Do I eat any better on Christmas Day now than I did when I was fat?
For probably the first three Christmases after my 90-pound weight loss in 2010, I was still obsessing over Weight Watchers points, and so any kind of big family gathering put me on edge, afraid I’d mess up.
The last two or three Christmases, I’ve let myself enjoy the holiday, knowing I would be more disciplined in the days before and after to make up for it.
Still, it bugs me to get too much out of control. This year that happened at some points on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Which led me to wonder: Have I learned anything about how to savor holiday feasting without letting things get too ugly?
Framing the day that way made me feel better. Yes, I ate WAY too much. But even when I’m overdoing it, things aren’t as horrific as they were before. Some examples:
*I started the day off with a gingerbread man and it was so good I immediately wanted another. I refrained. It wasn’t the end of my sugar consumption that day, but it felt better to reflect on the cuteness and tastiness of that single gingerbread man than to try to make the moment last forever by continuing to eat until I finished off his comrades.
*After allowing myself to nibble on whatever looked good throughout the morning – primarily fresh fruit and breakfast casserole, but yes, there was a buckeye, a molasses cookie and a Christmas cookie in there as well – I meditated on creating some interior “white space” in which I focused on feeling calm, complete and grateful. Not eating anything during this period of a few hours helped contribute to that feeling.
*The traditional Christmas feast at my parents’ house is a late afternoon breakfast. My Mom fries potatoes and my brothers fry dozens of eggs. There’s also ham, toast, frozen fruit and my homemade cinnamon rolls. I used to have a lot of trouble controlling myself at this meal. But I’ve eaten it enough times over the years to be satisfied with two eggs, ham, toast, and fruit. I don’t eat fried potatoes anymore and I don’t need to sample my own cinnamon rolls every time I make them. They’re hardly a delicacy since I can make them anytime I want.
*I was disappointed in myself for plunging into the spicy chicken dip later in the evening after we’d opened gifts, but only because I forgot to scout out some raw veggies to use for dipping. Once somebody set out a bunch of celery sticks, I was much happier to leave the chips alone.
*Even though I definitely overdid it at my parents’ house, I was pleased to realize afterward that I only had one sugary treat: Another gingerbread man. In my fat days, I would’ve picked something off the treat bar every time I walked past.
Now, all of the above being said, I’ve got A LOT to work on before next year.
For starters, I’d like to be a few pounds lighter so that I feel like I’m truly at my best and not just “better than I used to be.” Wouldn’t it be nice to focus on feeling great for Christmas rather than focusing on all the goodies I want to eat?
I don’t want to deprive myself. Food is not the enemy. But if I could learn to appreciate great food without plunging into gluttony, that would be an incredible gift to myself.