Friday, December 24, 2010

Compromise and Healing

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it! And peace and joy to everyone :) We had a lovely Christmas Eve Day, including crafts, baking, music, an email from Santa, and a short trip to see some real live reindeer. It's 9:30 and I am waiting for everyone to go to bed so Santa can come, which is easier when the kids are little. Teenagers like to stay up really late!

I have been doing well and am much relieved in how my body and emotions feel. Been doing my PT exercises and staying on Medifast this week, with a bit of allowance for the holidays. I know it is a tough choice every time a special occasion rolls around, as to whether and how much to indulge, or if it's better to just power through it and stay on plan. I am generally, at least in theory, in the "power through it" camp. But I also listen to my feelings *carefully* (I am learning how to tell when it is the Inner Brat trying to get an excuse to eat crap, versus when it is some kind of psychological desire or "need" for something else. It's a tricky balance but one I think will be a lifetime to master).

Anyway, I decided to bake for Christmas but not to the usual three-week-long, dozen-kinds-of-cookies-and-four-kinds-of-fudge extent. I narrowed the cookies way down to the kids' favorites and one kind of fudge, and I waited until yesterday to start making them. I was on plan all day including lean roast beef & peppers sauteed together for dinner, and I had 2 cookies as well. No, the cookies were not on plan, but I think I hit a pretty good compromise. Today, I made the rest of the cookies. I ate on plan all day *knowing* I would allow myself a couple after dinner. I finally felt really in control and at peace with the "holiday food" dilemma... and while 2 cookies makes my joints *slightly* sore, it's not as bad as last week when I was eating sugar in higher quantities.

We usually have "funeral potatoes" as part of our Christmas Eve dinner, but this year I used shredded cauliflower instead of hash browns in this casserole, as well as using far less fat (much less butter, 2% low fat cheese, no buttered crumb topping) for a lower carb version. It was good! We also had ham and green beans for dinner. I skipped the sparkling cider and had water instead.

I admit sometimes I wonder if I am fooling myself when I "let" myself go off plan for one thing or another. I do have discipline... I have shown that when I am determined to stay on plan I can say no to anything, for months on end. I went several months in a row without a single off-plan *bite* this year. But part of me still wants healing, and part of the healing often seems to have to do with food. I don't totally understand it, but I get the distinct sense that if I say "no, never" to certain things, I get emotionally affected and end up binge eating. I could be wrong about this... sometimes I do think just NEVER having sugary sweets again is the answer. But then the inner child... not the brat, but the hurting child who had to sit and watch her classmates eat Christmas cookies year after year, never having so much as a taste... quietly asks for some kind of healing allowance and mothering with moderate "yeses" in order to feel nurtured and healed. I dunno. It feels that way to me, so I am going with it for now. I do think it's better to eat on plan all day and then have 2 "allowed" cookies in the evening than it is to be having an emotional breakdown because "I never get Christmas cookies/parties/presents" (that's the inner child from the past, speaking) and wind up in a colossal, emotional binge. But yeah, it's still pretty much trial and error to see what works.

It's an emotional time of year for me, with holidays, missing loved ones who are no longer with me, remembering the anniversary of a failed marriage and the date of my father's sudden death right after Christmas long ago. Combine that with shortened days and I always, *always* have the hardest time from late November through the end of December. Part of the key to losing this weight has been acknowledging past hurts and sadness, letting myself feel the feelings instead of stuffing them down with food, and allowing myself to feel the way I feel *without* wallowing in it or letting it swallow me up. Instead of saying to myself, "you *shouldn't* feel that way" and trying to rationalize WHY I should not be sad/angry/anxious, I accept that I do have feelings and they are valid. I do not, however, have to let those feelings drive my actions.

I do not have to let my childhood longing for holiday treats drive me to eat cookies.
I do not have to let my adult guilt and thoughts about perfection drive me to complete deprivation.
I can make my own choices, in spite of or in harmony with my own feelings.
My feelings are valid, and I will honor them the best way I know how, which does not necessarily involve eating nor does it necessarily involve deprivation.

I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the coming year will look like for me. I have a pretty good, solid vision of 2011 for myself, and I feel confident I can make it happen. I definitely see myself reaching a stable goal weight before summer, although I am still not sure what that weight will be (but I am guessing it will be in the range of 140-155 pounds). I hope to have my puppy sometime between now and spring, and that puppy is going to be a catalyst to new activity, including long walks and dog sports. Eventually, we might even roller blade together! (Well, no blades on the dog!) I have an exercise regimen in place with my physical therapy now and am adding in biking a little at a time. By summer I hope that daily exercise and outings are a habit and I will be able to formulate a simple diet based around fresh local produce, lean meats and healthy fats.

As we wind our way through this last week of 2010, let's try to be mindful of what we are choosing and why. Let's make some decisions about where we want to be next year, and take the time to plan out a course of action to get there. 2011 *can* be your year. It really can. It will be mine, just like this year was.


LN said...

Sounds like a pretty great state of mind and body to me. "healing allowance" - as in allow for healing. And in each case - we are unique individuals. Bravo!

Claire said...

Merry Christmas, Lyn!

I pray that the coming year brings you further health and happiness! I think you are well on your way.

Diandra said...

That sounds perfect. I am sure you'll be doing great, and I am looking forward to your dog stories - miss having a dog, but no time... *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas Lyn

Helen xx

Leslie said...

Merry Christmas Lyn. You sound peaceful and completely open to your journey and the healing it offers. Have a wonderful holiday.

Anonymous said...

wow.. i love your blog.. just started reading it now.. every word is soo true, and i definitely can relate. im looking forward to 2011 to start my journey of being better in terms of health, not necessaily skinny, but overall healthier. i think weightloss will follow.. hopefully, that is. *crossing fingers* lol. if you wanna peek in my blog to check my journey as well, it's at

Anne H said...

And here's to a Happy New Year!

spunkysuzi said...

That feeling of knowing what your body can and can't take is a great place to be!
Wishing your family a Merry Christmas from my family :)

Daisygirl said...

Merry Christmas, Lyn. I, too, grew up in a household that did not celebrate Christmas so I well remember those feelings of alienation and deprivation. I think that your allowances are a perfect way to enjoy the holidays.