The urge was undeniably strong and overwhelming. It required a Herculean effort of restraint on my part to suppress it. It’s something most of us have experienced at one time or another. I’m talking about that urge to dive face first into the nearest pan, bowl, box or bag of ANYTHING gooey, chewy, and decidedly unhealthy to assuage the emotional turmoil roiling in my spirit.
Oh, wait … am I the only one who turns to sweets when emotionally compromised?
Last week was a particularly difficult one for me. I’ve been dealing with an impossible situation that shows no signs of resolution any time soon. My emotions have been pushed, pulled and stretched in a million different directions, plunging me into a minor funk. The sharp edge of depression was doing its best to claw its way back into my life like an unwanted holiday visitor.
It didn’t help that I had a family potluck to attend that required my baking skills. I love to bake and my entire family knows this. Baking can be very therapeutic, but it’s also not the greatest hobby for a girl with a not-so-secret food addiction who’s recently lost a considerable amount of weight. Because it was a family potluck though and expected of me, I baked. And I didn’t bake just anything, mind you. I made ooey, gooey, chewy chocolate frosted brownies. Throw in Halloween a couple of days later and I found myself on the business end of a near bingeing breakdown.
The problematic catalyst for the aforementioned emotional turmoil was the half pan of uneaten frosted brownies left over from the potluck. My husband was supposed to take the pan to work with him the next day, but Monday’s being what they are, chaos ensued and prevented him from getting out of the house with the brownies in tow. So, there they sat, calling to me; whispering my name … all … day … long. It’s quite torturous to bear the brunt of a brownie bite.
In “my old life,” BWL (before weight loss), I would have forked that pan of brownies to death. You know what I’m talking about. Every time you walk past that inviting pan of brownies (or cake or cobbler or whatever), you take the straight edge of a fork or a knife and you cut off “just a sliver” of brownie. You tell yourself you are performing a public service by making the lines of the brownies uniformed and even all the way around. But one thing leads to another, because then you notice that the other side is slightly crooked and you have to even that side out — and well, before you know it – you’ve forked an entire pan of brownies up real nice.
In my defense, I didn’t eat the entire half pan of brownies. More like the equivalent of one healthy-sized brownie. Each forked up piece of brownie sliver still slammed me with guilt and condemnation, reminding me that I am far from cured of my sugar addiction. I threatened my husband with bodily harm if he didn’t remove the remaining brownies the next day.
The day after the brownies left the premises was Halloween. Halloween candy doesn’t usually create too much of an issue for me, since I’ve learned the secret to successful holiday candy management. It’s really quite simple. DON’T BUY CANDY!
I volunteered at church Halloween night so I avoided the trick-or-treaters. The best part about this gig … no candy to buy; no candy to pass out; no leftover candy to tempt me. It’s a win-win situation. Where I tripped up though, was stopping at a friend’s house later that night. Wouldn’t you know it – she had a giant bowl of mini candy bars that were begging to be fondled and rifled through. I succumbed and picked out a few mini candy bars; all of my favs. (Let’s face it – there’s no point in wasting calories on candy that is just “meh.”) I had enough forethought to come home and immediately freeze the mini temptresses in a Ziplock bag. Practicing a modicum of restraint, I limited myself to one piece of candy every day – and even then, I made sure to log it and track it for WW points.
As we all know, we are coming into that time of year that signals the beginning of the end. What that means is, most weight loss classes experience a substantial dip in their membership. Gym attendance slacks off and many of us slack off as well with our healthy eating and exercise commitments.
Weight that takes months or years to lose can reattach itself at a record pace. In truth, we should treat the holiday season no differently than any other time of year. If anything, we need to be more tenacious than ever about eating balanced meals, tracking the foods we eat and staying active and diligent with our exercise routines. It can be so tempting to let ourselves go this time of year for the simple reason that it’s much easier to hide our bodies under layers of winter clothing. DON’T GIVE IN TO THIS TEMPTATION. Flannel is not your friend if you’re maintaining a weight loss. This is simply another trick of the enemy!
If we stumble and give in to those food temptations like I did this past week, it can be quickly corrected but only if we correct it immediately. Don’t wait till tomorrow, or after Thanksgiving … or Christmas … or Hanukkah … or New Year’s … or Valentine’s Day. Holiday excuses present us with convenient excuses that turn into a vicious cycle that concludes with us porking up for the winter- AGAIN.
Holidays present us with emotional challenges as well because few of us have those perfect, happy families. Difficult family members, pressure to overspend and overeat … all are a recipe for disaster for those of us already doing battle with anxiety, depression, food addictions and weight challenges. Stressful holidays are no time to stress eat!
My absolute favorite Scripture for this time of year is the NIV translation of Psalm 141:3: I know this verse is aimed more at watching over the words that come OUT of our mouth, but I like to pray and ask God to help me watch what’s going IN to my mouth.
One day at a time. One bite at a time. One meal at a time. One prayer at a time. Put your holiday worries in God’s hands and purpose in your heart to eat purposefully.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: