Headed to all those holiday parties… and NOT dieting to fit in your dress.Nov 23, 2022
I hope your holiday season is off to a good start! I am in full-on vacation mode… we're headed to the beach for 5 days today! We will be celebrating Thanksgiving with Chad's family in the sand and sun and I'm beyond excited.
In the past in the back of my mind, the weight loss noise of "you need to be on a diet BEFORE Thanksgiving so you have room to gain through the holidays" was raging loud and clear every year at this time of year for me. I spent WAY too many years trying to control my body before vacations or any special event. I’d see an upcoming event on my calendar (especially the ones where there would be a lot of people there) and instantly start to panic as I counted backward to figure out how much time I had to get my body "ready"... and that whole yoyo restricts binge situation... it never went well for me.
I would waste my money on some new influencer/trainer/hotspot cleanse/diet program and spend 2 + hours in the gym every day. Those weeks that led up to the holidays were filled with intense anxiety, and thinking SOLELY about how much weight I needed to lose, or what I should eat or shouldn’t eat. I would be completely NOT present in my life for weeks and months (all that time probably added up to years) because all I had room for in my brain was "how many calories is in this?" "how long do I need to work out to burn that off?" "if I just ate X would I lose Y in a faster amount of time?
I was chronically overwhelmed. Trying to CONTROL, actually made me feel more OUT OF CONTROL. And then Thanksgiving would come and I would end up eating everything in sight. I remember one thanksgiving eating pie out of the trash (not a proud moment but # the truth). It was like if I could restrict enough going into the holiday then I gave myself permission to eat EVERYTHING on that day. And you know how I felt most of Thanksgiving in my 20s? Physically sick. Mentally exhausted. And emotionally filled with shame.
It took me years of this cycle to realize it wasn’t worth it. All the anxiety and all the obsessing weren't worth fitting into a smaller-sized dress. All the shame and guilt weren't worth it when I recognized I was never going to be perfect. Making myself physically sick certainly wasn't worth it.
So if you're going into Thanksgiving thinking "I'm going to restrict all day until it's time for the meal" or you've been restrictive dieting this month to try to get smaller for this ONE day... I have some journal prompts that might be helpful
- WHAT INTENTION DO YOU WANT TO SET FOR TODAY? HOW DO YOU WANT TO FEEL?
- When you know how you want to feel you can take more actions throughout the day to align with that feeling. So for me, I want to feel really calm today. How can I get there? Meditate. Move. Eat a grounding nourishing breakfast. Not look at social media. Etc etc etc.
- DO YOU HAVE A SCARCITY MINDSET AROUND FOOD?
- Do you feel like you can only have candied yams or pumpkin pie on this one day? If you give yourself permission to have those foods on any day of the year it can help you to feel SO MUCH calmer around those foods when the holiday comes up. Preventing the binges. The worst thing that we can do is restrict. If we enter the meal absolutely starving, we're not going to be calm or connected. So don't starve yourself.
- THINK ABOUT AN EVENT OR A HOLIDAY WHERE YOU HAD AN AMAZING TIME... WERE YOU THINKING ABOUT YOUR WEIGHT OR STEPPING ON THE SCALE?
- For me, when I explored this at the height of my disordered eating I had to go all the way back to HIGH SCHOOL to find an experience where I was truly living in the moment and having SO MUCH FUN, giving ZERO F's about how my body looked. It made it clear that fun for me was so much more about the people I was with and the conversations I was having, the enjoyment and dancing and relaxing than it was about the body I was in. So take some time to notice what is fun for you.
- REMEMBER THAT ITS ONLY ONE DAY
- Whether it's a holiday or a wedding or a beach vacation... it's ONE DAY. When you look at them as days, you can really take a lot of the pressure off of them. If you can make it a priority to check in with yourself every morning and say "what do I need today?", recognizing that those needs are going to constantly be changing, that the same diet or the same exercise every single day will never work because YOU are not the same every single day, it really gives you the opportunity to connect with yourself more deeply and take so much pressure off. It allows you to be more compassionate with yourself. It allows you to eat the foods that sound good, to move the way you want to move, to rest, to dance, or to have a piece of pumpkin pie. Take a moment and ask yourself "what do I need more of?" and see what comes up for you. How can you take care of yourself even when the external pressure of weight loss is surrounding you through the holidays?
- IS WEIGHING YOURSELF A HELPFUL PRACTICE?
- Make pros and cons list of how you feel after you weigh yourself. I'm guessing the cons list is going to be longer than the pros. You are so much MORE than a number. Take some time to recognize all of the things that make you YOU. That makes you valuable and unique. Your feelings, values, skills, and energy. This practice really helped me to see how obsessing about my body was actually making me do things that were harmful. Take an inventory of your habits and how they're impacting all of you.
Sending you so much love this Thanksgiving, I'm forever grateful for you!