going to invest in some extra calories they had better be worth it. I am going to take the time to enjoy it and appreciate the person that made it. We are human and we make mistakes. I wandered off the path for bit. I don’t feel bad or guilty about it. I have learned that beating myself up for it isn’t healthy. I just need to dig deep, find my courage and strength and find my way back to my healthy balance. So here is what I did:
1. I took a look at what we traditionally make for the holidays. I picked only a few and then set out to find healthier versions of them. I am going to bake a few days before Christmas - small batches to enjoy over a few special days.
2. I am making time for me to run and do yoga. I even took my two left feet to a Zumba class! Just time for me to de-stress and feel good!
3. I bought a big box of salad greens. Our family goal is to have a big salad every night with lots of veggies like grated beets and carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, spinach, and apple. To make it fast and easy I will prepare most of the veggies ahead and I also make a big jar of salad dressing. All I have to do is throw it together.
4. I set realistic goals. Losing weight over the holidays is just nuts, but maintaining my weight is more reasonable.
5. Green Monsters! Before a holiday gathering, where I know there will be lots of unhealthy food, I have a smoothie full of goodness; then I am in control of my hunger and not the other way around.
6. I am continuing to plan our meals. Breakfasts even. I love to start my day with oatmeal - a few dried cranberries, some sliced almonds, and a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut make it festive.
7.I am focusing on making some holiday traditions with my daughter that are not food centered. An activity like making Play dough snowmen makes a for a great afternoon when there is no snow outside!
8. I am taking the time to enjoy a treat now and then. Pour myself a cup of tea and enjoy it with a small sweet and maybe and Christmas orange.
I think as women and as moms we get more strength than we realize from knowing we are not alone. I am thankful to have the opportunity to share and to be connected to so many amazing women. I wish you kindness and love towards yourselves this holiday season.