I lean towards some mild depression – so when the shorter days and holidays come, it can really do a number on me. And life feels super-overwhelming this year for family and financial reasons.
Used to be, when I felt this way, I’d set these clearly unreasonable holiday workout, business and food “management” goals and IF I achieved them, I felt resentful that I hadn’t enjoyed my holidays and if I didn’t achieve them, I’d feel guilty.
So this holiday season, my theme was “Let it Be”
Whenever I felt down in the dumps, I said to myself “Let it Be”. If I thought exercising would make me feel better, I did it. If I thought laying on the couch and watching old Christmas movies would help, I did that. If I thought decorating the house top to bottom would help, I did that. If I thought baking cookies would help (a former “forbidden” action in my regimented food house), I did that. If I thought planning a five course meal for my husband and me for Christmas eve would help, I did that. I didn’t regiment my exercise. I didn’t create “holiday food rules” and go to parties having filled up on crudite (ha – like you can ever fill up on crudite).
I simply looked into my heart and said “I don’t feel great and I’m not going to beat myself up for that, I am going to do the first thing that comes to mind that might make me feel better and ‘Let it Be’ – let it be anything I want, let it be anything I think will bring me comfort, let it be anything that I think will make me feel happier, let it be anything that will help me get through.
And what was strange about it was there was one OTHER really important thing I didn’t do. I didn't go haywire with my eating.
You see, it used to be that by setting up my "food rules" of the holidays – I always set myself up to fail. By not baking or cooking, or only cooking “good” foods, I would put myself in “food sneaking” mode. I would go home to my family and eat healthfully in front of everyone, only to sneak into the family pantry at midnight and shovel down as many chips as I could get into my mouth. Or, I’d fill a sweatshirt pocket with cookies that weren’t “my” cookies while no one was watching to eat later. Or, I’d offer to clean up so I could sneak extra handfuls of stuffing as I filled the leftover containers. And I’d also watch others eat and resent the h*ll out of them! What a way to spend my holidays, right?
But I didn’t do ANY of those things this year.
Because I said “Let it Be.”
And in the process, I ate like a normal person. I over-indulged one day, and then under-indulged the next because my body BEGGED me to not eat any more and I said "let it be". I made cookies and didn’t feel the need to lick every bowl or sample every piece while they were hot. I’m not a big sweets person, so I had a few. There are still over 3 dozen in the freezer and I feel no desire for them. They’ll be broken out on occasions, parties, etc. throughout the year – without fear!
I cooked a NEW Christmas Eve Dinner and Christmas Day brunch, trying new recipes to start new traditions with my husband (we’re just 16 months married – this was our first Christmas with just us). Some recipes were healthful (like a TOO DIE FOR carrot soup that I will make again and again), others were festive and not particularly “light” but I was able to balance the meal with fresh vegetables we both love.
And I did all this because my mantra was “Let it Be” This was not going to be the best holiday ever – no matter what, but I wasn’t going to try and make it something its not or try and overcome by pushing myself to be “perfectly healthful.”
And now, I feel okay. I feel like I WANT to pick up on my exercise and eat a lot more fresh foods not because I have to, but because my body wants that.
And most importantly, I feel like I made it through the holidays without doing anything worth beating myself up for and can approach the New Year without having to feel like I “must get back to perfection because I’m such a loser”. That’s how I would have felt in years past.
I am going to work today on my New Year’s Evolution plan, re-set on my P90X (http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/iofitwithang ) for 90 days, and prep to paint my workout/BeachBody Business room. Because today, I’m going to “let it be” as well, and this is where I want to be!