Monday, December 20, 2010

Balance, Sanity and Holiday Preparations


It is December 20th and if you are like me, much is yet to do before Christmas. I have office work, field work, shopping, exercise, cleaning, cooking, wrapping, socializing, meal planning, service work and whatever else still is on the to-do list. It would be impossible for a sane person to get everything completely and perfectly done. Only an insane person would think otherwise. For many years I was insane. 

When I was under the influence of excess food I would stay up till all hours to make sure everything was done until time literally ran out at 3:00 am on Christmas morning when the last gifts would get wrapped. I would frantically move from task to task, leaving havoc and crumbs in my trail in an frantic and frustrating quest to get everything done. Shopping late? No problem, order pizza for dinner - again. Need to get from one event to another and did not take time to pack lunch. No problem: there are 20 drive-thru fast food joints between point A and point B. Going to dinner with friends? Attending a party? In addition to the cheese platter, mini quiches and the hot dishes at the buffet the hostess will be insisting that I try at least some of the eighteen different desserts and I will be too hungry, angry, tired, frustrated, resentful or disillusioned to resist. Cleaning the house? There was always a candy dish I could walk past as I moved from one chore to the other. I made sure to pass by the dish a few extra times. Something chocolate would always be melting in my mouth as I cleaned, many little foil wrappings in my pockets.

When I was using food to keep me going I never noticed how it slowed me down. Back then I wasn't aware that the flour in the pizza crust affected my joints and muscles. I didn't make the connection between cheese and the desire for more and more butter and ice cream. I didn't accept that the first bite of a food I craved would cause me to act like an insane, control freak-food obsessive bitch. I thought the food helped. The food certainly helped me deny the pain and the insanity kept me from doing anything else. 

Once I put down the food leading me into my addiction I found a level of health and peace I did not know was still possible in my life. I am not yet menopausal but I was having hot flashes until I released white flour from my food plan. I no longer have hot flashes. My body had inflammation and I took two prescription pain killers on a regular basis but when I gave up all sugars the inflammation disappeared and so has the pain. I do not have prescriptions for pain meds anymore. 

I gave up chocolate when I released milk fat from my food plan. Fast food restaurants are not an option for me today. Pizza has not been on my food plan for two years but I admit that when time is short I miss being able to just order pizza. For two years I have not ordered the pizza and there as never been a morning where I regretted the decision not to have pizza the night before.

As for socializing . . . when I eat out I talk with the hostess or server and sometimes the chef to ensure that the food does not contain the ingredients I do not eat today. The food I bring to a party is food I can eat so I am assured of a meal even if nothing else there fits my plan of eating. When it is time for dessert I admire the skills of the chefs in their presentations and then remove myself from the dessert display without taking a plate.  

Today I have a written list of things I want to get done in time for Christmas. I will do what I can and let go of the rest. The wrapped presents under the tree might not look like works of art but they are wrapped with love. I may have to do some work over Christmas weekend but that is healthier than cramming it all into this busy week and then finding major errors later on. I have combined some socializing with my support network and that is helping to keep me sane and focused on what is important to my recovery. I will ask for help and not do it all and resent those I love for failing to pre-anticipate my every need. I may come up a few gifts short but I will not be buying meaningless 'spare gifts just in case.'  

It is not always easy to do what keeps me healthy and sane. In fact, quite often it is the harder road to travel but today I trudge it willingly. In addition to giving me a better life spiritually and emotionally, it is keeping the pounds off!

What steps are you taking today to stay physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy this holiday season?

~Jane

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