onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the tag “Christmas”

The Eternal Holiday Without the Fun

Since I gave up sugar, I have started to care less and less about holidays. 

When I was growing up, I looked forward to holidays. I mean really looked forward to them. There would be parties with special foods, and lots of people. My cousins would all be there to run and play and make an ungodly noise with. Both sides of my family were boisterous. There was always a lot of laughter and funny stories. But child Kate often forgot that those times were also, inevitably, too much. That I would become overstimulated, overwhelmed, overemotional, and overindulged.

As a grownup with her eating under control, I love the ideas of holidays more than I love the days themselves. A holiday is a way to acknowledge certain universal experiences we have because we are humans in bodies living on Earth. Christmas is the celebration of the return of the sun. If, as centuries and cultures, and empires have risen and fallen, it has taken on some other aspects, for example, the return of “a son,” well that is all well and good too. It is still about getting through the long darkness and trusting in the promise of the return of the light and the warmth. The promise that we won’t *all* starve to death. 

And a holiday is a day to forget our personal troubles and celebrate the enormity of life. It is a time to raise our consciousness above the idea of self and embrace humanity.

Addiction is a lot like trying to live in an eternal holiday. You’re trying to ride the same wave as Christmas, but every day, while nobody else is celebrating, and you don’t get the time off of work and school. It is like trying to forget your mundane self, and only live in the ecstasy of universality. But that is just too much for an individual to maintain. Trust me. I did the research for you.

When I gave up simple sugars and carbohydrates, I had to come to appreciate the simplicity of the day-to-day. I had to come to appreciate when nothing special was going on. I had to get comfortable in the calm. And I came to discover that I loved the calm. Once I had exorcised my demons, anyway. 

I realized that I had hated the peace of daily life because I didn’t have any peace. If I were calm for a moment, I would think about the wrongs that I had done. I would be haunted by the things I was ashamed of. And the ways I had hurt others and disappointed myself. But I had done a lot of those things *because* of my addiction. It was a vicious cycle and I didn’t know where it began or ended. And I could not seem to unravel it.

It turned out that giving up my drug foods was the answer. Or, at least the first step. There would be many other things to do about it. Acknowledge my wrongdoings, make amends for them, change my actions, shift my thinking. But all of those things started with getting my eating under control.

So now my eating is under control. And I love my day-to-day living. I am happy with my integrity, and my willingness, and my life. And I don’t need to live like every day is a holiday. In fact, I don’t even need to live like holidays are holidays. 

I will miss my nieces and nephews this year. I will miss tickling babies and reading books to the bigger ones. I will miss exclaiming over dollar gifts from the elementary school‘s Santa’s workshop. But I will still be perfectly happy laying around in my adult-sized onesie and drinking coffee and doing nothing this year. There will be more Christmases to come. And as for this year, I don’t have any shames or fears or worries that I need to numb.

Christmas magic and miracles

It is Christmas Eve, so a Merry Christmas to you.

I don’t love love love Christmas. Though I don’t hate it either. I don’t feel the need to personally avoid it, like Thanksgiving. But I do not identify as a Christian. And I don’t particularly care about the rituals. But I can enjoy it for what it is, and participate, because it is not only about food.

Plus, I really like giving people presents. I’m pretty good at it. And I like the energy of a Christmas party with kids. They get excited to be with each other. They get excited for presents. They feel like it is a special day, and that energy is kind of contagious. (Also, I don’t mind kid noise. My husband is not so comfortable with it.) I like kids. Especially when I get to go home and sleep in my quiet house with my husband and we don’t have to build toys with some assembly required as quietly as possible in the middle of the night so as not to disillusion little people who still believe in magic and wishes.

Also, I, too, still believe in magic and wishes, just not in such a literal, innocent way. But I thought for much of my life that I would never get my eating under control, or live in a body I loved, or like and love myself. So that it happened felt, and still feels, a lot like magic.

Is it work? Of course it is. But I was working before too. I was trying, and dieting, and starving and exercising, and doing whatever I could to stop being fat and food obsessed. And I was terrified that my lot in life was to be miserable. So having my eating under control is a joyous miracle.

