The holidays can be a potential minefield when it comes to emotions and eating and expectations. At least it has been for me. Once I got married and began to run my own household, I learned that I brought a lot of habits, expectations and baggage with me into the holidays.
I wanted to decorate one way, while John wanted to decorate another. Traditions that were important to him seemed strange to me. foods that he associated with a complete holiday were foods I had hardly even heard o. I’m sure we were quite comical going back and forth over what our holiday celebration “should” look like.
Instead of us learning to shape our holiday together, we were both trying to shape it to look like what we wanted. As I’ve shared before, I ate my way through the first several years of our marriage, causing a lot of unfortunate weight gain. Then during my obesity, the holidays were just a festive time of eating.
One thing I learned from speaking with people concerning weight and holidays is that they don’t always eat from happiness and the festive attitude surrounding the bright lights and meaning of Christmas.
In reality, the holidays don’t always bring back happy memories for some people. I’ve got my own issues, as do we all.
I’ve had ladies share with me that the holidays are difficult due to past losses and sad memories. It puts a damper on their holidays and can make it hard or them to be happy and enjoy the holiday. They told me they often turned to food – as did I.
I you’ve ever felt this way around the holidays, you aren’t alone. But I’d encourage you to think extra carefully about your food choices during the holiday season in order to avoid using the holidays as a reason to overeat and as a way to push those emotions down under food. Because food doesn’t solve anything.
Even as I was merrily eating and wearing bad Christmas clothes, I knew I wasn’t feeling happy about the holiday season. The holidays didn’t solve my issues with past experiences or fix any relationship problems I might be having. In fact, in some ways, the holidays seemed to make it all seem worse.
When I lost the weight, I didn’t magically lose any emotional connection I had to the holidays, but I did have to learn to disassociate holiday happiness with food – and that wasn’t easy to do, and it’s something I still find happening on occasion.
If you have had losses around the holidays or struggle with not always feeling upbeat, know that you are not alone. I’d encourage you to surround yourself with supportive family and friends who make your holidays less stressful. I know that is not always easy to do, but taking time for you in terms of being able to say, “I need to take a walk. I’d rather not go there this year or even, I do not want to visit that person right now” may give you permission to do what you need to do.
I found that taking charge of my food also meant saying no to potentially stressful times and visit – I wasn’t always the most popular family member, but I wasn’t completely stressed anymore either.
I know this post hasn’t been funny and fun, but I also know that the reality is that the holidays can be a difficult time, and I wanted you to know that if you are struggling, you are not alone. Diane