Saturday, December 17, 2011

Prepping for the Holidays Redux

Our dog and his friends
Last year I published the article below. In re-reading it desperately in search of a blog I could repost to have myself some time this week,  I found it contained a great deal worth repeating. Since so many followers of Keeping the Pounds Off joined the blog after Christmas last year and since many people do not go back and read the past contents of every blog they join, I have tweaked the article to update it a bit for 2011. Any changes from last year appear in red or green, in my effort to add some additional, attention grabbing text, in an effort to keep you reading the whole page in keeping with the spirit of the season. Oh, and I added some new photos, instead of using the one that was with the article last year. 

It is December 20th  (Okay, in the original post the date was the 20th but now I realize it is enough to say that it is December. That word alone, without a numerical date, is enough to make experienced over-achievers nod with sage appreciation for what it conjures up in our minds). 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. I should point out that while a  professional diagnostician never designated me insane there is overwhelming evidence for me to claim that label. 

When I was under the influence of excess food (before I was keeping the pounds off I was always under the influence. If I was not eating I most assuredly was thinking about the next fix) I would stay up till all hours to make sure everything was done until time literally ran out of time at 3:00 am on Christmas morning, when the last gifts would get wrapped, and a chocolate IV drip was not enough to keep me awake. I would frantically move from task to task, leaving havoc and crumbs in my trail in a 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? 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.

Attending a party? In addition to the cheese platter, mini quiches and the hot dishes at the buffet that I scarfed down like a bottomless Mrs Claus,  that I  would carefully pick and choose from in order to save room for dessert the hostess will be insisting that I take home, try at least some of the eighteen different desserts.  I was always too hungry, angry, tired, frustrated, resentful or disillusioned to resist.

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 inflammed my joints and muscles. I didn't make the connection between eating too much cheese and the increased 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 obsessed bitch different. I thought the food helped. The food certainly helped me deny the pain but the pain was still there, just under the layers of fat. 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. UPDATE 2011: I had three hot flashes this year, each one after a day when I had wheat. 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 or need prescriptions for pain meds anymore. 

I gave up milk chocolate when I released milk fat from my food plan. That has not been easy. Some days I hate that I cannot have it. BUT PLEASE NOTE: I have never hated it an hour or a day later.  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 that screw with my mind and body. 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.  I've noticed there are a lot of other people who do that same thing. 

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 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.'  (I didn't change a word of this paragraph - the plan worked last year and I expect it will work again this year). 

It is not always easy to do what keeps me healthy and sane. I am not perfect. Sometimes I have to step away from the framework to see where I am in the big picture. I cannot be of the mindset that thinks one day of celebrating, with food, does not matter 'in the big picture'. My experience has been otherwise. If I ignore my honest experiences I am doomed to repeat them over and over again. So, I have to take the harder road. Today, I trudge it willingly.  In addition to giving me a better life spiritually and emotionally, it is keeping the pounds off my previously sugar-plump ass. 

What steps are you taking today to stay physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy this holiday season? How will you emerge on the other side?



downsizers said...

Thank you for the reminder that we truly can change and live to tell about it :-) It helps to keep things in perspective and look realistically at what is really important. It helps me to be proactive when I read about others who do it and are the better for it. It is of vital importance to our long-term success to be the one in charge around the food. Merry Christmas.

Jane Cartelli said...

Downsizer - that's right, we do not have to be in charge of the food, just ourselves around the food. When I gave up trying to control or direct what others did and concentrated on what I needed to do for my body, everything else fell into place.

Caron said...

Bravo! As for me, I'm continuing to do what I do everyday in order to maintain the weight loss and be more healthy. Merry Christmas.