So today I will be around a lot of food I don’t eat. But it’s not for me. And that’s ok. I got my joy and my gifts. I keep getting them. They have gotten bigger, and more valuable every day for the past 11 years, 11 months, 3 weeks and 1 day.

This holiday I am in it for the people. I am in it for the joy of connecting, and the joy of giving, and maybe even the joy of receiving. And, yes, I will do some very joyful eating. But all of it within my eating boundaries. And that’s not something I need a holiday for anyway.

So Merry Christmas to you! I hope yours is magical too.

Happy whatever it is you celebrate!

You are getting me short and sweet today, since it’s Christmas, and even the grinchiest Scrooge (like myself) has things to do and places to be.

I will say that after not having sugar for nearly 11 years, (8 days until my 11th anniversary) being in places with big spreads of food I don’t eat is not a test of courage, or fortitude. It was once, but not anymore. I don’t crave it. For the most part, I don’t even see it. I know that it’s there, but it doesn’t register. That’s as it should be. It’s not for me.

I understand that for many people, holidays and celebrations are “cheat days.” And if that works for them, then it’s good. It never worked for me. I need rules. Rules saved my life.

So if you are a person who needs rules, and are struggling with food at this time of year, here are a few tips on how to keep your eating under control at holiday parties from someone who has been there.

• Eat before you go. If you have a party to go to and the place will surely be bursting with foods you avoid, don’t go hungry.

• Bring your own food. Who knows what’s in Aunt Marjorie’s special dish, and she’s not talking. So pack up your Tupperware and have your next meal close by. It has always made me feel safe.

• Eat your favorite meals. Don’t make steamed broccoli and boneless, skinless, tasteless chicken breast when everybody around you is having party food ( unless that is your idea of party food. Then go for it!) Having your eating under control is meant to be a blessing, not a punishment.

• Have phone numbers with you of the people who can talk you off of a ledge, or more likely, away from the dessert table. I know the numbers are programmed into your phone, but your phone is a delicate machine. Write them down. On paper.

• Don’t hang around the food. Don’t stand by it. Don’t purposely go smell it. If someone is talking to you around it, ask if they mind moving, or excuse yourself. You may or may not be strong, but even if you are, you don’t need to prove it.

• Have an exit strategy. Drive yourself, take public transportation, or bring money for a cab. Don’t be entirely dependent on someone else to get you out of there. And remember it’s okay to leave. Take care of yourself first. I know it’s the season of giving, but charity begins at home.

That’s it for me today. Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Joyous Festivus. Happy Solstice. Or whatever it is that you celebrate, I hope it is a peaceful and happy one.

My own Christmas miracle

Christmas is over and the one holiday left is my second favorite time of the year. So I’m feeling pretty good right about now. Plus, I got some pretty awesome presents. I am writing this blog on my new MacBook. (Look who’s fancy!)

I made it through the food holidays with my eating boundaries in tact. That makes 8 Thanksgiving/Christmas Seasons in a row. But for most of them, I did not do much, if any, celebrating. This will be the second year in a row that I have lived in the town I grew up in, close to family.

When I lived in New York, I didn’t fly back to my hometown this time of year. I might have met friends for a bit in the evening. Exchanged gifts. Called family. But for the most part, I happily spent my days alone.

And now I live with my boyfriend. Just a short drive from both his family and my own.

But I want to note that, except for breakfast at my mom’s (with explicit instructions from me about what kind of bacon to buy and how big of an apple I wanted), I kept my boundaries around my eating by not eating with everybody else. I ate at home before or after the parties. I packed my meals in tupperware and brought them with me just in case.

And I didn’t really think twice about it. It was easy. I didn’t have to be around the foods I don’t eat. I didn’t have to look at cake and pie and cookies. I colored with the kids, or talked with family. I got to do the social part without having to deal with eating.

