It’s the most horrible time of the year…
Has holiday overeating left you feeling horrible? Here’s five positive ways to wrap up your holiday.
By Barb Roose
Anyone feeling guilty over the Mt. Everest-size mountain of food that they’ve consumed over the last couple of weeks?
Are you disappointed that your best intentions for self-control fell apart 88 cookies, 23 pieces of pie, a bazillion wings and 10 glasses of eggnog ago?
Maybe you’re wearing a Charlie Brown-sad face. Maybe not. A few days ago, I asked myself where I was at because frankly, I was feeling a little out of control. Which one describes where you’re at right now:
- Can’t. Stop. Eating.
- Doing okay.
- I’ve had fun, but I’m back on track.
- I can’t answer this question right now.
- Holidays don’t change my habits.
Honestly, I started out on track this holiday season. Yet, a single crockpot of rich, creamy, tangy buffalo chicken dip derailed all of my good intentions.
I attended a Christmas cookie exchange a week ago. When I entered the beautifully decorated home, I smelled the air and saw a crockpot on the counter. My heart fluttered with hope. My mind snapped to alert because I knew that a temptation that lurked within. Could I resist?
I grabbed a plate and made my plan. I scanned the counter. A giant bowl of Asian salad caught my eye. That’s it! Salad would be my salvation. Why do we women believe that salad will save us?
Let’s be honest: A salad is like wearing shorts during a snowstorm. Technically, you’re wearing something, but you really want to wear something that actually gets the job done. That salad wasn’t going to save me from buffalo chicken dip because I REALLY wanted buffalo chicken dip.
Still, I heaped my plate full of Asian kale salad hoping that my healthy food choice could change my heart’s desire.
Not a chance.
As I neared the crockpot of my downfall, my fork magically pushed back the hopeful avalanche of vegetables to create room for what I really wanted.
But wait. I paused to create a failsafe (kinda). I asked a woman that I’d just met that night to be the light of accountability for me: “Honey, I LOVE buffalo chicken dip. Can you make sure that I only have one serving?”
She agreed, but with a knowing smile on her face. We both knew that I wasn’t going to have just one serving, but I still gave myself an A for effort.
When I removed the lid, the rich, tangy smell hypnotized me with its heady scent. I scooped a not-too-big, yet not-too-small dollop of dip on my plate and quickly surrounded it with the wall of sturdy nacho chips.
Friends, I sat down, placed my napkin across my lap and proceeded to ravage that dip like a starving man who found water in the desert.
To be fair, that kale salad was amazing, too! But once I finished the salad, I immediately started thinking about how to justify getting another serving of Buffalo chicken dip. In fact, my life would no longer be complete unless I had another serving of that rich and creamy dip.
My name is Barb, and I am obsessed with buffalo chicken dip.
Filled with glee, I pranced back to that crockpot ‘o delicious wonder and loaded up again. However, the sweet ending fell flat. That second helping was too much and my tummy started to rumble. It sounded like, “You idiot! What have you done to me?” Remorse and guilt settled atop the once desired, now demonized substance. All I felt was the weight of rich and creamy regret.
For many of us, our relationship with food turns the most wonderful time of the year into the most horrible time of the year as we near the new year. The holiday food preparation and celebrations that brought us joy before Thanksgiving are occasions tinged with regret. How many of us feel anxious or regret over our lack of control. How many of us are tempted to shout, “I give up! I’m just gonna keep eating all.the.food because I’ve blown it already.”
I wrote this post, because I know how you feel. Just because I write to encourage women to see themselves as God sees them, doesn’t mean that I don’t have to fight off the feelings of overwhelmed and out of control.
There’s one thing that I want to say to you: Beating yourself up won’t change a thing.
Beating yourself up doesn’t burn calories.
Beating yourself up won’t change your behavior.
Beating yourself up will make you feel bad enough about yourself and drive you to consume much more.
5 positive ways to wrap up your holiday
We’ve got just a few days left in the holiday season, and I want to share with you five tips to help you move away from beating yourself up to blessing yourself with kindness. Treating ourselves with kindness is the only path away from shame and guilt.
- Stop your stinkin’ thinking!
When you hate yourself for your behavior, you undermine your ability to see what God wants to do in you. Here’s something else: Shaming yourself with self-hating talk won’t help you make lasting changes.
Here’s a tidbit from my Enough Already book: “Stop blaming yourself for what you’ve allowed to happen. Whether because of gaining weight, letting your appearance fall apart or allowing yourself to become bitter, shame isn’t going to dig you out of the hole.”
Sweet sisters, self-hatred obscures the revelation of God’s love in our lives. When we see ourselves as God sees us, we’ll treat ourselves like women who are loved and valued.
ACTION STEP: If you’ve gotten in the habit of talking badly to yourself, try saying this each time you look in the mirror for the next seven days: “I am God’s beautiful, unique daughter.”
2. Get real about the real you.
Comparison is killing us, sisters! We’re so busy criticizing ourselves for not being like someone else that we’ve forgotten how to celebrate who God created us to be. Stop comparing yourself to other women, their diets or exercise habits. Comparison is a killer of self-esteem, motivation and joy.
ACTION STEP: Make a list of 10 things about yourself. Celebrate what you do well and where you aren’t perfect. God loves the real you. It’s time for you to love yourself like He loves you.
- Pick ONE thing.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. So, instead of tackling weight loss, new eating habits and a new workout all at once, just pick ONE thing to do for the next 30 days. You’ll feel better about yourself for doing one thing than the avalanche of failure when you blow it trying to do too many things.
If you need a few ideas for your one thing, consider choosing ONE from this list:
-Eating some fresh fruit and fresh/steamed vegetables each day
-Drinking 8 glasses of water per day.
-Eliminate one unhealthy food
-Taking 10,000 steps per day or working out
(By the way, this list is actually from my own personal experience. On days when I’m overwhelmed or feeling blah, I simply choose to focus on doing one thing that day. Today, my energy was low so I focused on 10,000 steps.)
- Phone a friend
Don’t your friends get mad at you when you beat yourself up? Yes! So, let them hold you accountable to stop stinkin’ thinking or hold you accountable for the one healthy behavior that you choose. Give her permission to text you so that you can let her know how you are doing.
ACTION STEP: Choose a friend to help you stay on track. It’s best to find a friend who also wants to be held accountable. Make a pact to text each other for 30 days and then re-evaluate if you want to continue.
- Make imperfect progress
This phrase “imperfect progress” is taken from best-selling author Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Unglued. This brilliant phrase captures how we can continue to move forward while recognizing that we may stumble or even fall on occasion.
No one’s perfect! Friends, it’s time that we stop using perfection as the standard for our dietary or weight loss lives. I’ll never eat perfectly. I’ll never workout perfectly. Neither will you.
But, we CAN make imperfect progress. We can hold yourself accountable to the goals that we set. We can follow the conviction that God has given us about our health and lifestyle. That doesn’t mean that we’ll be perfect, but it does mean that we’ll be committed to “imperfect progress” and always moving forward.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE: Do you struggle with holiday eating? Which one of these five tips encourages you the most today?