When the big meals of the year come around, I always see it as an opportunity to assess my habits when it comes to food and to sort of “test” my progress…
I laid a beautiful plan last week, prepared in advance, and for the most part adhered to the plan for the actual meal. That I will eternally consider a success. I remember Thanksgivings Past when I would absolutely need a nap when I finished eating and even a Thanksgiving or two where I felt physically sick as I had overeaten to that point.
I also fondly remember Thanksgivings at my stepdad’s parents house, where we always had the most fun… and where I always seemed to spill the pickled beets on myself (ruining whatever cute outfit had been chosen for the holiday) and of course, on Rosie’s white tablecloths… oops!
You can’t think about Thanksgivings of today with reflecting back on those of the past… afterall, it’s a lot of these past festivities that have created our “belief” system as it relates to food and how we eat. That’s where we created these habits that we have today… and where I’ve practiced new habits over the past few years.
I plan to share more about my blogtastic blogiversary survey results this week… but one thing that you guys told me is that you’re ok with hearing about my struggles. Loud and clear it was shared that you WANT to hear more about that. I tend to be a bit Pollyanna when it comes to my outlook… I know this.
I try to think of how to turn things around… and put a plan in place to correct behavior, rather than talk about how bad it sucks to have food issues. That “NTTC Glad Game” is one you’ve subscribed to for a while… but I am going to do my best to share the challenges I have as well. Keep in mind, I’ll stay pretty constructive about it… but here goes nothing.
Visions of Mashed Potatoes and Green Bean Casserole Danced in My Head
Is it strange to be THIS excited about a meal? Because I most certainly was! I was so looking forward to an amazing meal… and tasting those flavors that I hadn’t had in so long.
Beth usually makes a Christmasgiving meal during the holidays, but that was probably the last time I saw a table set with turkey and all the fixings. And, I was like a kid on Christmas Eve… excited that I got to try a little bit of everything!
Thank Goodness We Were a Party of Eight
A lot of my abusive food behaviors (even when I was a child) happened when I was alone… Before I started Jenny a little over two years ago, my binging behaviors happened when I was alone and most often not at a table, and most certainly not where anyone could see me.
I consider it to be positive peer pressure that we were a party of eight… kind of my own little support group around a dinner table. While my mind was fixated on having one more of those amazing rolls with the REAL butter with black salt sprinkled on it… I knew that I should stop, and that everyone in the room knows my journey. Had it been just me and those rolls, I would have most certainly indulged more. That’s for sure.
Keep in mind, my friends don’t judge my eating… never have, but they unknowingly offered me the accountability I needed on Thanksgiving day!
When Deb suggested we take leftovers home, this is exactly why I left those friendly rolls and stuffing behind. I am sure they were as sad as I was not to have made the cut, as though they weren’t picked to be on my kickball team. But, I know my limits… and I’d rather break their little carbohydrate hearts, than indulge in a guilt-inducing foodfest when I got home.
Indulgent Food will Not Suffer in My Home
It is put out of its misery swiftly, by one of two means.
1) I throw it away. Often times, this may include destroying it or taking it immediately to the dumpster. Not that I would ever eat something out of the trash (no way!), but if it’s destroyed… it’s no longer on my mind in any way. It kills the thought of that meal.
2) I eat it. I eat every bite until it’s gone. I get sick of hearing that voice in my head that says things like “Hello… there are cake balls in the fridge. Maybe just ONE more.” I ate quite a few of the leftover birds, and then finally threw the rest in the trash on Saturday night.
Another factor that plays in here is that my brother used to eat ALL THE GOOD stuff before you could even say leftovers. So in my house, you had to move QUICK if you wanted something. Example: He would eat all the leftover stuffing in the night. Seriously. Smooches, JG, but we all used to try to get one more bite of the stuffing before you start snacking.
He Who Eats Most WINS
Since I mention my brother above, I think it’s also relevant to mention one last ghost…. I grew up in a family where you were PRAISED for eating a lot. Well, I wasn’t really, but the boys who could eat a ton… they were all my dad, my grandmother, everyone was talking about…
I think I craved that attention and tried to get in on this game. Oh boy, this is not a habit that a young girl needs to start, but I did. Can you even imagine how much I had to eat to keep up with the boys? Oh, I tried my darndest… but the reaction was never quite the same.
I definitely have this habit under control. I’m not looking to OUTEAT anyone these days. On the contrary, I’m hoping to not finish my entire plate and to eat appropriate portions… with which I have my own struggles.
You guys know that I love Subway. Since my job has changed, I’ve been eating Subway every single day again. Veggie Delite… that’s my meal. I get the Baked Ruffles too, because… well, they’re Baked Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream flavor in a portion-controlled bag?? Yes, please!
I noticed something last week about the repetition of it. I really enjoy the taste of this sandwich. I really enjoy the crunch of the cucumbers and the soft texture of the extra tomatoes I have them add. When I’m done eating it, I don’t crave anything else. I don’t even consider anything else… and through repetition, I feel that amazing feeling of wanting to EAT TO LIVE, rather than EAT TO LIVE.
Now, I know I can’t eat the same meal every day of my life… I love food way too much for that. But, what a wonderful feeling to know that the food is nuturing you, feeding your hunger, and you’re fully satisfied. I want to spend some more time here thinking about this notion… and how I can expand this EAT TO LIVE philosophy into my life.
Eating, whether on the holidays or a random Tuesday has always been associated with pleasure. I love cooking, and consider it artistic expression to an extent… How does one transition to eating TO LIVE or at least get closer to that? I’m open to suggestions here, folks.
So… How did the weekend go?
I’ve hit the reset button as of Sunday morning. I’m back on track and going strong. All of the leftovers are gone or disposed of. I’m back at the gym regularly… and I feel ready for a strong week!
The holidays and indulgent eating always stir up my emotional eating behaviors, and writing about it today seemed very therapeutic. I have a feeling some of you out there can relate… and others are not sure what the heck is wrong with me. Either way, it’s my truth… and all part of the journey.
And, I’m so thankful that I’m not still living in that indulgent world… three years ago I was there, and I’m slowly but surely teaching myself new habits. All you can do is practice… and with practice you get stronger.
Did the holiday make you think about your own Ghosts of Thanksgivings Past?