I am so grateful for the way that I eat now. I make sure I eat delicious food every day. Not just on holidays. And I don’t ever have to feel disgusted or ashamed anymore. I am not sorry that there was no candy for me. I am not sorry there were no chips and dip for me.

The truth is that since I put boundaries around my eating, I am not sorry at all about food anymore. Ever.

Now that my friends, is a Christmas miracle!

You don’t feel sorry for me, and I won’t tell you where you can stuff your turkey

At the farmer’s market yesterday, somebody wished me Happy Thanksgiving. She must have thought the 4 lbs of Brussels sprouts and 3 lb head of cauliflower were for some huge gathering I was hosting. She probably also assumed that the 9 apples were for a bunch of pies that I was making to share with my loved ones.

No. It is all for me. Share and food are not words I like to put together. In fact, that last sentence makes me a little uncomfortable. And if anyone were to try to touch my market haul, they might lose a hand.

Needless to say, being wished Happy Thanksgiving reminded me that my favorite time of year is here.

If you know me personally, you know that this is really the ultimate in Kate sarcasm. I hate winter. I hate cold and snow and dark. And I absolutely abhor the holiday season.

I do not actually hate individual holidays themselves. There is nothing wrong with Thanksgiving or Christmas. But I don’t participate.

And even this would not be a big deal if people wouldn’t make it such a big effing deal.

What I hate about the season is that every year, everybody and their brother has to make a big to-do about how nobody should be alone for the holidays. And here’s why I’m super-duper über not looking forward to this year. Because I’m already unhappy. And I can already see the pouty simpers on the faces of all the kind people who will insist that it would be a terrible thing for me to be alone for Thanksgiving. They would be worried about me. Especially when I’m having such a hard time.

Let me assure you I am not suicidal. But that I might become homicidal if you simper at me…

Let me also assure you that the last thing I want is to spend the day when I am already blue around a group of people and an over abundance of food. Food I don’t eat.

Let me also also assure you that I have a family. They would probably like to see me. It turns out they like me. But they also like to fill various rooms with food. Food I don’t eat. And for the most part, they have come to terms with the fact that I won’t be joining them.

It’s not that I don’t like people. For the most part, I do. But I also need a lot of time alone. And there is a particularly frustrating, annoying, obnoxious thing that people do, particularly during the holiday season. They want to give me permission to “cheat” on my “diet.” (I am not on a diet. And I don’t cheat. Ever. No really, never.) Oh go on. It’s Thanksgiving. Treat yourself. Because they don’t understand that the rest of that sentence is like crap. Spiral ever downward into an eating disorder hell prison. (And just so you know, if I were going to eat outside of my boundaries, I would not wait for somebody’s well-meaning permission. In fact, I would probably steal Mr./Ms. Well-Meaning’s pecan pie out from under their nose.)

But maybe what I am starting to understand that I never realized consciously before is that I need to stay away from Thanksgiving and Christmas because they are dramatic. Not because people make them dramatic. More because they make people dramatic. They are about light in the darkness. They are about survival when the Earth has gone to sleep and isn’t going to provide for a while. They are about the end of a 365 day cycle, and looking at what you have made and done for a year. They are about taking inventory of your life. These are big, dramatic things. So we as humans celebrate these things with spectacular displays. To show that we honor how spectacular life is. With bright lights and shiny decorations. With abundant food and dramatic music. (Sure I hate Christmas music, but who isn’t moved by Oh Holy Night?!)

When I am not feeling burdened by the expectation to participate, I can see that there is something beautiful in this way of celebrating life. I’m moved just thinking about it. But I can’t handle it. It’s too much for me. It’s too big for my already sensitive, overly emotional heart. On the scale of 1-10, I live life at a consistent 8 ½. And the holidays can ramp me right up to a 100 in the blink of an eye. And I’m not the only one, of course. Ask any parent. ‘Tis the season for over-stimulated-meltdowns.

Anyway, I will be having a regular Thursday this week. That’s what I choose. But let me wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope it’s moving and dramatic in the best possible way. And I hope the only meltdowns are the cheese and the chocolate.

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