I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”
― Cheryl Strayed,
I have to throw this out there: I still watch every itty bitty thing I eat. Like, very annoyingly watch what I eat. A friend may be out with me and think I’m so chill about the basket of popcorn I just mowed down with them, but inside my brain I’m telling myself that something will be subtracted later from one of my meals. It’s not being obsessive, it’s being mindful, and it keeps me from obsessively counting calories or fat grams or carbs or whatever and losing my mind. It also keeps me guilt free.
It’s the holiday season, and Christmas is like… NOW, and people are going to go to parties and family gatherings and they’re going to do one of two things: be so strict on what they’re putting in their mouth that they deprive themselves of whatever they want, or they are going to just bite the bullet and eat what they want. And in my opinion, as long as you stay mindful, you should choose the latter. You don’t have to eat until you’re sick or as Louis CK would put it, until you hate yourself. You just find the happy medium. Ask yourself how full you are and make the conscious decision of whether or not you need another plop of potatoes or another cookie or another slice of delicious homemade apple pie. Because DAMN IT! you only get that apple pie once a year and you’ll be damned if that’s going to be taken away from you.
I bring this up because I usually try to watch what I eat the few days before a holiday meal. But the past couple of days has not went that way. I’ve snacked more than I usually do. And while in small portions, it was enough for me to send an alert to be a little more aware. When I don’t do my usual clean eating, I feel it. And it’s not great. I feel bloated, and lethargic, and lack energy. I was feeling this yesterday. So the guilt from my brain started to seep in. But I wasn’t going to allow it. The snacking was done, and I couldn’t take it back, and it really wasn’t bad snacking, it was just a little more salt than I was used to. The best thing I did to kill that guilt that was trying to rise from deep within was go to gym. I did my usual weight lifting routine for a Wednesday, and I did two miles on the treadmill. And you know what, while watching myself do a wide grip lateral pull, I looked straight into the mirror and saw my toned arms being a couple of bosses, I saw the outline of my biceps that have grown. I was able to complete with amazing form and no problem 45 jack knife push ups on the stability ball. I needed less weight assistance with my assisted pull ups. I ran at a faster pace than usual for a longer period time than before.
Okay, I’m not bragging, I’m just trying to point out these proud moments because when I was finished with the 50 minutes I did at the gym, I forgot about all that guilt. I felt confident and strong. And. freaking. unstoppable.
For those of you who are already planning out what exactly you’re going to eat and what table to avoid because you’re afraid you’ll have a moment of weakness and give in….JUST STOP IT NOW. Because right now you’re focusing about something the holidays are NOT about. Guilt. And fear. It’s about spending time with those you love or spending time to appreciate yourself. Yes, of course, be slightly mindful, but only if it is on the basis of whether or not eating that food is going to make you sick from eating too much. Don’t be afraid to just let it be for a few days. Whatever weight you might gain from it, will easily be able to disappear when you get back on track. And if you do eat too much, just remind yourself that you can still be active during those times. Go for a walk. Do a plank. Do some push ups. Play an active game with a family member. Go for a run. It will make you feel better, I promise.
Because fear should not rule your life. Especially when it comes to your mother in-law’s apple pie.
Until next week, friends. Eat. Drink. Laugh. Love. Be Merry.