Holiday Aftermath: Choosing Grace

A gentle reminder to those of us struggling after holiday feasting...

Oh my GOSH. We’re home from our Christmas trip, on which I ate… everything. Really. All the things. In my tummy. And it was both grand and nauseating. But I did it, it was intentional and I mostly enjoyed it. 

So now what. My body feels different than it did a mere 6 weeks ago. And more impactful, I’m faced with the decision of what to do about it. I’m not just talking about making different food choices, but more foundationally: How am I going to respond to myself in the cold light of these post-dessert-nomming-bliss-vacation January days? Am I going to be gentle or severe? Am I going to make vows about chicken broth and discipline? Or am I going to nourish my body and self with real food and grace?

I’ll be honest, this is new territory for me. Usually by now I’m neck-deep into food/body-guilt, making awful rules and food plans, and then resenting myself for “failing.” Unhealthy. That damn temptation to crash diet after the holidays is SO STRONG. I totally feel it. And stir in the idea of a new year being a clean slate, and 2016 is practically begging me to whip myself into shape. 

NO. No no no, I can't do it. I have to be better to myself than that. So, although my panic is shouting at me to “GIVE UP ALL THE YUMS!” I want to choose the gentle, sustainable way. I’m choosing to choose the gentle, sustainable way. Because by now I know that crash diets don’t work. On all levels. Body and self are deprived, and although weight may come off quickly at first, it doesn’t stay off and the process only makes me angry. As it should.

Deprivation isn’t kind. 

So what am I going to do? Be kind to myself with my thoughts and words. And when I start being unkind and judgmental, I’ll stop. And purpose to be kind again. And I will listen to my body, and when I'm hungry I'll eat real, satisfying food. 

In practical terms, this means:

  • Paying attention to when I’m hungry and when I’m not, and letting those signals be the reasons I eat or don't (not the clock)
  • Lots of veggies, healthy fats and some protein
  • Lots of water
  • Doing without (or cutting back on) refined sugar/grains
  • Keeping evenings for tea and light fare, and leaving heavier foods for midday and earlier
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Remembering that holidays/post-holidays can be tricky times, emotionally. If I find myself needing comfort, I'll do my best to seek out a moment of quiet time, a hug, some slow, deep breaths, self-affirmation... instead of comfort food. And if I turn to food first, I'll do my best to be gracious with myself afterwards.

This is not a mandate, it's self-care. So if I step outside it, okay. It's just helpful to have a way of organizing my thoughts around food so I don’t fall into the deep end of unreasonable rules. And it’s a plan that’s centered around being attentive to myself. So for what it’s worth, I hope this helps to center you too, friends.

Be kind to yourselves.