Why Can't Every Day Be Christmas? Because I'd weigh 9,000 pounds, that's why!
Thursday, January 12, 2012
So, it's January something, and Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's are over. No longer am I faced with the challenges of buttery rolls, cheesy casseroles, frosted cookies, chocolate flavored coffee drinks piled with mountains of whipped cream, deep-fried finger foods, and...AH! I better stop there because I'm making myself hungry!
Anyway, during my first weight loss journey, back in 02/03, I took off 95 pounds between March and September, and I was VERY stringent on myself during that holiday season because I didn't want to gain back an ounce of it. I distinctly recall mentally torturing myself for eating a cookie at my friend Bonnie's New Year's get-together that year - to the point where I didn't even enjoy watching the ball drop because I was feeling too guilty about those extra calories I'd devoured with that one little tree-shaped treat. I also remember turning down goodies at office Christmas parties (including chocolate fondue); eating a meager salad at the fancy restaurant where my boss took me for Christmas lunch; turning down my Grandma Conley's dressing at Thanksgiving even though it's been one of my favorite things in the world since I was a little girl; and giving or throwing away all the candy anyone gave me that Christmas because I simply couldn't have it in my house. That year, the holidays were tainted with remorse, guilt, and bitterness, all thanks to my stringent diet. So, this time, I decided to give myself a break.
Now, that is not to say I made a huge pig of myself (which is easy to do, mind you, when I visit my in-laws in St. Louis because my sister-in-law Amanda and my mother-in-law Vicky are wonderful cooks, not to mention that my sister Libby had a cookie party this year and made over 1,000 cookies, every variety of which I desperately wanted to try). I did try to make little cuts here and there and limit myself much more than I would have in the past, but I refused to taint my holiday with guilt, remorse, and bitterness because I know from experience that those feelings carry over to resentment of my dieting in general. I know because I "fell off the diet wagon" shortly after the holidays back in 2002/03, and if you took a look at my journals or crept into the scary crevices of my head, you'd see that it was due, in large part, to giving up because I resented the diet for stealing some of the tasty joys of the holidays. A lot of it had to do with stressful situations in my life, too, and stress and resentment are just the excuses I needed to give up entirely. I wasn't about to let that happen again this time.
So, I refused to weigh myself for most of November and December, as much as I was tempted to do so. I enjoyed the holidays, ate a cookie here and there, had a couple pieces of Mom-in-law's Gooey Butter Cake, went out to dinner at some of my favorite places, had a couple buffet dates with my hubby, baked some cookies of my own, drank some hot chocolate with my daughter, nibbled on cheese sticks and stuffed mushrooms and taquitos on New Year's, enjoyed a couple slices of pizza with my mom-and-dad-in-law, and even had a bowlful of something cheesy at my husband's family's holiday get-together. Then, as much as I was terrified to do so, I hopped back on the scales right after the holidays were over, expecting to have gained back at least half of the 65 pounds I'd lost since I started this journey again in June of 2011. The bad news? I did gain some weight back. The good news? Only 13 pounds of it, and I didn't have to give up my holidays or sit in the corner depriving myself and envying everyone's cookies!
The even better news? I have been "back on the wagon" for a week now, and I've been torturing myself for not staying at 1,000 calories like I wanted to to get back on track. I've been feeling a bit defeated and uncertain about if it will work again. So, I stepped cautiously on the scale this morning and asked my diet coach (my daughter) to "Just tell me the number. I can't bear to look at it." When she announced the number to me and we did the math, I realized I've lost 11 pounds in the last week! So, I am almost back to my pre-holiday weight, and from there, it can only get better!
What have I learned from this? A valuable lesson: While those of us who have a lot of weight to lose need to be dedicated and strict with ourselves, we musn't take all the joy out of our lives for the sake of improving them. If every day was Christmas, I'd have a really hard time walking away from all those cookies, but since it isn't, I will allow myself to enjoy it once a year...because happiness and relaxation and enjoyment are just as essential to health as counting calories is.